Here is Part 1.
We got up and had a little breakfast. Lots of folks up and tearing down their tents. I knew it would be better to break camp at that point, but I really didn't want to spend the time and wanted to get up that mountain. We knew we wouldn't be back before the noon checkout, so we opted to pay a little extra to stay at the site. Fortunately we had everything ready to go from last night. So we grabbed our packs and headed for the trail head. It was 7:25am and away we went.
The way up was difficult to say the least. I had heard all the stories about how hard it would be, and wouldn't you know it, they were right. It was tough going. The trail was well marked and maintained. It was rocky, steep, and had an endless supply of switchbacks. It became an ongoing joke to call out switchback, then we would both repeat it at the same time. It was fun the first 10, not so much the next 10, and even less the next 10. But regardless of the "not so" fun factor, we hollered it out with equal enthusiasm each time.
We were about halfway to the top. We had passed a few folks coming down that spent the night at the campground a mile below the peak and got passed by a few who had more endurance than I had. Pretty soon we were around the first mountain and headed to a much windier trail. It made it hard to figure out how to dress. We layered, but it got hot, then turn a corner and the wind would chill you to the bone. They say the wind can get up to 100mph on the peak, and it can get pretty bad along the trail as well. Still, we were heading up, slowly.
We had to take numerous breaks along the way. Just to catch our breath or to let my heart slow down to were I was.
We knew we were getting close when the bridge came into view. They claim it's the highest bridge in Texas at 8093ft.
It seemed the closer we got, the narrower the trail was getting.
After another hour or so, we looked up from another switchback, and there it was, the top of Texas. We finally made it. It was in sight and within grasp. We made the final push with excitement. The last few steps were an amazing feeling. We were there. After four and a half hours, we felt a feeling that was hard to describe. Exhaustion and the pain was pushed aside. A fist bump, a hug, and a whole lot of smiles were in order. Then we stood in awe of such a beautiful view.
Here is the info on the monument that sits on the peak as per wikipedia...A stainless steel pyramid marks the summit. It was erected by American Airlines in 1958 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Butterfield Overland Mail, a stagecoach route that passed south of the mountain. One side of the pyramid has the American Airlines logo. The second side displays a U.S. Postal Service tribute to the Pony Express Riders of the Butterfield Stage. The third side displays a compass with the logo of the Boy Scouts of America. A summit register contained in a metal ammunition box is located at the base of the pyramid.
I don't think i've ever seen so far, and all in a 360 degree view.
The back of El Capitan.
As amazing as the views were, the wind was coming in with force. It was cold up top. Colder than I thought it would be. It was kinda funny that I wore pretty much what I would on a regular cooler temp kayak trip. My Mad River Canoe wind/spray jacket, polar buff, costa sunglasses, and all the layering. Only thing missing was my life jacket and waders, which would have been cumbersome on the trail. :)
|The Lost Kayaker|
Just a few yards below the peak.
The way back down was pretty uneventful. It went fast but was still very difficult. After the first mile, my calves were screaming at me. After another mile, here comes the blisters. I'm glad we had good trekking poles. They really helped on the way back to relieve a little stress off our knees. We got back to the campground at 3pm. Seven and half hours after we started, we were back at camp. Totally exhausted and feeling ever muscle in my body starting a revolution, we begin to tear down and pack up. We were glad we were back, and glad we can mark this one down in the books as one of the most amazing adventures we have done to date. All that, and I got to do it with my son. I told him one day maybe he can make that trek again with his son/daughter. He said, "You better believe it. That was awesome. You'll be coming too though." I told him we'll have to see about that when the time comes, and if i'm not still sore from this time.
We finished up and off we went for the two and a half hour drive to the Lincoln National Forest, our third leg of the trip.
|Guadalupe Mountains National Park 2014|
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