Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

I just spent the last three days exploring Guadalupe Mountains National Park, finally spending a night in one of the parks. They allow free backcountry camping, so I left my bike at the visitor center and took off for two nights to go backpacking for a bit. The only catch is that there are no water sources in the backcountry, so I had to carry all of my water with me. I had already been doing that on the bike, so I had enough capacity, but it was still pretty heavy. Good thing I'm in good shape from previous backpacking and now all the biking.
I left the visitor center in the afternoon and hiked about 4 miles up 2000 feet to a campsite called Pine Top for the first night. Thankfully there were a bunch of trees in the area, because it was pretty windy all day long. Camping in a bunch of trees is definitely a nice change from what I have been doing. Also, getting away from any traffic noises was a nice reward for the steep climb up.

The second day I went for a day-hike from my camp, on a loop called The Bowl, which is basically a big depression on the top of the mountains, which has been home to a Ponderosa Pine forest. There was some fire damage from a forest fire in 1990, but the forest has regrown quite a bit since then.

The last day I hiked back down to the visitor center, then went on a day hike from the visitor center to a place called Devils Hall, which is a natural stone staircase at the bottom of a steep canyon with nearly vertical walls.

See the rest of my Guadalupe pictures here.

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