This was the hike that got us to double digits in our high pointing journey: Number 10!
Went down to New Mexico and Texas for Valentine’s day weekend
As we drove in towards Carlsbad Caverns National Park, I declared “I’ve found our mountain!” because you could already see Guadalupe mountain from far away
After we were done at Carlsbad we drove the rest of the way to Guadalupe and got one of the very last campgrounds available (couldn’t reserve them in advance) Camped at the base of Guadalupe the night before
To celebrate valentine’s day Jeb and I had chocolate fondue with the fondue pot Jeb got me for Christmas and then we watched a romantic movie on my iPad that we had downloaded ahead of time so as to not need internet- whoever said camping couldn’t be romantic?!
We got up fairly early to get an early start on our hike. This ended up being the hike that couldn’t quite get started…
First we walked over to the bathroom at the trailhead and it was flooded- water was literally coming out of the door
Then we drove to the visitor center to use that bathroom and it was locked- someone had to go find a ranger to unlock it- so not such an early start
We finally got started but we were definitely less than 100% because we were already sore from the previous day’s run down into the cave. (What happened was we got to the visitor center on time to get our tickets for our cave tour- but then they said the elevators into the cave were broken and we would have to go down the natural cave entrance and meet the ranger at the bottom in the cave. Since we didn’t know this ahead of time we were super late for starting this hike. We had driven so far and there was no way I was going to miss our tour- so we walked as fast as we could and ran certain portions down the 1.5 mile, 700 feet of descent trail… we made the tour! But not without serious soreness in our shins from the run down)
The people we encountered on this trail were not your typical hikers for a semi-serious mountain (this seems often to be the case when we hike outside of Colorado, especially in states that are not stereotypically known for having people that are super in shape)
First there were the people that were wearing jeans despite the moderately hot weather, the muddy trail, and the 3,000 feet of elevation gain they would encounter
Then there were people carrying by hand huge water jugs instead of carrying a pack. I’m talking about carrying multiple gallons of water by hand…
There was also the couple that we encountered 200 feet below the summit: first they stopped us as we passed because they said they couldn’t find the trail and were going to head down. We were very confused by this because the trail seemed to us to be super easy to follow. We said they could follow us and they said ok maybe they would. We continued on and they never kept going. After we hiked the remaining 200 feet and got to the summit we saw them heading down. After hiking 2,800 feet of gain and with only 200 feet to go, why would you turn around?!?!
When we got to the summit it was very pleasant, not windy and pretty warm which was surprising for how high and prominent it was
It proved to be a nice way to spend a valentine’s day!
After we started our way down, this one guy scared the crap out of us by startling us when he popped out of the bushes, making his way up by not taking the trail. It turned out he was bush whacking his way up the side of the mountain because he couldn’t find the trail. What was wrong with all those people that were getting so lost?!
Lessons learned: Despite what Jeb has previously thought about Texas, it does get cold there (there was even ice on the trail), and no matter how easy the trail is to follow, someone will still get lost!