by Fletcher McDonald
Life can take you places if you let it. I drove down to the old West Texas town of El Paso this last weekend for a wedding, and it was a beautiful service with two amazing people. I couldn’t be happier to be there… but that isn’t what this post is about.
Guadalupe Peak is the tallest mountain in Texas, rising from the surrounding plains like a giant, jagged splinter, a massive shard of rock reaching for the sky, or perhaps thrust into the Earth by malign cosmic forces – the latter being admittedly much less likely. No, the peak stands 8,751 feet high, the likely result of tectonic forces millions of years ago.
Quite often, the real facts are much more mundane than speculative imaginings.
Two hours east of El Paso, the hike starts at the trailhead and ends after gaining more than 3,000 feet of elevation, after climbing up rocked laden switchbacks and edging along rather precarious cliff side paths. At the top, in a weather-worn ammunition box is the Guadalupe Peak register. Visitors sign and date, and oftentimes leave notes.
There are snacks as well, inside the ammo box – extra rations left by previous climbers for the unfortunate or underprepared, and fatigued, I drink a Redbull left by a previous hiker.
The views are exceptional. To the south, we have El Capitan, and to our north, numerous other smaller mountains that form this impromptu range of jagged, elevated earth.
The hike’s hard numbers are a round trip of 8.5 miles with 3,000 feet of elevation gain, and is described as very strenuous and very rewarding. I’d have to agree.
Fletch & Laura
“Guadalupe Peak.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Aug. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guadalupe_Peak.
“Guadalupe Mountains National Park (U.S. National Park Service).” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, www.nps.gov/gumo/index.htm.
“Guadalupe Peak Texas Highpoint Trail.” AllTrails.com, 8 Aug. 2018, www.alltrails.com/trail/us/texas/guadalupe-peak-texas-highpoint-trail.
“Why Climb Guadalupe Peak?” Texas Monthly, Texas Monthly, 31 Dec. 1969, www.texasmonthly.com/articles/why-climb-guadalupe-peak/.