Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Unexpected

One of the things I love about travel is when something unexpected turns into something wonderful.  And that is exactly what happened at Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Even though I was 'on vacation', our employees still expect a paycheck each Friday.  I was chained to my desk for the majority of the day.  So we planned a short excursion to Guadalupe Mountains National Park for the afternoon.  And honestly, I was OK with this.  For some reason, this park didn't reach out and beg me to spend multiple days exploring.  In the park materials, it came across as 'Come climb to the highest point in TX but if you don't want to do that, its OK because we really don't have much more to offer'.  I was expecting to go, tour the visitor center, get my passport stamp, and leave.  Terrible, I know - but that was my expectation.

Vol Fan and I arrived just as a summer shower had moved through - cooling the temps to the point that I put on a sweatshirt.  We toured the visitor center and watched the short movie about the native people that had called this area home.  And of course, we horsed around with some of the displays.

We talked with the ranger on duty about what hike he might recommend given the amount of time we had til sunset.  We opted to hike the Devil's Hall Trail - one of the best decisions we've made.  The skies still held the threat of rain but we decided to risk it.

Half of the hike is up a dry wash and considering the recent rains, we remained very aware of the easiest way to get out of the wash in case of a flash flood.  There was plenty of scrambling over boulders required which made the hike that much more enjoyable.

As we hiked, the skies began to clear and the afternoon turned into one of those picture perfect days.  Bright blue skies.  Puffy white clouds.  Perfect temperatures.

And then we made it to our destination - The Devil's Hall, a narrow canyon cut through the thin layers of limestone.  The sides rising 100'!

This was our view as we stopped for a drink of water and some jerky.  Perfect!

As we started back down the trail, the sun was reflecting beautifully on the surrounding mountains.

The clouds made beautiful patterns on the basin below.

We found that Guadalupe Mountains National Park had a lot more to offer and we would love to return and explore some more.


Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

It's so pretty there! Reminds me a lot of Big Bend. I would love to take a trip ;-) Looks like such a fun hike.

Betsy Adams said...

What a great hike... Glad the skies cleared and that you had such a wonderful day. Yes--you do need to go back. That area reminds me a little of the Zion area in Utah...

Thanks for sharing your hike with us.

George said...

It looks as if you made the best use of your short time at the park. The scenery on your hike is simply spectacular.

Desert Survivor said...

That park is so beautiful! I remember thinking the same as you when I first saw the map, and thinking I wouldn't see much because so little is accessible by road. That's part of the beauty of it, and there are a lot of shorter trails well worth hiking! I never did make it up the big peak--guess I'll have to go back some day!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Wow...what a hidden treasure. Perhaps you should be in charge of redoing their advertising!

Lisa said...

Great pics & omg! I would have screamed too.