Top of Texas

Guadalupe Peak summit marker.

A 4.2-mile trail with 3000 feet of elevation gain, leads to the summit of 8,751 foot high Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas. After we struggled our way to the ‘Top of Texas’ I had expected to see something a bit more rewarding than this odd-looking monument built in 1979 by American Airlines. I don’t mean to disparage the airline because it was actually the weather that interfered with what should have been an inspiring vista.

We had planned two days of hikes in Guadalupe National Park and knew before we left Albuquerque that there was wet weather in the forecast. But that usually doesn’t turn out to be much rain here in the desert so we took our chances. After all, the Guadalupe Mountains are on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, which I would have expected to be warmer and drier than the high desert of northern New Mexico. But I was sure wrong about that. The weather reminded me of a rainy, foggy day in the Appalachian Mountains or on the Oregon coast.

There was only one brief downpour the first morning so we waited that out before setting out on the hike up Guadalupe Peak. The cool weather was good for hiking, but because the fog and clouds never lifted, we couldn’t see much more than the immediate surroundings.

The first morning shower ended with a rainbow.

Parking lot for campground in lower left; Hwy 62 in the distance.
Stairway to a foggy summit.
Would have been nice to see what was up ahead!
An interesting bridge across a chasm on the trail.
Many places along the trail had clusters of imbedded quartz crystals.
Lots of this plant covering rocks along the trail.
The trail behind us with one of the many switchbacks.
A small break with a short-lived patch of blue sky,
An almost view.
Click on map for interactive version.
Elevation profile of hike.

That evening the rain arrived in earnest. For the most part, we stayed dry in our tent and hoped that by morning the storm would be over. No sun the next morning either, but, instead, a steady drizzle that showed no signs of lifting. We packed up our wet tent and drove to another area of the park, hoping to still do some hiking. But after getting our shoes and pant legs thoroughly soaked walking a short nature trail, we decided to cut short our visit to Guadalupe National Park.

Desert camping? Where’s the sun?

This rock looked like a giant insect perched on the cliff.

This was a real insect walking across the road in the campground.
Second day’s hike turned out to be a wet walk on a short nature trail.

Author: bjregan

Enjoying retirement activities. Main goals for retirement are to stay spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally healthy.

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