Guadalupe Peak, Texas (May 1998)

Up until 2008, our adventures were retained only as memories and on Kodachromes. While our memories may have faded (just a bit), the Kodachromes haven’t – and we have a lot of them. So we’re digitizing a select few to bring some of our past adventures into the 21st Century. This is one of those.

In 1998, we were starting our attempt to climb the 48 highest points in the continental United States. Guadalupe Peak (8,749 ft / 2,666 m) in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, is the highest point in Texas (Texans likely yearn for Guadalupe to be the highest point in the U.S. but it’s not o_O ). We were planning to do it in May when we learned that our long-time friends, Wayne and Diane, would be in New Mexico then and could join us. So we organized a four-day trip that encompassed a hike up Guadalupe Peak, a descent into Carlsbad Caverns National Park (complete with the deepest lunch counter and a massive swarm of bats at dusk), a guided off-trail hike in the caverns, and a hike to two old cabins (Pratt and Hunter) in McKittrick Canyon (also in Guadalupe Mountains National Park). This mountain range has to rank, along with Palo Duro Canyon and Big Bend National Park, as one of the most scenic places to visit in Texas. It was a great trip with good friends at just the perfect time of year with respect to the weather and other visitors. 😀

As for our high point quest, that fizzled out several years later at 44 out of 48. The remaining four (Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming [two attempts foiled by weather]) are among the hardest of the 48 and were ones we should have done first, during the full bloom of our youth. Ah, hindsight. Instead, we said “next year” one too many times, until a cocktail on the couch was more inviting than clinging to some cold, windy summit. Sigh. 😥 Post-dated note to self: make use of your youth while you have it… 😉

Looking up at El Capitan from the start of the trail
Looking into Spring Canyon
On the trail, Hunter Peak in the background
Wayne restrains The LovedOne while I take her picture
Farther up the trail
The summit comes into view (distantly)
The trail gets narrower and rockier near the summit
El Capitan from above (Mexico on the horizon)
Hunter Peak from Guadalupe Peak
The obelisk on Guadalupe’s summit
Our track up Guadalupe
Mouth of the cavern where the bats leave en mass in the evening
Box lunches (just a tad tastier than MREs) at the deepest lunch counter
Off-trail deep in the caverns
Hardhat, knee pads, and boots
Hiking in to McKittrick Canyon
The Pratt Cabin is built entirely of native sandstone to survive wildfires
Lounging on the porch at Pratt Cabin
Cabin interior
Continuing on up-canyon
Hunter Line Cabin
Our track up McKittrick Canyon
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