Guadalupe Mountains, Western Texas

Damn is Texas a huge state!!! We drove for hours and hours and the state just wouldn’t end!!!

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IMG_3334.JPGWe stopped at a rest stop that had a bathroom and slept there with all the big 18-wheelers before heading further west.

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….and we drove…

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and drove….

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We made a quick stop at a winery (we saw signs for the “Fat Ass” winery and had to stop to check out the décor and drink some wine.

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We also made a brief stop in Fredericksburg, a German town in the middle of west Texas.  It was weird seeing the German flag next to the Texan flag everywhere.

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It was a really cute little town, right out of a movie set.

 

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…and we kept driving…

 

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Taking a few breaks to get out and take in the scenery, and snap some pictures.

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We didn’t stop until coming across the Guadalupe Mountains. We decided it was finally time to do some hiking. We drove up to the park and for the first time this whole trip; we actually paid for a place to stay!

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After all the rolling hills and desert of Texas we had to stop for the breathtaking views of the mountains.

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IMG_3433.JPGWe quickly found a place to park and put on our hiking boots and went out for a quick hike with plans of doing a longer hike the next day.

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We hiked through a dry stream bed through the valley between the mountains and we both felt great.

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We’ve had a lot of fun on this trip but we haven’t been out in the wilderness nearly as much as we thought we would be.

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After the hike we made a quick dinner then just sat outside enjoying the moon and all the stars without the interference of the city lights.

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In the morning, sadly, Maria wasn’t feeling well but she demanded that I go and hike anyway and I didn’t feel like arguing with her so hike I did. I hiked to Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas at 8,749’ (the highest I’ve been in a long time).

 

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The hike was very interesting, with a nice easy start before it started getting pretty step.

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As I was walking up I realized that this was my first major hike since finishing the trail over 6 months ago!

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I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by!

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After doing most of the elevation things really started to get interesting.

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An older lady, probably in her 70’s (and how awesome is it that she was hiking such a steep trail?), was coming down the mountain slowly and warned me about how treacherous the path was in front of me due to all the ice.

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I realized how unprepared I was for this hike making common day-hiker mistakes, I did not bring my trekking poles, had no crampons for the ice, no first aid kit, no cell phone, no identification, just a whole bunch of rookie mistakes…but I was already more than halfway up and was determined to climb that damn mountain.

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I slipped and slid my way up the mountain until I made it to the top.

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I enjoyed the view and made sure to sign the logbook up there and take in the majesty of the area.  Why don’t we enjoy this more often?

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I was up there all by myself and would have loved to stay longer but on the summit the wind was whipping like crazy and even though I put my jacket on immediately, my body was starting to cool off fast so I started to head back down the mountain.

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It felt great to be back on a trail and it made me realize just how disappointed I am with myself for not having gotten back out there since finishing the AT…

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I was busy when I got back but not THAT busy…I need to spend more time in nature.

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When I made it back to Houdini it was time to finally try the solar shower.

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That was an interesting experience. Our original ideas did not work at all and we had to fabricate something on the spot and the fact that it was very windy did not help.

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There I was, butt-naked in the middle of a National Park parking lot, taking a shower with nothing but a flimsy tarp blowing around keeping me from an Indecent Exposure charge. In the end it did work but it sure was an interesting experience watching cars drive by and people stare at me while I bathe (the tarp only covers below the neck).

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We had to pull ourselves away from the Guadalupe mountains and headed west.  Without the slightest idea of where we would sleep that night.  I’m really loving this feeling!

 

 

 

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