Guadalupe Peak represented the highest elevation this Indianapolis boy would have hiked to date, so I booked a flight to El Paso, and flew in on April 9th, 2010 to attempt this mountain. I had never been to this area of the country, and was very much looking forward to it. I drove in through sagebrush and desert to the Guadalupe mountains, and spoke with the ranger on duty. I had 1 gallon of water ready, but the ranger warned me to bring more, so I added another 6 pounds of water to my pack. My sister backed out of this trip at the last minute due to an emergency, so I ended up having to pack 36 pounds of gear to the top, 12 lbs of which was water. The ranger told me to eat as much of my beef jerky as possible to help my red blood cells adjust to the altitude, so I was downing as much water and jerky as I could. With 36 total pounds on my back, it took me about 4 hours to reach my campsite at the top of the Guadalupe Peak campground, over 8,000 ft above sea level. I was the last person hiking this day, and it was gorgeous at the top. I took great pride in knowing that there wasn't much higher than me east of my location at the top.:
It was about 85+ degrees in El Paso upon my arrival, and at night above 8000 feet it got to around 40 degrees, right at the limit of my sleeping bag. I was a bit cold, and got awakened by another SPer around 2am (which reallly freaked me out, who climbs a mountain at 2 in the morning!)
Once at the top, and attempting to sleep at the top, I realized that my Wal-Mart beef jerky had a nasty side effect............wicked gas! Thank the Lord my wife wasn't with me, b/c I probably wouldn't be here today. The gas was bad enough that I really couldn't sleep at all that night, I ended up sleeping in short bursts in between..........bursts........and ended up cursing myself, the ranger that told me to eat so much jerky, and the jerky itself. Still, I was ecstatic to be sleeping above 8,000 feet, and experiencing the extreme quiet that comes with camping at this site in the mountains. Incredible!
Guadalupe done, now off to NM!
After I descended Guadalupe, I was off to Carlsbad Caverns, which I had never seen before. I've been to Mammoth Cave in KY, so the caverns weren't a complete surprise, but I did catch one pic which I enjoyed. If nothing else, it helped me remember what I was....um, coming home to.....if that makes sense....
After visiting Carlsbad, I spent the night in Roswell, NM (not recommended), then visited Lincoln, NM to see some history (not recommended), and the next day visited White Sands National Monument (highly recommended!) The Alkali Flat trail is about 4.6 miles over the gypsum sand dunes, and was incredible. The instant you go over the first dune, you're all alone for the next 4.5 miles. Breathtaking scenery!
Organ Mountains...and the La Posta mexican restaurant!
Just east of Las Cruces, NM, you'll find the Organ Mountains. I found a 4.6 mile hike in the Organs that seemed do-able before I visited my most-looked-forward-to-meal.
I hiked this 4.6 mile trip in the Organs with an extreme hunger quotient going on, knowing I would eventually arrive in Mesilla, NM to have the best Mexican cuisine I would ever encounter, La Posta!!!!!!!
I ate things I don't even know what they were, but it was totally worth it for this Indianapolis flatlander. Anyone around this area should seek out La Posta, an old mail-stop in business for over 70+ years, to eat there. It was amazing! I'll never forget my time on this trip, and the landscape is truly incredible. I can't wait to spend more time in this area of the country!