Sunday, July 8, 2012

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park (from our first night camp site).  Our camp site was between the two tents you can see in this picture - if you embiggen, you might see a little red dot about half way between them, that is Shawn sitting at the table next to our tent.
Some flower in the camp ground

Over Father's Day weekend, Shawn and I went to Santa Fe to see my family. My parents and sister live in Denver, my grandparents live in Tucson, and so my parents decided they'd meet in the middle. Shawn and I were invited after they had determined they were going to Santa Fe. We decided to drive (flights were really expensive for some reason), and spent a night in the back country (i.e. we carried all our crap 4 miles straight up a mountain, slept for the night, and then hiked back down).

This is the "poof flower" plant.  I don't actually
know what it is, but I call it "poof flower"
I took my SLR, but didn't take it on the actual backpacking part of the trip because when hiking up a mountain, one should not be carrying an extra 2.5 pounds of weight just because you may or may not want to take "pretty photos."  At first, I thought this was a dumb idea - I could have carried the camera.  Then we got to about mile 3, it was 99 degrees, the hike was entirely in the sun, and we were still hiking UP; that was the point when we both were telling ourselves "just put one foot in front of the other, just keep going."  When we finally got to our camp site, we pulled out our sleeping pads, threw them on the ground under a tree and promptly slept for 2 hours.  We got up and I made the ill-advised decision to hike a quarter mile back DOWN to the point where the trail veered to the camp sites to take a photo of a blooming agave with my husband's cell phone (what was doubling as our camera for the backpacking portion of the trip).  And then I had to hike back UP.  I ended up taking another hour long nap before dinner.
Acacia (?) -  These things are freakin' vicious.  And of course
one of our tent stakes was right next to one of these things, so not
only did Shawn and I both end up with scratched up hands while
setting up our tent, we also ended up with holes in the tent when we
took it down the next day.

And that is why I am glad I didn't take the SLR with me up the mountain.  Though Shawn did see what I can only assume was a ring-tailed cat.  I say I must assume this because SOMEONE wasn't paying attention to all the taxidermied animals at the visitor center when we checked in.  So the description I had to go off of was "well, it looked like an oversized prairie dog.  But with a long tail.  More like a house cat than a ferret."

The reason why I call the "poof flower" plant "poof flower"

So, instead, you get to see the photos from  around our camp ground when we first got to the Guadalupe Mountains - We have a policy of not backpacking the first night if we've been travelling all day - especially when we'd have to hike 3 miles and we've been in a car for 9 or so.

Ferny tendrils right next to our camp site pad.
Of course I generally have no idea what all the different plants are - okay, that's not true, I was able to make a guess as to the spikey plant that ripped a few holes in our tent (and our hands).  Oops.  I'm also pretty sure that the plant below is a thistle.  Look at me go.

Thistle plant by where I parked the car.
While the trip was hot, the hike was tough, and the pack was heavy, it was a VERY nice area and I highly recommend visiting if you have not done so already.  Wildlife (aside from lizards and birds) are few and far between (or maybe I'm just not observant in the slightest), but the vistas more than make up for it.

1 comment:

Linda/patchwork said...

We've driven through this region many times. But, we've never actually gone to the park.
It looks beautiful, if a bit rugged.

I'm pretty sure we won't be doing any long, summer hikes. So, thanks for taking us along with you.