Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
June, 2019 - Mount Denali, Alaska

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

We hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. We spent the day at the RV park and then joined the members for an Easter dinner. We met some nice people and enjoyed the delicious meal. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures.

Yesterday we drove about an hour to the New Mexico/Texas border to visit Guadalupe Mountains National Park.


The peak on the left is called El Capitan. The peak on the right is Guadalupe Peak and is the highest point in Texas at 8,749 feet. There is no road to the top, only hiking trails. We were not up for an eight hour strenuous hike to the top, but we did find two enjoyable hikes.

The first was a 1/3 mile easy walk to what is left of the Butterfield stagecoach station.


The Butterfield route was a forerunner to the Pony Express and was the first overland mail route from St. Louis to San Francisco. It was a 2,700 mile journey that took 25 days. Coaches stopped at this location for about a year in 1859 and then a different route was used. I’m glad our coach has a lot more horsepower than the six horses they used in those days.

From what I’ve heard and read, the desert is not blooming much this spring due to a dry winter. I did find a number of pretty flowers growing. It’s amazing to me that these cute little flowers can survive in such a harsh, dry climate.

P1120850 P1120852
P1120865 P1120867

Our second hike started at the Frijole Ranch site. The site includes a 1906 ranch house museum, schoolhouse, bunkhouse, barn and springhouse. Unfortunately, all of the buildings were locked up tight.


We hiked the Smith Spring trail which was a moderate 2.3 mile loop trail ascending about 500 feet. Along the hike there are two springs which provided water for the Frijole Ranch. The first is called Manzanita Spring and was close to the house.


The Smith Spring was quite a bit further up the mountain trail. You would never guess there is a spring out there. Here’s what it looked like from a distance.


And here’s what it looked like up close. It felt like we were in the woods in Wisconsin with hardwood and pine trees and lots of greenery all around.


We found a nice setting for a picture.


We saw lots of these trees growing along a wash next to the trail. I don’t know what kind they are, but they have orange bark. We’ve never seen that before.


As I mentioned, it’s been very dry in the southwest and they are desperately in need of rain. Just as we were returning home, it started to rain and thunder. All of a sudden we started hearing very loud booming noises. They weren’t coming from within the park, but it was definitely close by. Very strange and annoying.

Our neighbor came over to tell us that it was cannons being fired into the clouds from the pecan farm a few miles away. Apparently, the noise from the cannons keeps hail from forming. That’s a good thing for an RV park as well.

He told us that there has only been hail at this park once in as long as anyone can remember. And, that was when the cannons weren’t working. That’s certainly a new experience for us. Who would have ever guessed that firing cannons at clouds can keep hail away!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!