Friday, October 22, 2010

Guadalupe Mountains NP - McKittrick Canyon Hike

From Carlsbad Caverns NP we ventured into Texas and Guadalupe Mountains NP located there. The two parks are actually located in the same mountain range and are only about 25 miles (40 km) apart.

Guadalupe Mountains NP looks pretty inconspicuous and I'm sure most visitors (including us) must wonder why it deserves the status of national park. This question gets addressed in the park's leaflet: the park protects the world's finest example of a fossilized reef.

In the park we went for a hike in McKittrick Canyon, which offered a very welcome change of the scenery for us. We had spent so many days in deserts that we were very happy to finally find ourselves in a forest. In fact, we must have been so fed up with hot and arid places, that we continued the hike despite two thunderstorms that were following us, both on the way to the Grotto and back. (Yes, I thought it was amazing that the wind's direction changed as soon as we started hiking back, and that we needed to run away from rain and thunder twice...)

All in all, the hike was 6 miles round-trip and took us around 3h. It was nice, but nothing too impressive... I guess we would have to be geologists and/or fossil hunters to be able to appreciate it more.

My Jedi:

McKittrick Canyon:

The historic Pratt Lodge, former vacation home of Wallace Pratt, a petroleum geologist who donated the lodge and land to the NPS to establish the park:


There were some pretty plants in the park:

The park was full of huge crickets who were also unbelievably loud:

My hiking shoes were shining after the hike ;) :