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Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Guadalupe Mountains in West Texas

July 14 2012note: Texas Highways magazine has an online article about the Guadalupe Mountains in its August 2012 issue. If you'd like to learn more, visit:

My first sight of the Guadalupe Mountains
Last month I flew to El Paso for work. I was not able to take my camera gear, too much to carry on the plane. I had been east on State Highway 180 before and had seen the Guadalupe Mtns from the highway, and I knew I wanted to get some photos. I stopped in Walgreens and got a $30 camera that supposedly had a 4x zoom and headed out.

Guadalupe Peak and El Capitan seen heading toward McKittrick Canyon

According to the Canyon Notes of McKittrick Canyon, the photo above is of Guadalupe Peak (highest elevation in Texas) and El Capitan. "Not far from where the range ends in the plunging cliffs of El Capitan, a deep canyon has cut into the heart of these mountains. Tucked within the 2,000 ft. high limestone walls is a place that some call "the most beautiful spot in Texas."" (Canyon Notes)

I was at the southern tip of the mountain range, and ahead of me were McKittrick Canyon and Carlsbad Caverns. I drove on and pulled off the highway for the short drive into the canyon park.

Entrance to McKittrick Canyon
The end of the day was rapidly approaching, so I was just able to get out of the car, and walk a few hundred feet down the trail toward the canyon itself. There are three trails in the area, the .9mi Nature Trail, the Canyon Trail which is about 3.5mi, and the Permian Reef Trail, the longest at 4mi. It is certain that I will be back with a better camera to walk these trails.

Different view of McKittrick Canyon

On the Canyon Trail, you can see the Pratt Cabin about halfway up the trail. In 1921 Wallace Pratt, a geologist with Humble Oil, heard about the canyon and went to see it. For the next 50 years his love for the area steered the course of McKittrick Canyon. (Canyon Notes)

View of Guadalupe Peak from roadside rest stop

So on the way back to El Paso after doing some work in Carlsbad, NM, I stopped at a rest stop/scenic view and took some more photos of Guadalupe Peak (I hope the Canyon Notes are right about the name). The clouds behind the mountain were spectacular, and I hope the Walgreens camera did them justice.

 Before I got in the car I shot the photo above of the road heading back to El Paso.


I just had to try to get the sunset, so I stopped along the highway and just snapped a few to see what would turn out. 

So that's my trip to the Guadalupe Mountains Part 1. Part 2 will be when I bring my camera and gear and spend a whole day walking through the most beautiful spot in Texas. 

'Til next time,

Mike Z

PS -- one thing I found out about my Walgreens camera was that the more I used the 4x zoom, the more out of focus the photos were! Thanks for stopping by.

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