First hikes in the Desert
Trip Start Jun 01, 2011
60Trip End Jul 31, 2011
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Where I stayed
White's City Cavern Inn Whites City
Read my review - 4/5 stars
Read my review - 4/5 stars
What I did
Hike Guadalupe Mts. National Park
First stop, as always, was the visitor center. At 9 in the morning there were only two other cars here. The first thing that impressed us was this dead tree called a Manzanita Tree. It has smooth bright red bark. With such light visitation the visitors center was very small. The intro film was just a slide show with voice-over (the pictures were great). Our first trail started at the VC and is called the Pinery Trail. This is the trail you take if you only have an hour at the park. It is a paved trail through the typical flora and fauna of the park with the mountains in the background. At the end of the trail was the ruins of a stagecoach station on the Butterfield route which led from Chicago to San Francisco. This station marked the halfway point.
Next we drove one mile north to the Frijole Ranch area of the park. The old ranch was located next to several springs so it was like an oasis in the desert. We took a two and a half mile Smith Spring loop trail which takes you to two of these springs. The trail leads you up to the base of the Guadalupe’s through the desert, in and out of arroyos (dry stream beds) to the Smith Spring. For several acres around this spring was a true forest of tall pines. So this was a nice rest spot on a desert trail
From the Frijole Ranch we traveled 10 miles up the road to our next destination - McKittrick Canyon. This trail went through a high walled canyon through the Guadalupe’s for many miles. Due to the fact that it was the afternoon in the desert, we just walked a small segment of it (though the heat made it feel long. We hiked almost three miles in to a place called Pratt Cabin – another desert homestead close to a water source. The trail was very rocky so it was smart that we carried our walking sticks to keep our balance and not twist an ankle. This trail too led through desert flora and fauna and in and out of arroyos. The Pratt Cabin was like another oasis in the desert – except this time there were nice chairs on the back porch. So we crashed on the chairs for half an hour of much needed respite from the desert afternoon. But now we had to head back for almost 3 miles in the 95 degree heat. Luckily, there were several trees along the way for shade. If this was the only trail we did today, we could have gone farther on it – but by Pratt Cabin I had drank almost half my water. At the end of the trail we talked to a ranger about the area and then we were back on the road back to the RV
The bad news at the RV was the AC went out which was not good for our dog. Since we are in a desert for most of the trip, I also have a portable AC for times like this. However this did not work either. For a back-up to the back-up I have a fan blowing at all times. At least this worked. The AC was running so much that the pipes froze. So it just had to defrost. The portable AC just needed to be re-booted since it was not used for several months. So with everything working the RV cooled down in a few hours. Now I know not to run the AC all the time – we’ll use fans at night. For dinner I cooked a nice ravioli. At night I worked on the blog with the good Wi-Fi here.