Even though this is our family blog, Holly usually writes all of the posts. So, I suppose I should announce myself (Mark) as a guest blogger for this post. On August 14-15th Ryan, Tom and I went on our yearly hike. Since we have done a lot of the western high points, it has been a little difficult to find new high points within a reasonable driving distance. With our recent move to Arizona, we became a way point for "The Hike" this year. Tom had already hiked Texas' high point (Guadalupe), but he was willing to do it again so that Ryan and I could tack it to our lists.
Below is how the high point looks on the drive in. In the foreground you can see the salt flat that spans this area. Guadalupe is on the right side, but on the far right is El Capitan - a peak that is quite picturesque with 3 sides bordered by 1000 foot cliffs.
The trailhead and campsites from a bird's-eye view.
I slept under the stars and some bugs decided that I was pretty tasty!
At the trailhead.
On most of our hikes the morning shots don't turn out very well with my little point and shoot camera, but Ryan grabbed a nice shot looking back over the vast Texas desert plains.
This is a really great hiking area that, as you can see, is amenable to horses as well as humans.
The trail was really well groomed. As you can seen in this picture (behind my silhouette), they even blasted through some of the rock cliff.
The morning sky.
More of the trail that, if it hadn't have been blown out, would have been pretty impassable.
Me lagging behind, enjoying the view.
This is a great shot that Ryan got. You can see that we have gotten above the clouds.
Looking down on El Capitan.
I'm not sure why American Airlines spent the time and money to put this 6 foot pyramid at the summit, but here it is.
Tom decided to carry this small little watermelon to the top. Too bad it wasn't that great. It sounded really good at the time.
Tom showing off the strength that it took to get the watermelon to the top. I think that it should be a tradition for him to bring it up.
El Capitan is a really beautiful peak.
The yearly brushing of the teeth. All participated. We tried preloaded brushes. They were horrible. Luckily, Ryan had some mint on stand by. He really saved the day. My trip would have been a bust if he had left it in the car.
I'm glad that Ryan got this. This is me trying to call Holly. At least I was able to sneak a text through. Check out the clouds in the background. They slowly came in and surrounded us on the peak. Since we were above them, it made for a surreal experience.
The three of us at the peak.
Heading down. I really like this backpack that Holly got me for my birthday. I packed my pack really full and it distributed the weight quite well.
I also finally got to use my new hiking glasses that Holly got me last Christmas. She was quite pleased to have gotten a deal on them at a charity auction. (Splore)
I really like that Ryan takes the time to put these panoramas together. This one is in two pieces. He has started take one at the summit. Click on it and take a look. It is really cool.
Along with the back pack came my new Black Diamond hiking polls. My knees were feeling really good, so I gave them to Ryan to use. He said that it made all of the difference in coming down. Those of us with impaired ACLs have a challenge with the downhill part of the hike.
I was feeling daring and wanted to stand on this outcropping. It doesn't look like much from this far away, but it was a little nerve racking standing there. The previous pic is a close up of the little rocky point.
It was a little warm as we came off the mountain, but it had turned into a beautiful day.
As we came home, we caught up with this storm in Tuscon. We caught its trail 50 miles earlier. It had dumped a lot of rain and once we caught it, we really saw how much it was putting down. It almost looks like a funnel cloud but that is all rain.
It was a great hike. For Ryan's summary of the hike click here.