Monday, October 24, 2011

Guadalupe Mountains National Park: McKittrick Canyon

This morning, Noelle and I had a leisurely breakfast outside on our patio before heading south into Texas and Guadalupe Mountains National Park to check out the fall colors in McKittrick Canyon. After using the restroom and checking in at the contact station, we hit the trail. The cool of the morning was already starting to fade by the time we made our first crossing of McKittrick Creek.
Crossing McKittrick Creek

As we strolled along the wide trail we conversed a bit and admired the trees like this Texas madrone.
Eric & Texas Madrone

I wasn't really paying attention when I nearly stepped on a black-tailed rattlesnake!
Black-Tailed Rattlesnake

After watching our reptilian friend slither away we moved further up canyon and soon we started to see some of the canyon's famous maple trees. The further up canyon we traveled the more color the maples showed off. Before we knew it we were at Pratt Cabin, a stone cabin built by oil tycoon Wallace Pratt in the 1930s.
Pratt Gate

As we sat in the shade near the cabin we reminisced about our first hike to the cabin about 9 years ago. We decided that we needed to take a photo of me in a pose I had made on our first trip to this spot.
Eric at Pratt Cabin

We also had a friendly couple of hikers take our photo near the entrance to the cabin.
Eric and Noelle at Pratt Cabin

As we were getting ready to move on to the Grotto a NPS employee offered to let us see the inside of the cabin!

After exploring the inside of Pratt Cabin we moved further upstream through some really vibrant fall color to the Grotto.
Noelle in Maples

Hiking McKittrick Canyon

I took a photo of Noelle similar to one that I had taken of her 9 years earlier.
The Grotto

From the Grotto we moved just a bit further upstream to the Hunter Line Cabin and the stone shack there.
Hunter Ranch Shack

Mountain and  Hunter Shack

Then we turned around and started to make our way back to the car. There were still plenty of colorful leaves on the trees
Fall Color on the Trail

and we also stopped to admire a deep pool of water with some trout in it.
Noelle Creek

The hike back seemed a bit longer than the hike to the Grotto, and as the sun was now quite hot, we were glad to be finished with our hike. We had a great time though.

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