Monday, January 30, 2012

Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Bear Canyon & The Outer Bowl

Noelle, Chris, Robby, Erin, Tess, Nigel and I had a great breakfast at Pecos River Cafe this morning before we bid farewell to Erin and the kids and hit the road and heading for Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Our objective was to hike up Bear Canyon, a trail so ferocious that it made Noelle cry the first time we hiked it in late 2002. Once we made it to the top of the ridge we figured we would hike the outer loop of the Bowl on the Juniper, Tejas, and Bowl Trails. We figured it would complement last week's hike well.

The hike started out with an easy ascent along the base of the escarpment on the Frijoles Trail.
When we hit the Bear Canyon Trail the hiking got a bit more difficult.
Robby Hiking Up Bear Canyon
It was a steep uphill climb. Much of the trail followed a pipe that I presume once carried water from the top of the mountain to the desert below.
We stopped to take our first break in a nice sheltered spot amongst some rocks.
Taking a Break
Nearby was an interesting little tunnel that the trail traveled through.
Then it was more steep hiking and switchbacks up to the ridge.

When we arrived on top of the ridge we followed the Bowl Trail that we had hiked last weekend. There was a little less snow than last week, but in some sections there was still enough left that it made the hiking a bit more difficult.
In the Trees
Chris put on his ice spikes, mostly just to say he finally got to use them.
Ice Spikes
We stopped at a nice grassy spot along the Juniper Trail and ate some snacks and rested.
I even fell asleep for a few minutes in the warm sun. Noelle enjoyed the break and felt refreshed.
Refection in Glasses
Then it was back into the trees, shade and snow.
More Snow

We passed by several old stock tanks on our hike.
There were lots of great views!
Robby Hiking Away
We even found a few fossils in the limestone.

Eventually we made it back to Bear Canyon and started to make our way down.
Looking Down Canyon
Climbing Over Pipe
The descent went much faster than the climb and before we knew it we could see Nipple Hill and the cars.
Hiking to Nipple Hill
Altogether it was a great 11.5 mile hike!

1 comment:

Abigail Austin said...

Eric and Noelle, I just came across your blog--it looks like a blast! I'm nearby Guadalupe Mountains, and have been there a few times, Christmas most recently. I write 1,000 Miles on My Own Two Feet so I'm looking forward to following your blog and seeing new trails. Thanks for sharing your stories, and HAPPY TRAILS! -Abby