Monday, January 23, 2012

Guadalupe Mountains National Park: The Bowl

This morning at 7:45 Robby arrived at our house for our trip to Guadalupe Mountains National Park. After a stop to pick up Helen, we were on our way into Texas and the beckoning trails of GUMO. We arrived at the trailhead parking lot at about 9:00 and quickly hit the trail. It was an easy start to the hike, but things got a bit tougher as the trail steepened.
Three Hikers
GUMO Hikers

After about 45 minutes on the Tejas Trail, Helen decided that she didn't want to slow us down and so Robby, Noelle and I moved ahead without her. We decided we would reunite at the junction of the Tejas and Juniper Trails after we had hiked the inner loop of the Bowl.

We missed Helen's companionship, but we were able to move a little bit more quickly without her. It was a perfect day for hiking. Not too hot and not too windy. Soon we passed above the Hiker's Staircase where Noelle and I had hiked with my brother Kris about 2 weeks ago. 
Limestone Tower

We got lots of great views of Guadalupe Peak and the other peaks of the Guadalupes.
Robby on the Trail
Noelle on the Trail

Soon we were at the top of the escarpment. We had anticipated hiking in the snow, but there was more than we had expected.
Hiking a Snowwy Bowl

After some time alternately sliding and slogging through the snow, we found ourselves at the top of the very steep Bear Canyon Trail.
At the Top of Bear Canyon

Noelle and I had hiked that trail nearly 10 years ago, and the trails steepness left Noelle in tears. I think she would agree that she is a much tougher hiker now than she was back then. After passing the trail junction we found an old stock tank.
Robby Tanking Up

Then we moved onto a high meadow area dotted with ponderosa pines that I found reminiscent of the Black Hills.
Robby in the Bowl

Robby, Noelle and I found a nice dry section of grass, sheltered from the wind that made a great spot to relax for a few moments.
Robby & Eric Resting

When we resumed our hiking we had some more snow to contend with. Soon we could see Helen again. We stopped and rested with her and ate some snacks before heading back down.

The hike down was nice and easy.
Hiking Down

The miles seemed to fly by. We still stopped to take another rest at about the halfway point of our descent.
Hiking Break

Before we knew it we were back at the parking lot. The whole hike was, in the words of Robby, incredi-bowl!        

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