Big Bend Conservancy
Condolences to you for all of your loses. It does make you feel fortunate to be around to have a few more adventures. And it looks like you all made the most of it. My wife and I did a similar trip a couple of years ago - the first time to Guadalupe or Carlsbad for either of us. We did the peak, Mckitrick canyon, Smith Springs, the Grotto and Pratts cabin, and the old ranch/farm house visit. We loved the cavern and the evening bat exodus. Unique experience. Is the oil business still booming out there ? Lots of truck traffic and folks at the motels and restaurants back then. Sorry to hear about the west nile and glad you were able to beat it. It can be some serious stuff. Are you back to full speed ? Any more pics ? Vaya con Dios,, Alan
The petrochemical biz is bigger than ever in that part of the country. I was shocked at the transformation from my last trip several years ago. Sitting in our campsite on the side of the peak, below the summit, we could see hundreds, maybe thousands, of lights twinkling among the plain to the east of the peak. Looked like a small city, but it was all petro facilities. Trucks were everywhere - driving safely, actually- but they were still everywhere. The roads were choked. My old standby shortcut out of there and back toward Dallas - the Black River Road - is now called "The Highway of Death" by locals because of the number of industry-related fatalities due to the degradation of the roadbed through overuse. Eddy County can't seem to find the money to repair it. Hotel prices in Carlsbad are through the roof - well over $200/night, some as much as $400/night, while the lodges down the highway in White's City are going for as little as $100/night off-peak. That's certainly new to me. The rangers at Carlsbad said it was because of company block-buys in Carlsbad for their temporary petro workers.
Plenty more pics were taken, mostly my typical terrible ones. Especially down in the caverns. But probably none that anyone else would like to see. I had hoped to take several scouting shots of the view from the summit toward the next highest three peaks, Shumard, Bartlett, and Bush. My original hope had been that I'd take the family up to the peak, then send them back to our campsite below the summit, while I bagged the other three during the rest of the day and spending then night in the Bush Mountain campsite, with all of us meeting up the next afternoon down at our vehicle. With wet storm systems bracketing our trip, the weather was incredibly mild and I thought I could do it. But one look down that vicious, brush-choked slope from the summit of Guadalupe to the top of Shumard disabused me of any such silly ideas. We all went back to our campsite together, and then headed down the next day as a group.
One of my goals for a future volunteer assignment in the park is to go up to Shumard and Bartlett Peaks to check on their summit registers. As such, I've checked out various routes to get to them. Access from Guadalupe Peak is hideously bad, due to the fact that the topography demands that one lose almost a thousand feet of altitude descending from Guadalupe Peak and then gaining almost all of that back ascending Shumard Peak. It's been done, but I wouldn't recommend it. If you do want to bag Shumard and Bartlett Peaks, do them as a hike from Bush Mountain campground. Bush Mountain to Bartlett doesn't look difficult; Bartlett to Shumard is a bit more taxing, but both should be doable as a day hike from Bush Mountain campsite.
One of my goals for a future volunteer assignment in the park is to go up to Shumard and Bartlett Peaks to check on their summit registers. As such, I've checked out various routes to get to them.
My interest was specifically in bagging all of the four highest peaks in one day. I've been on top of Guadalupe and Bush before, but never the other two. If I ever attempt that quadrifecta, I think I might go Bush-Bartlett-Shumard-Guadalupe....just because then I'd HAVE to get up that godawful Guadalupe slope if I wanted to get out of there alive. The thought of starting with that monster is just too depressing.
The two pictures next to each other of you and your daughter were really cool. I didn't realize how young she was in the first picture. I've thought about taking my son out there. I know he would LOVE it. But I've always worried about rangers or other people telling me he is too young. Glad to see you two up there together when she was that young. Do you still remember how she did on that hike at that age? My son hikes quite a bit with me and loves it but he's never done any major elevation gain.
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