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Guadalupe Ridge Trail Thru Hike - Sept. 2019

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Offline Reece

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Re: Guadalupe Ridge Trail Thru Hike - Sept. 2019
« Reply #30 on: October 09, 2019, 02:48:08 PM »
Two hikers with two GPS devices split up on an unfamiliar trail. One hiker takes both devices?


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Offline Keepa

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Re: Guadalupe Ridge Trail Thru Hike - Sept. 2019
« Reply #31 on: October 09, 2019, 03:03:57 PM »
Two hikers with two GPS devices split up on an unfamiliar trail. One hiker takes both devices?

Good observation.

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Offline Minimal

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Re: Guadalupe Ridge Trail Thru Hike - Sept. 2019
« Reply #32 on: October 09, 2019, 10:19:13 PM »
I've been trying to ignore all the misinformation and hyperbole posted in this thread, but feel I need to address a few things. This entire thread has ruined an outstanding trip report of an amazing experience that Wrangler and I both shared. I don't want to speak for Wrangler, but I'm pretty sure he feels the same way.

I am still shocked that someone would take them labeled as they were.  Locals hostile to a new trail coming through bringing strangers?

This is my theory as well. As noted previously, I am at fault for not hiding the caches well enough, but again, they were labelled and dated and identified as HIKER WATER. Lots of ATV and rancher activity in the area where the two caches were missing, with the remaining cache right where I left it requiring a short hike off trail. I'm chalking this up to meanness and hostility to hikers as well as the caches not being hidden well enough. Again, my fault.


Within the realm of possibilities is, for whatever reason, failing to locate the exact spot where the cache is hidden.   :eusa_think:

I hid the caches personally and therefore knew exactly where they should have been found. Again, my fault they were disturbed, but there was plenty of water to be filtered from cattle tanks or pools in the numerous washes we crossed. We were never in danger of "dying of thirst". If anything the caches were more for convenience rather than necessity.

Todd's decision to go ahead of you was a mistake and could have resulted in your death.

I don't even know how to respond to such an asinine comment. Wrangler was well aware of his position on the map. Read his statement again. He knew he had taken a wrong turn. He knew I was still up on the ridge. He knew where he needed to go. He had a map. He took a wrong turn and ended up hiking what we later jokingly referred to as "the low route alternate". Of course, I guess one could argue that leaving the house could result in ones death.


Two hikers with two GPS devices split up on an unfamiliar trail. One hiker takes both devices?

Where did you get that idea? The only GPS device was the Garmin Fenix on my wrist. It was only used while bushwhacking up a ridge or to see just how tall that last climb was. Our navigation was by map and the collected data sheet I had created.

Good observation.

No, it's not.

At this point, I probably should have just went with the vanilla trip report of here is where we stayed, this was the trail, and everything was fun.

You may be right my friend. You may be right.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2019, 10:25:48 PM by Minimal »

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Offline Flash

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Re: Guadalupe Ridge Trail Thru Hike - Sept. 2019
« Reply #33 on: October 09, 2019, 10:46:35 PM »
Welcome aboard, Minimal, I think you will do!  From my geocaching days there were two reasons why a cache was likely not found:  1) It was there but you did not find it or 2) it had been muggled by a non-geocacher.  Sometimes I had the hardest time finding my own caches I had laid out months ago. I was just throwing out the other possibility. No doubt you had GPS coordinates and/or a description and they had been made off with by that pesky non-hiker clan.
- Flash

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Offline Txlj

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Re: Guadalupe Ridge Trail Thru Hike - Sept. 2019
« Reply #34 on: October 10, 2019, 02:02:53 AM »
OK. Times up, next part please.

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Guadalupe Ridge Trail Thru Hike - Sept. 2019
« Reply #35 on: October 10, 2019, 06:14:25 AM »
Todd, I think you are over reading everyone's comments but it is the internet and things can easily be taken the wrong way.  What I have read is general concern about water caches gone missing from many people who have placed and relied on water caches in the past and knowing what would have happened to them if their water was not there when they arrived. 

Also general concern about what could have possibly happened when wrangler88 was temporarily misplaced because you headed out before him, again from people who have probably had the same experience.  In all cases people have apologized or explained there concerns and commented on what a great trip and report this is.

Like Keepa said
At this point, I probably should have just went with the vanilla trip report of here is where we stayed, this was the trail, and everything was fun.

Don't be discouraged. One reason candid trip reports are important is that we all learn good and bad things from them, and discussions of them often lead to new insights and awareness.
If you read any of Keepa's Arizona Trail report he had plenty of things that did not go well and let everyone know about them.

As to Reece's comment I would assume it came from here:
Quote
He made a GPS track on his watch and Phone for the entire trail.

Many folks use Gaia as their gps on their phones, hence two GPS devices one person.

You have to realize that people read these trip reports, especially one like this from a place, new to them, very closely and literally trying to glean information and knowledge.

Welcome to BBC!
 :welcome:
« Last Edit: October 10, 2019, 09:59:10 AM by mule ears »
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline steelfrog

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Re: Guadalupe Ridge Trail Thru Hike - Sept. 2019
« Reply #36 on: October 10, 2019, 06:41:30 AM »
Minimal ó I feel your pain.  There is a majority of us who read trip reports like yours with pleasure and donít comment at all. As with anything There are a few judgy know-it-alls who ruin it for everybody with their ignorant and presumptuous comments. I canít tell you not to leave because thatís what I did for years. But If you donít, I want you to realize that thereís lots of us reading and appreciating your TR

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Offline Minimal

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Re: Guadalupe Ridge Trail Thru Hike - Sept. 2019
« Reply #37 on: October 10, 2019, 08:01:05 AM »
You have to realize that people read these trip reports, especially one like this from a place, new to them, very closely and literally trying to glean information and knowledge.

Hopefully they'll buy the GRT guidebook once I'm finished with it.  :icon_lol:

Thank you Mule Ears for being a voice of reason.

Minimal ó I feel your pain.  There is a majority of us who read trip reports like yours with pleasure and donít comment at all. As with anything There are a few judgy know-it-alls who ruin it for everybody with their ignorant and presumptuous comments. I canít tell you not to leave because thatís what I did for years. But If you donít, I want you to realize that thereís lots of us reading and appreciating your TR

Much appreciated SteelFrog, I ain't goin' anywhere (I'm stubborn like that).

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Offline Hang10er

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Re: Guadalupe Ridge Trail Thru Hike - Sept. 2019
« Reply #38 on: October 10, 2019, 08:41:01 AM »
Cows once ate the seat off my 4-wheeler.  The whole seat. 

What did the water caches consist of?  Is it possible cattle (or some other animal) drug the jugs off?

Enjoying the report.

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Offline steelfrog

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Re: Guadalupe Ridge Trail Thru Hike - Sept. 2019
« Reply #39 on: October 10, 2019, 08:48:18 AM »
A nice long dayhike in GUMO is Frijole Ridge from McKitterick up to the Bowl; you can exit either Bear Canyon or go aruond down Tejas.  Rarely done I think; Picacho did it a few months ago

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Offline Keepa

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Re: Guadalupe Ridge Trail Thru Hike - Sept. 2019
« Reply #40 on: October 10, 2019, 09:48:20 AM »
I've been trying to ignore all the misinformation and hyperbole posted in this thread, but feel I need to address a few things. This entire thread has ruined an outstanding trip report of an amazing experience that Wrangler and I both shared. I don't want to speak for Wrangler, but I'm pretty sure he feels the same way.

Apologies for ruining your trip post fact. As it appears you know everything and have everything figured out, you certainly don't need any comments from us. Good luck on your next trip.

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Offline wrangler88

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Re: Guadalupe Ridge Trail Thru Hike - Sept. 2019
« Reply #41 on: October 10, 2019, 10:09:03 AM »
I've been trying to ignore all the misinformation and hyperbole posted in this thread, but feel I need to address a few things. This entire thread has ruined an outstanding trip report of an amazing experience that Wrangler and I both shared. I don't want to speak for Wrangler, but I'm pretty sure he feels the same way.

Apologies for ruining your trip post fact. As it appears you know everything and have everything figured out, you certainly don't need any comments from us. Good luck on your next trip.

I don't think he said it ruined the trip. The trip was great.
The trip report has gone a little off course.

I get all the concern when conveyed through an online forum trip report. Had anyone been there with us, you'd understand things weren't as dire as what it has turned into here. Call it over confidence or whatever you want but I never felt my life was in danger in any way. I wasn't trying to convey that I am incapable of navigation and purely had to rely on Todd to survive on the trip. I was trying to give Todd as much credit for all the planning he did on the trip as I could. He made it so easy that I never had to look at my map up until this point. I might not have known the actual route as well as I should have, but I can also look at a map and get from point A to point B. Which is what happened.

I don't fault anyone on BigBendChat for showing concern. It might have been different if you knew Todd or myself, or where there to actually see the situation. But I also don't think that myself or Todd is wrong for trying to explain ourselves further. Hopefully we all take a breath and all is good.

I'm off to finish this Trip Report and wrap everything up. Days 5 and 6 were the best of the trip. Looking forward to sharing those with yall!

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Offline wrangler88

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Re: Guadalupe Ridge Trail Thru Hike - Sept. 2019
« Reply #42 on: October 10, 2019, 10:13:41 AM »
Cows once ate the seat off my 4-wheeler.  The whole seat. 

What did the water caches consist of?  Is it possible cattle (or some other animal) drug the jugs off?

Enjoying the report.

I think it may be possible. I've had a water cache on the Lone Star Hiking Trail get chewed up by something. The whole thing wasn't gone but the lid had holes chewed through it. But we never did find any evidence of either water jug (2.5 gallon plastic jug). So they would have had to have been carried off completely.

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Offline wrangler88

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Re: Guadalupe Ridge Trail Thru Hike - Sept. 2019
« Reply #43 on: October 10, 2019, 11:23:20 AM »
DAY 5

It had been fairly windy overnight. I could hear it much more than my tent actually shook. I think possibly that our tents were so close to the edge of the ridge that the wind pushing through the canyon was pushed up and over our tents. I ended up sleeping in an extra hour past when Todd and I had woken up every other morning. I immediately felt bad that he was hanging around camp having to wait on me but I think the extra sleep REALLY helped me out. The shorter day on Day 4 combined with the extra sleep had me feeling much better. Emotionally I felt much better. I knew before ever getting out of my tent that if my feet and legs felt good on the descent of the ridge that I was definitely back in on finishing the trip. I packed up as quick as I could, covered my blisters and cuts on my feel with duct tape, put on my shoes, and was ready to cross over into Texas and Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

We were camped about 10 minutes from the wire fence at the border. We quickly arrived at the hiker gate and took our turns walking through. We stopped to fill out the hiker log in the ammo can that is on the Texas side of the fence. We found Todd's two previous entries and mine from the one time I had been to the border. Not many people fill out that log book.

We pushed on across the ridge. I had hoped to see some Aoudad since Todd had seen several on the ridge on one of his previous trips. In fact I had 3 or 4 animals I would have loved to see on the trip. It was sort of a goal to see at least one. I had never seen a rattlesnake, mountain lion, black bear, or elk in the Guads. I was hoping Todd would have brought me good luck in seeing something new. We did see 3 horny toads on the trip. And a TON of deer (mostly bucks) up until this point. But still none of the more sparse fauna. We passed the Wilderness Ridge Campsites which are only a quarter mile from the fence. Then easily pushed across the top of the forested ridge and arrived at the Southwestern edge and began our long descent. Todd is incredibly fast on downhills. I feel nearly out of control trying to keep up with him on any descent. So he walked ahead but never out of sight as the ridge is very open and exposed. We both stopped and enjoyed the views at what I would call the Notch of Wilderness Ridge; a small pass between the two sides of the ridge that the trail goes through with great views. We enjoyed a ton of wildflowers and the ocotillos while making our way toward the McKittrick Canyon Visitors Center. I could see my truck still in the parking lot but no other cars yet although the gates had opened a couple hours before. We still had not seen a single human since starting out trip. Then as we got close to the parking lot, we saw a car drive up and someone, most likely the volunteer, get out, walk over to check my truck, and head toward the visitors center. First person seen on the trip!




We crossed the wash and headed into the shade of the visitors center. The volunteer came out and asked if we had paid our entry fee yet. He didn't recognize me but I had talked to him for a half hour at Pine Springs before starting our trip. As soon as I explained what we were doing he remembered me and was interested in how things had been going. He was a really nice man and was greatly interested in our trip. We had arrived at the point in the trip where we needed to retrieve Todd's car from Carlsbad Caverns and shuttle it to Pine Springs. It was great to get some AC and cold Gatorades I had left in a cooler in my truck. (I had frozen a bunch of water bottles and a milk jug full of water and covered my cooler up previous to us heading out on the trip. The drinks inside were still cold.) I told Todd on the drive to Carlsbad Caverns that I felt much better physically and was definitely in on finishing the rest of the trail. We got Todd's car and stopped back in Whites City at the general store/gift shop/tourist trap. As many times as I had passed before, I had never stopped. It looked exactly like the kind of place my wife would love to stop and buy all sorts of National Park themed gifts. We headed straight to the back where they kept the gas station typed food. I grabbed dorritos, sour punch straws, another gatorade, and two beef hot dogs. They were all delicious and exactly what I needed to get powered up for the afternoon. We dropped Todd's car at Pine Springs, refilled water, and headed back to McKittrick Canyon Trailhead.



We began our hike through McKittrick Canyon in early afternoon. It was hot and sunny during the first couple miles as there is little shade heading into the canyon. I think the most magical part of McKittrick Canyon, at least the lower part of the canyon, is the transition from desert to a riparian zone. Seeing new trees that you haven't come across, new wild flowers, a cooler temperature in the shade, and obviously the water of McKittrick Creek are really special. We pushed farther into the canyon and I felt a ton of energy coming my way. I don't know if it was the gas station hot dogs or Guadalupe Mountains National Park but my legs felt great. Just before arriving at Pratt Cabin we passed our first 2 day hikers of the trip. Two middle aged women who looked like they had had all they wanted of GUMO. They looked worn out and didn't not respond much when we greeted them. We arrived at Pratt Cabin and took a break in the rocking chairs on the porch. That cabin is magical. The views and peacefulness of that area is really something else. If the national park is ever looking for someone to live there for a season, I would be glad to oblige.





We continued on up the canyon and soon arrived at the Grotto and Hunter Line Shack area. We talked to 2 other day hikers from Orange, TX. They were waiting on their son who had continued on to the Notch to check out the views. They were concerned about making it back to the gate before it closed for the evening. Todd and I checked out Hunter Line Shack and I showed him the sign that says you can't go farther into the canyon, which we had already talked about previously. We loaded back up and then headed for the hardest climb in the park up McKittrick Ridge.




We soon heard music coming from a speaker. We both rolled our eyes but it soon stopped. It was the son of the 2 people we had talked to at the Grotto. He was really nice and was interested in what we were hiking. We talked for a few minutes and then he started down and we continued up. The climb was slow going just from being steep. Todd is not nearly as fast uphill as he is downhill. But I really didn't mind breaking going up the ridge as the views of the canyon are incredible! We soon arrived at the Notch and Todd got his first views of the cliffs deeper in the canyon. The huge rock faces are truly amazing. My legs felt great for the entire climb. I attribute this to my excitement of the trial. When we reached the part that I call the bridge (narrow ridge that drops down and leads to the main ridge where the campsite is located) Todd spotted a tarantula. This was his second of the trip. We finally reached the "flat" part of the trail on top of the main ridge. I call it flat but its really not. It is way flatter than the steep ridge we had just come up. We passed a couple spots where people give up on the hike and throw their tents down right next to the trail. We finally arrived at our campsite to Todd's relief. I did laugh several times going up the ridge. Not because I was making fun of him. But I know how tough the hike was going to be and he was experiencing it for the first time.






We were the only ones at the campsites. As soon as we stopped at our site and grunt and rustling came from up the hill but near to us. In the fading light I was hoping this was my first chance to see a Guadalupe Mountain black bear! BUT it was just a javalina. I was kind of shocked to see one up that high. I figured we would see them maybe in the canyon. But not on top of it. We set up our tents and rehydrated out meals for the night. I left my stove in the truck since I was carrying an esbit stove and technically you aren't supposed to use them in GUMO. I was fine using cool water for my spicy bean dip. It was great. And I gave Todd the rest to go with the Fritos he had carried up the mountain. He had a Pack-it Gourmet meal also. We started to see lightning farther off to the West. We hoped that it would stay that direction. Just after turning our lights off in our tents, it began to sprinkle. This was our first overnight rain of the trip. Later during the night it rained much harder. I'm not really sure how much it rained during the night as I'm a pretty heavy sleeper and usually sleep through most weather. Todd's sleeping pad had started leaking the previous night. He battled trying to keep it inflated most of the night. My pillow had also started leaking the previous night. So I had to air it up 3 or 4 times throughout the night. The next day would be the longest of the trip. We'd need as much rest as we could get.

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Offline wrangler88

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Re: Guadalupe Ridge Trail Thru Hike - Sept. 2019
« Reply #44 on: October 10, 2019, 12:24:28 PM »
DAY 6 (& 7)

We woke up to wet tents. I was hoping to make it through the trip without having to pack my tent up wet. I was able to shake most of the drops off of it but it was definitely still damp. As were all of the grass, bushes, and trees around us. We had gotten up slightly earlier than normal and packed up so that we could be walking at first light. We had a long day heading across the park and planned to spend the night at Guadalupe Peak campsite and summit the morning of Day 7.

We headed west on McKittrick Ridge. Todd let me take the lead. I think he was letting me clear out the morning spider webs and dry all the grass with my shoes and pants. Before too long my shoes were completely soaked. We arrived at the junction with the Tejas trail. This trail would take us all the way to Pine Springs. We headed south, past Blue Ridge, and down into the drainage near the Tejas campsite. I honestly felt like we would see someone camped at Tejas since its one of the better campsites and this was fee free weekend in the National Parks. Still no one camping in the backcountry. We made great time all the way up to the Pine Top trail junction. This is the main trail junction in the backcountry where the trail splits and heads to Pine Springs, Hunter Peak, Bush Mountain, or north (the way from where we were coming) deeper into the park and eventually all the way to Dog Canyon campground. We took a short break at the trail junction to take in the views, use the cell phone service, and I dried my socks and shoes. Then we began our descent down the Tejas trail and into the canyon headed toward Pine Springs.





Once again, Todd hiked really fast down the trail. I was determined to try to keep up with him while still being able to video and take pictures. The difference between us, is when Todd goes down hill, he travels very quickly but looks like he's just walking a normal pace. When I try to keep up with Todd I am in between a walk and jog, and feeling that I'm right on the edge of going too quickly and being out of control. We made amazing time down the Tejas Trail. We arrived in Pine Springs from the Pine Top trail junction in 1hr and 13 minutes (3.6 miles).



We had planned on stopping into the visitors center and grabbing a couple gatorades as they now have a drink cooler inside. We had been talking about it all morning. When we arrived inside, they were out of drinks. We had decided earlier that we would go ahead and shuttle my truck to Pine Springs so that it was ready to go the next morning. When we arrived back at McKittrick to get my truck, Todd said he would be down to get more hotdogs at Whites City. So we made the drive once again and fueled up on hotdogs and cheetos. We drove back to Pine Springs with both vehicles, parked, and refilled water. This time I filled in the water fountain/water bottle filler. This water was much colder than the faucet outside I had used the previous day. I decided to carry 5 liters up the mountain which would end up being at least a liter too much. Since we waited until early afternoon to start our hike, we actually got quite a bit more shade than if we had started earlier. We had the added advantage of the clouds moving in and helping keep the exposed areas shaded.

Up until this point in the trip we passed 5 total people on the trial (all of which were dayhiking in McKittrick Canyon). Going up Guadalupe Peak on Fee Free Weekend we passed a hundred. Almost all were already coming down. Some in great spirits from summiting the highest peak in the state. Others were as beat down looking as a person could get and were ready to be back at the trailhead. As we climbed higher and higher I could see that the parking lot at the trailhead was cleaing out. I hoped this meant that the Guadalupe Peak Campsites wouldn't be full. We went slowly up the mountain; taking our time, enjoying the views, and taking lots of breaks. When we arrived at the turn off for the campground. The clouds now began to look more and more like rain. We discussed summiting after we set our tents up instead of in the morning. We both agreed this was the better plan and both felt good enough to add a couple miles on to the long day. When we crossed the small ridge above the campground, I was surprised that it was a packed house. Tents and hammocks everywhere. I had never seen more than one other person at the campground. I headed for a site that I knew was the farthest in the group and hoped no one was there. There were a couple guys standing on the tent pad when we got there but after talking to them, they were camping at a different site and were just checking out the views. I noticed someone had taken down the wind block that has been built at one of the sites for years. It was tough to fit both our tents on the pad with the way it was sloped and the big rocks that would have been impossible to stake our tents out. But we finally got them setup just right, stripped our packs down, and headed back to the main trail. On our way out, we were asked by the couple guys we had previously talked to if we thought it was going to rain. They had just brought a blue tarp they had spread out with their sleeping bags on top. I responded with "definitely."



I however thought it would rain overnight. About the time we reached the bridge section of the trail, it began to rain big drops. It got windy and then the hail started in. I asked Todd if he wanted to push on or try again in the morning. He whole heartedly wanted to continue. So I put my camera and microphone in my pack, put my pack cover on, and we continued up. There was no lightning or thunder so I didn't feel in much danger. A hiker heading down asked if it was smarter to head up or down. I told him down was probably the much smarter choice. But we could also see that the clouds looked clear off to the west and the system was moving fast. 15 minutes later all the precipitation quit.



We arrived at the summit with plenty of light left in the day. There were two others at the summit who were hanging around to wait out the sunset. Todd and I took our pictures and a final video next to the summit marker. (Little did I know that the rain on the way up would mess up my microphone and the audio would be distorted for this final clip of the trip.) It felt so good to finally be done. Speaking totally for myself, once reaching the summit, the trip didn't seem like it was as far as it had just days before. We hung around on the summit for a while and then headed down as the sun was going down.








Not far from the summit we saw a hiker off the trail and down a short but steep section of rock. We asked him if he was alright and he said he was lost. This was the same hiker that was heading down when it began raining. He had started back up and somehow gotten off trail. (We honestly thought it was impossible to get lost on the Peak Trail. But he proved us wrong.) He really was only 20 yards off trail but would have had a hard time making it up the steep rock to the actual trail. He looked like he had given up but we were trying to talk him through it. About that time, one of the guys from the summit came down to meet him. This was their friend. He walked down and met him where he had obviously gotten off trail and they continued on up to the summit together.

Todd and I headed back into camp. I had to turn my headlamp on before making it back to the bridge as it was getting fairly dark. We ate a quick meal and got into our tents. My tent was on a slight incline and I could tell it wasn't going to be a great night. It was also very damp from the rain and air. Not too long after climbing into the tent it began to rain. Then harder and harder. There was so much moisture in the air, each drop would drop a mist from the inside of the tent down on me. It was not pleasant. I was glad this was the last night of the trip. It was too warm to cover up with my 50 degree quilt but I felt I had to to keep from getting wet. I spent much of the night trying to stay dry and not slide off my pad. Todd had the same problem with the mist and rain plus his pad wouldn't hold air. It was not a fun  night.



We got up pretty early and packed up quick as all our stuff was wet and we were ready to be done. We headed down the mountain at a slightly slower pace than our normal downhill pace. We started passing more and more people who were getting an early start on this Sunday morning. We talked quite a bit about the Ouachita Trail, which is Todd's favorite place to backpack. I may have to check it out soon.

We arrived back at Pine Springs just after the visitors center opened up. We washed off with the solar shower I had left in my truck and then changed clothes. It felt great to get into cotton clothes. I don't carry extra clothes when I backpack so I had been wearing the same stuff for a week. We went into the visitors center to get a Guadalupe Ridge Trail T Shirt. The same ranger and volunteer I had talked to when starting my trip were both in there. So we all talked about the trail and how things went. We soon left and headed to our cars. Todd and I shook hands, I thanked him for inviting me and he gave me his famous line that he made sure to tell me several times every day "Have I told you how glad I am that you were able to come on this trip with me?" I truly am glad he invite me. I probably would not have done it on my own and don't know anyone else who would have been interested in doing it. We didn't know each other when starting the trail but I feel like we became friends and had a good time together on trail. I look forward to doing other trips in the Guads with Todd and maybe something in the Ouachita Mountains too.

We both headed back toward Carlsbad. I stopped to get gas in Carlsbad and then headed a slightly different way home than I normally do. I drove through Hobbs and eventually through Snyder before connecting back into I-20 and heading East. I really enjoyed this route and plan to take it from now on.

 


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