Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A big little mountain in Texas!

The Guadalupe Mountains are part of one of the finest examples of an ancient marine fossil reef on earth. This extraordinary natural phenomenon formed around 260-270 million years ago. During this time a vast tropical ocean covered portions of Texas and New Mexico. Over millions of years, calcareous sponges, algae, and other lime secreting marine organisms, along with lime precipitated from the seawater, built up to form the 400-milelong, horseshoe-shaped Captain Reef. Eventually the sea evaporated. As the reef subsided it was buried in a thick blanket of sediments and mineral salts. The reef was entombed for millions of years until a mountain building uplift exposed part of it. This ancient reef complex now towers above the Texas desert in the Guadalupe Mountains.
(Copied from the National Park handout.) It seemed to be the perfect way to describe the mountains there. I stayed at the base of the mountain in Pine Springs campground for the night and hike to the “Top of Texas” or Guadalupe peak. This peek towers over Texas at 8749 feet. The trail is very steep with 3000 feet of elevation gain from the campground in 4 miles. I hope my legs will recover. The hike up was great the sky was cloudy with a few sprinkles along the way which really helped to keep me from dying in the summer heat. It being the rainy season and all I had a great view of a green and lush desert. There were so many flowers and grasses not to mention trees and shrubs. I hiked this trail with the park ranger that was the guide for my Carlsbad Cavern tour and a couple of the other rangers Mike #2, Steven and Dan. Mike was extremely knowledgeable about the Guadalupe Mountains as well as the Caverns. It was a joy to have a free guide on the mountain. Thanks Mike!
Now off to stay another night at the Wal-Mart.

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