The highest elevation (8,751 ft.) in Texas is Guadalupe Peak in Guadalupe Mountains National Park and that was our quest on this beautiful fall day.
As we climbed high above the Permian Basin floor we were treated to expansive views of the vastness of west Texas and some interesting contrasts - such as this abrupt distribution of plant communities with slope aspect (hotter/dryer S-facing slope dominated by desert shrub/grassland and cooler/moister N-facing slope dominated by mixed conifer forest):
Mixed conifer forest (Ponderosa Pine, Two Needle Pinon, SW White Pine, Juniper sp., Douglas Fir):
What's this? Snow!
But still T-shirt weather!
Another first for us: Williamson's Sapsucker:
New Mexico Agave (looks like it anyway). Fascinating contrast with the conifers:
It's a long way to anywhere here:
We made it to the top!:
We wondered how often those canyons below receive visitors?:
Semi-active gypsum sand dune field:
This salt basin used to be a lake when the area received much more rainfall in the long-ago past (not the dark green vegetation which is irrigated hay of some sort - an unlikely place for agriculture?):
El Capitan - a prominent regional landmark:
This hike was a little over 8 miles out and back but we found it easy due to the great diversity of fascinating natural history observations (we just kept hiking and checking out cool stuff!). Ever get down this way - do this hike!