•Nine-hour drive to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas. I arrived early enough to get the key to the gate that allowed me to photograph the gypsum dunes on the west end of the park. There are four keys to the gate, but I had the only one checked out, so I was entirely alone.
•Set up camp in the Pine Springs Campground. Set up my camp chair and discovered I had excellent cellular service, so I talked to Abby for over an hour.
•With two deer right next to my tent watching, I made a two-hour star trace photo.
•Hiked the El Capitan Trail, where I met a guy named John from San Antonio, who told me he was training for the Appalachian Trail. I hiked with him for a couple of hours.
•Hiked the Smith Spring Trail in the afternoon. Fair images on both.
•Warned of forecast for 60mph winds for the night, so I broke camp and headed to Carlsbad.
•Took the Natural Entrance at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Made some decent pictures, since I had my tripod.
•Drove long, lonely county road to Sitting Bull Falls in the Lincoln National Forest west of the Carlsbad area.
•I’m 39. The last time I saw Carlsbad Caverns, my parents were 39.
•Hiked to the top of Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas. It was, as the Park Service claims, strenuous, ascending about 3000 feet from the trailhead to an elevation of 8749. It was hazy all day, but still very fun. I called Abby from the top.
Overall, I had an exceptional trip, and I felt like I accomplished all my goals.
Watch the Chihuahua QuickTime movie here…