This was my first attempt on a summit with the freshly minted goal of reaching the highest point in every state. Since I had used up all my vacation days I needed to try and maximize the time on the weekend, which involved making an 8 hour drive out to the mountains after I got off work on a Friday.
I took my two eldest boys with me, knowing that they would enjoy the trip, and to help appease the guilt of leaving the rest of the family for the weekend. At 2 A.M. I pulled the van into a rest area near the trailhead and lowering the back seats we all slept in the van for the remaining hours before the sun came up.
After being treated to a beautiful sunrise, and eating a healthy portion of oatmeal, we drove to the park headquarters and got our permits to camp in the Guadalupe Peak Campground.
Permits secured and water bottles filled, we set forth on the long zigzagging trail up the mountain. The going was slow in the heat, and we made frequent water breaks on our way up. On a couple of occasions we saw a tarantula spider crossing the path.
Finally we arrived at the campground a mile shy of the summit. We set up our tents, and as the boys explored the area (finding swarms of lady bugs), I made us dinner.
Before it got too late we took a daypack and finished our climb to the summit, crossing paths with a young rattlesnake that lay strewn across the trail. Getting to summit of the highest point in Texas was a victory for us all, and after a few pictures, headed back down to our campsite.
That night the wind hit the mountainside hard, battering our tents relentlessly until the sun scorched away the dusk of morning.
Knowing we had a long drive back home, we packed up our campsite early and began climbing down the mountain. The trail down was quick and we made good time back to the van. On our drive back to Arlington, we stopped at a BBQ restaurant for a traditional victory burger to celebrate a successful hiking adventure.
This was one of my favorite hiking trips with the boys, and they did a fantastic job of climbing the mountain, hiking many miles up steep hills without complaint. I would love to go back at some point and explore more of this area.
Justin McCormick grew up in the Yukon Territories in a cabin on Nisutlin Bay. Being surrounded by the majestic and harsh wilderness of the north, he developed a passion for canoeing, hiking, mountain climbing and skiing. He currently resides in Texas and is trying to impart his passion for the outdoors to his four children.