Black Mesa

Black Mesa was the last state summit I was able to drive to over the weekend from our home in Arlington Texas. This time I gave my boys a choice if they wanted to come with me to hike the summit. Nathaniel declined, but Anthony was eager to come, not wanting to miss out on an adventure.

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We left on a Friday afternoon, driving until 2 A.M., just a few miles from the trailhead. There had been a big snowstorm the weekend beforehand and while the bulk of it had melted, there were still large patches of it on the ground. 

 

Day 1

I had not anticipated snow and Anthony did not have waterproof footwear so I took some plastic bags and put them around his socks inside his shoes. We left the car and began the slow slog through shallow snow up to the base of the Mesa.

The air was crisp and cold, and the sun beat down with shallow warmth, not even warm enough to melt the snow and ice around us. The climb up the Mesa was an easy one,  (other than wading through some patches of deep snow) and we followed an old jeep trail to the top.

We then hiked another 2 miles along its flattened top towards the summit, passing large clumps of grass and cactus frozen under patches of snow and ice. The summit itself was marked with a giant tombstone marker. We took pictures, built a snowman and had a snowball fight. 

We then hiked along the edge of the south side of the Mesa until we found a place that had a nice view of the valley bellow. As I melted snow to make dinner, Anthony took off his shoes. The condensation from his feet had gathered in the plastic bags, making his feet look like prunes. 

Day 2

Cold temperatures and the relentless howling of coyotes marked the night. But we stayed warm in the tent and once the sun began to peak up over the hill I sat up in bed and made breakfast. As we sipped our coffee and tea we sat in salience taking in the peaceful beauty of the morning before hiking off the Mesa. 

While it was a short trip, I enjoyed sharing the adventure with Anthony who was a great travel companion. 


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.