This Thanksgiving, I went to Guadalupe Peak National Park with some friends to climb Texas’s tallest mountain, Guadalupe Peak. The trail was 4 miles long from the bottom to the top, and it rose up about 3000 feet in height, ending in a “net height” of 8751 feet. The trail traverses several small mountains, before reaching the final peak.
The trail started with some small gravel paths, gradually getting steeper, with some small staircases lined with logs. Overall, it was easy, but the next thing I knew, we were on the edge of a cliff, a few hundred feet above the ground, and things started going downhill. The majority of the elapsed time we spent climbing was this section, and the final peak trail. We were beside a straight-up face of rock, a cliff, like the one beside us. I moved slower than a snail. I knew that one wrong move would send me tumbling down the mountain we have climbed. Every switchback, staircase, and smooth ramp made the trail seem more and more perilous. After what seemed like an interminable cliffside path, we entered a forest, on the top of a forty five degree hill. We were finally away from the perilous cliffs and in the shady refuge of the forest.
The forest was the first bridge between the first two peaks. It was on the top of a mildly steep hill, cluttered with assorted trees. I knew that this time, I could concentrate on climbing because I knew that the trees would catch me while I was falling, if I was falling. We moved at a faster rate, because this was less steep, and less tiring. After some one hour in the forest, We got to another, the final rocky section.
This was essentially a “v2” of the cliffs I mentioned earlier. Some of the people gave up in fright. The rest of us, including me, continued. Then, I saw something that nearly discouraged me: a smooth, completely sloped area facing the cliffs. One that slipped is likely to slide down and fall. I overcame this by laying down on my stomach and slowly “crawling” on it. After some more cliffs, we got to the peak. The only things I found there were a beautiful view, a metal pyramid, and some record books. We signed our name in the books and headed down.
The journey down was easier than up, because we had the “aid” of gravity to push us downward. It only took us about 2 hours to get down, where the rest of the group were having a picnic at the campsite.
Overall, I think climbing this tallest peak is a very great achievement, because it took a lot of effort and courage to be able to climb up there.