Friday, August 21, 2009

Guadalupe Mountains & the Bookmark Draw

Thanks for your comments and positive words on my previous (and 100th) post. I drew three random numbers today and matched them to the comments. The bookmarks will soon be in the mail to:

1. Blu
2. Celeste Maia
3. Raph G. Neckmann

Thanks for participating!

Every summer we try to do a little hiking trip to one of the great National Parks in the US. This year we tried and tried to make plans, but they kept falling through. Finally we decided to just take a few days and drive down to West Texas, to Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Compared to many other national parks in the US, this one is pretty remote. The only accommodation within the park is in the form of a few campsites, which you cannot reserve in advance. The campgrounds have toilets and potable water, but there are no camp stores where you can buy food or batteries or anything you might have forgotten to bring. No showers, and nothing except the wide skies and open desert with sparsely marked hiking trails.

Rough, stark natural beauty everywhere, and as much solitude as you want.

What I found most fascinating was that this park is an ancient, marine fossilized reef! Apparently, this dry desert was under a vast tropical ocean about 250 million years ago. The tall mountains that jut out into the sky today were part of a reef that stretched over 400 miles of the shoreline! The ocean eventually receded, and slowly the reef emerged, and with erosion over many, many years, the peaks were formed.

Guadalupe Peak within the park is the highest point in Texas, and we hiked to its top one day.

We arrived in the park in the middle of a harsh thunder and lightning storm. We found an open campsite, but sat in our car wondering if the showers would stop at all. The clouds were dark and low, and the lightning was incessant.

After an hour or so, the rain stopped and we could see the clouds slowly moving on. We quickly got out and pitched our tent, so that if it did rain through the night, we'd have a place to stretch out!

So this was home for the next couple days, where we sat every night under the trees, watching the incredibly clear night sky, with billions of stars shimmering like shards of crystal. Guadalupe Mountains National Park is so very far away from any city that it has some of the clearest night skies possible.

Later that evening as we were getting settled in, the rain had almost completely stopped, though bulbous dark clouds still hung from the sky. What made us feel completely welcome though, was this pair of cheerful rainbows that were painted across the sky!

Have a great weekend.


pink dogwood said...

wow Bindu -This camping trip sounds so cool. And I just love rainbows.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Whoopee! Bookmarks - what a lucky day I'm having! Thank you Bindu!

Your trip to Guadalupe Mountains sounds fantastic, and the photos make me wish I could visit there too.

ArtPropelled said...

Sounds like bliss. I would enjoy the walks but what I really would love is looking up at that vast starry sky every night.

Mridula said...

I can only imagine how beautiful it must have been rainbows and those million stars!

Phoenix said...

The rainbow picture is breathtakingly beautiful!

megha punater said...

lovely pics bindu, and your trip sounds like bliss indeed.
what a refreshing break :)

Celeste Maia said...

First of all I am thrilled about winning the bookmarks. I have never won anything, so you can imagine how happy I am with receiving your beautiful bookmarks.
Guadalupe Mountains sound so wild and inaccessible. To be able to actually sleep there and look up at the sky and see the millions of stars and planets. And the rainbows. I am so glad to learn about this spot on earth.
How funny that we were both in Patagonia at the same time.

Lakshmi -Celebrations said...

Camping seems so cool.Nice pictures

ArtSparker said...

Wonderful to have the clouds part for you.

wandering soul said...

the clear starlit sky is one of the BESTEST things about camping.. :)
It is such a pleasure...ain't it?! I could stargaze for hours and i wouldn't know!

Loved the double rainbow.. must've been an awesome trip..

Snowbrush said...

Big Bend was under water too. I've been to both, but couldn't climb Guadalupe Peak (the highest point in Texas) because dogs weren't allowed on the trails, yet there was no place to kennel them.

Let's see here, looking at your other respondents, I see that I know Pink Dogwood, and that Celeste Maia is a new acquaintance (who recently posted a fascinating account of her trip to Patagonia), and I even have a blog buddy in Austin by the name of Sonia--do you know her? Small world, as they say.

LadyFi said...

That rainbow shot is beautiful! Looks like a great camping trip.

And congrats to the winners of the bookmarks.

rocksea said...

were there any footprints of the marine history, on the ground...? like colorful stones, fossils etc?

Karine said...

Wow! That looks like our kind of place. I am so glad you got a chance to "escape". That is so important!!!
Congrats to your winners!

Rajesh said...

Sound s like a exiting trip amidst the thunder storms. The rainbow snap is very lovely.

Blu said...

Wow, I am so pleased to have won bookmarks!

I bet that you really enjoyed getting away from city life and roughing it for a couple of days!

Rainbow in French is Arc en Ciel.

Best wishes Blu x

T and S said...

That's such a beautiful way to spend the weekend, I love wilderness, unfortunately in India, you can't camp like this in the forests. So I sure envy you folks.