We made it to the highest peak in Texas, y'all! Our Guadalupe Mountains National Park adventure.
If you take anything away from this post, get this: if you have the chance to hike the Guadalupe Peak, the highest peak in Texas, DO IT!
Last weekend Jacob and I had made plans to hike the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, which houses about 80 miles worth of trails. We knew we wanted to hike the trail that leads to the highest peak in Texas, (Guadalupe Peak Trail) but weren't really sure what we were getting ourselves into. I read a few reviews on Yelp and what not before we went, and I'd say we were pretty prepared.
The hike was one of the most incredible, challenging, rewarding things that Jacob and I have EVER done. It was amazing. There are so many times throughout the hike that you're going to think, "we're almost there," but you're probably not. I would totally suggest doing this hike with another person. If one of us started feeling tired, the other was right there to pep the other person up! It's very scenic the entire hike and there are so many incredible views on the way up! There were a lot of "take a breather" quick stops that we took along the way, but enjoyed a lovely view at each stop.
The trail has a has a rocky, steep terrain and is 8.4 miles roundtrip. This takes a lot longer and is a lot higher than walking a 0% incline 8.4. It took us 2 hours and 38 minutes to get to the top, we stayed up there for an hour enjoying the breathtaking view and our picnic. It took us about 2 hours to get to the bottom. I can't believe I am already saying this but I think I'm ready to do it again! The feeling of accomplishment is something you'll have to experience for yourself.
When we started at the trail head it was on the sunny side of the mountain, by about twenty minutes in we were shedding layers. I started with five layers, Jacob with two. If you go during a winter month and you're like me and get cold extremely easy, I would suggest layering up. When you start the hike you won't think that you need them, but when you get to the back side of the mountain and you're hiking through snow, you're going to want to bundle up. I wore an ear warmer headband most of the time. It can get very windy on the mountain, so can really cool off anytime of year.
Make sure you get a hearty breakfast in and pack your picnic before you head to the park. We packed a good amount of food for us two: 2 Subway sandwiches, 4 Nature's Valley granola bars, a baggie of pretzels, a baggie of Teddy Grahams, a bag of Wonderful pistachios, 3 oranges, 2 apples (to be exact) & a baggie of chocolate chip cookies (because you can never forget dessert!). I would recommend this much food for two people, we stopped for a snack three times on the way up and ate the rest during our picnic on top of Texas. Don't forget extra plastic bags for your trash. Also, we came to the conclusion that pistachios are great hiking snacks because you can just put a handful of them in your pocket and they won't get nasty since they have a shell, and you can conveniently eat them on your hike. They're also super delicious.
We had a one gallon CamelBak full of water and it was completely gone by the time we finished our round trip hike. I would suggest that much for two people during the winter months and probably a gallon of water per person during summer months.
The one thing we wish we would have done... WORN HIKING BOOTS! Again, the terrain is steep and rocky. On the way up it wasn't too bad without ankle protection, but on the way down the ankles have to do so much work from keeping you under control and are constantly being dug into the ground that hiking boots are a MUST! We thought our ankles were going to give out by the end. Although, I was surprised at the amount of people wearing regular tennis shoes like us. Do it at your own risk.
It was really windy at the top but there is a little cove that is perfect for a picnic. Find it and enjoy your time at the top. You hiked all that way, don't rush, enjoy every moment. Sign the book & take a picture when you get to the top! The height on the box at the top says 8,751 feet, so I go by that. Some sources say 8,749 feet, but let's not get technical. WE DID IT! YOU SHOULD TOO!!! Conquer Texas, AH!
So to sum it up...
TOP THREE TIPS:
1. HAVE A PICNIC AT THE TOP!! SO NEAT.
2. PACK LOTS OF SNACKS & WATER!
3. WEAR HIKING BOOTS!!!!!
I'd love to answer any questions before you hit the trail. HAPPY HIKING!!!