Day 3 

Sunrise from Guadalupe Peak campground.

Sunrise from Guadalupe Peak campground.

Temperatures were chilly overnight…the water is frozen! (This does not bode well for hiking down that snowy trail.)

Temperatures were chilly overnight…the water is frozen! (This does not bode well for hiking down that snowy trail.) 

Thankfully the backlighting obscures my just-got-up look.

Thankfully the backlighting obscures my just-got-up-from-a-tent look.

Hiking down from the campground was a little treacherous on the icy snow, but we made it with no incidents. We took a long break at the Pine Springs campground before continuing what we thought was going to be a very tough hike. We had planned on going back up the other side on a different trail than the one we came down, a very steep trail, but we were disappointed to see a sign at the trail head stating that the Bear Canyon Trail was closed due to flooding. We then had to just retrace our steps from the previous day (plus some).

Headed back up the Tejas Trail.

Headed back up the Tejas Trail.

Since we had to detour to a shorter and easier route, we took a long break in the shade offered by this small pine tree on the side with a view.

Since we had to detour to a shorter and easier route, we took a long break in the shade offered by this small pine tree on the side with a view. If you look closely you can see the trail we’re on, and the trail going towards the peak on the other mountain range.

Orange and black feather we found on the ground. I’d love to know what bird it came from; it is really beautiful.

Orange and black feather we found on the ground. I’d love to know what bird it came from; it is really beautiful.

Even with two hours of breaks, we arrived at our campground by 4:00 pm. This night we stayed at Tejas Campground, which was in the snow-covered conifer forest. It was a lovely site, and the blanket of snow on the ground really made it feel like winter in a way that I hadn’t felt in the past month in Texas and Carlsbad. Two tent sites were dry, and several more were available but coated in snow, but once again we had the whole campground to ourselves.

I am standing in our Tejas Campground tent site.

I am standing in our Tejas Campground tent site. 

Day 4 

Another cold night left the ground frozen solid in the morning. We had our breakfast and set out on the short hike back to the van.

Crazy spiral shapes in the rock; we think these must be fossils from the time when this land was under the Permian Sea.

Crazy spiral shapes in the rock; we think these must be fossils from the time when this land was under the Permian Sea.

Our last view of the day before descending back into Dog Canyon.

Our last view of the day before descending back into Dog Canyon. 

In three days of hiking north of Pine Springs, we only saw two other people on this side of the park, who only hiked up to Pine Top because Guadalupe Peak campground was full. We had two really beautiful campgrounds to ourselves, on Friday and Sunday of a holiday weekend. Everyone else just wanted to go to the highest peak. Between our experience here and on Mt. Washington, I think I will start seeking out the second highest peaks; the views are just as amazing and the climb offers more solitude than the highest peaks that draw the crowds.

Dog Canyon

After we finished our Guadalupe Mountains National Park backpacking trip, we stuck around in the Dog Canyon Campground for two additional nights. I fell in love with this park in this time, in particular the Dog Canyon side. We almost had the place entirely to ourselves, though a neighbor did pull in late our first evening. The RV sites are close together, but it seems unlikely that there will be enough RVs there for that to be an issue. Ranger Holly, who issued us our backpacking permit and helped us with other information, was shocked when I informed her that we had neighbors – they get so few visitors that she was sure we’d have the place to ourselves. It is a beautiful and serene campground for a very low price ($8/night). After sunset when I would visit the shining clean restrooms, the campground was so dark and the stars so numerous that I would navigate by starlight. In the daytime I took advantage of the lovely hiking trails, and John and I both exploited the fast and free wifi.

Our van in Dog Canyon, named for the prairie dogs that inhabited it when it was discovered. There was no mention of what happened to the namesake creatures.

Our van in Dog Canyon, named for the prairie dogs that inhabited it when it was discovered. There was no explanation of what happened to the namesake creatures.

5 Thoughts on “Guadalupe Mountains National Park Part 3: Back to Dog Canyon

  1. I like the message: Sometimes, second best is better than best. Valuable lesson. Thanks for sharing. Of course, I liked the pictures and words, too.

  2. Oh my goodness camping in snowy areas! I am a cozy cat for warmth. I can’t even imagine that. And here I thought you would be avoiding any snow. As you may or may not know we’ve had to snow/ice storms here. Temperatures in the 20s. It was like living back in Wisconsin. I’m a little behind on reading your recent post so forgive me. I will go onto the rest now.

  3. shay on July 4, 2014 at 4:09 pm said:

    hey there 🙂 we found the same feather in a backyard in Albuquerque. did you ever find out what kind of bird it came from? Thanks!

    • Heidi on July 23, 2014 at 11:24 am said:

      Hi! I apologize for the slow reply (I actually replied before but my internet must have failed). We did not find out what kind of bird the feather came from…it would be nice to know, I bet the bird is beautiful!

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