Guadalupe Peak, at some 8,751 ft, is the highest point in Texas. Just a few miles from the Central Time Zone, it's the most prominent peak in an escarpment that runs north-south from New Mexico to Texas (the Guadalupe Mountains). When you're at the peak, make sure to look at your feet and notice the seashells and fossils that the escarpment has thrust up from a prehistoric ocean floor.
Perhaps only 30–40% of this hike has cover (trees), so please be prepared for heat and any surprise thunderstorms.
Once you've conquered the highest point in Texas, consider conquering the highest point in New Mexico, Wheeler Peak (http://www.meetup.com/las-cruces-hiking/events/124146522/), and then Mount Elbert, the highest point in Colorado (http://www.meetup.com/las-cruces-hiking/events/128764302/) a few days later.
If you are a guest of the United States (i.e. non-citizen), there is a US Customs & Border Patrol checkpoint demarcating passage to/from what the ACLU calls a "Constitution-Free Zone" (http://www.aclu.org/national-security_technology-and-liberty/are-you-living-constitution-free-zone). If this bothers you, donating to the ACLU (https://www.aclu.org/donate/join-renew-give) and harassing your congress critter (http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml)s; otherwise please bring appropriate documentation of your entry into the US (passports, visas, etc—you know better what you need than we do). Group hikes are not the place to make a stand for your civil liberties.
We'll be leaving the trailhead at 8 am.
DISTANCE is 8.4 mi, out and back.
ELEVATION GAIN is ~3000 ft gained.
FEES: $5/person, paid at the trail head. You can also use your federal parks pass (bring your holder). Of course, if you carpool, please compensate your driver for gas!
DURATION: Finish by mid to late afternoon.
PET FRIENDLY? No. Horses are OK, but otherwise dogs, etc are not permitted on any of the trails.
SKILL LEVEL is *NOT* beginner friendly. No whiners!
TERRAIN starts off in high desert, walks up through high mountain forest, and ends up on exposed ridgeline and mountain side. I think there are some 38 switchbacks.
WEATHER may include thunderstorms. It is extremely windy once you're hiking the ridgeline and as you summit Guadalupe Peak. Bring a pancho, just in case, and be careful. You can ask about the weather at the visitor's center. It will be very hot on the way back, please bring lots of water.
AFTERWARDS people will probably go home; Guadalupe Peak is at least 30+ mi from restaurants/etc. We may stop in El Paso on the way back for dinner. Please bring appropriate lunch and supper.
MEET for carpool at:
Las Cruces: 5:00 am, east of NMSU's Pan Am Center. GPS:[masked]°N,[masked]°W (http://www.meetup.com/las-cruces-hiking/events/129910752/geo:32.285463,-106.740997) (see on Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/?q=32.285463,-106.740997&z=18), OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=32.285463&mlon=-106.740997&zoom=18), USGS topo map (http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=32.285463,-106.740997&marker0=32.285463,-106.740997&z=18)) El Paso Far East side: 6:00 am, Lowe's Home Improvement at Montana and Loop 375, northwest corner of the parking lot near Peter Piper's Pizza. Please do NOT confuse this for the Lowe's store at Loop 375/Transmountain and US 54! GPS:[masked]°N,[masked]°W (http://www.meetup.com/las-cruces-hiking/events/129910752/geo:31.80583,-106.26604) (see on Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/?q=31.80583,-106.26604&z=18), OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=31.80583&mlon=-106.26604&zoom=18), USGS topo map (http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=31.80583,-106.26604&marker0=31.80583,-106.26604&z=18)) Pine Springs trail head at Guadalupe Mountains National Park: 7:45 am. GPS:[masked]°N,[masked]°W (http://www.meetup.com/las-cruces-hiking/events/129910752/geo:31.8967,-104.82811) (see on Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/?q=31.8967,-104.82811&z=18), OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=31.8967&mlon=-104.82811&zoom=18), USGS topo map (http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=31.8967,-104.82811&marker0=31.8967,-104.82811&z=18)) MORE information:
GPS track (http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=irudofvbeypnhoyj) Guadalupe Mountains National Park Website (http://www.nps.gov/gumo/index.htm)