Cross-post with the Guadalupe Mountains Meetup (http://www.meetup.com/Guadalupe-Mountains-National-Park-Meetup-Group/events/73774722/) (since there is park staff coming, please RSVP there as well. It's important for our parks to keep track of engagement).
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 (http://www.meetup.com/hiking-261/events/73963632/), Wheeler Peak, on our hike 2 weeks later (http://www.meetup.com/hiking-261/events/73963632/).
You'll be meeting an interpretive ranger at the park at 7:45 am, so it is important to not run late.
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). If you do not have a federal parks pass, you can obtain one at the Pine Springs Visitor Center or at http://store.usgs.gov/pass/military.html/ . 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. Please bring appropriate lunch and supper.
MEET for carpool at:
Las Cruces: 5:00 am, east of NMSU's Pan Am Center. See map (OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=32.285463&mlon=-106.740997&zoom=18&layers=M) or Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=32.285463,-106.740997&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=57.772232,39.726562&ie=UTF8&t=h&z=16)). 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! See map (OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=31.80583&mlon=-106.26604&zoom=16&layers=M) or Google Maps (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=31.80583,-106.26604&hl=en&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=58.555544,49.394531&t=h&z=16)). Pine Springs trail head at Guadalupe Mountains National Park: 7:45 am. See map (OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=31.8967&mlon=-104.82811&zoom=16&layers=M) or Google Maps). MORE information:
GPS track (http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=irudofvbeypnhoyj) Guadalupe Mountains National Park Website (http://www.nps.gov/gumo/index.htm)