Although my thawing grumpster self was happy to leave behind the tundra of Saguaro Park, I couldn’t help but think it would be lovely to return with the cactus in bloom and no risk of rogue snowstorms.
New Mexico is calling and I’m en route through El Paso (dirty, uninspired place with a literal wall!) to the Land of Enchantment.
Armed with a fancy new camera, dry feet, and an improved attitude, I head East from Tucson back toward the wide rose-color deserts of New Mexico.
Last Chance Canyon
In another ill-advised feat of athleticism, I find my way to Last Chance Canyon via Mountain Project — a website I have little to no business reading. It’s a platform for back-country location scouting used by serious rock climbers. Not exactly me!
Washed-out roads, herds of cattle and car-sized potholes are no match for my little Audi!
Just kidding, we almost die. But we make it*!
*halfway down the approach road and have to walk the rest of the way.
The canyon is a series of lonely overhangs and I immediately realize that I couldn’t get a foot off the ground if I tried, so a climb turns quickly into a hike throughout the narrow valley. Without a person in sight all day it has me thinking about what it would have been like to be an Apache or a pioneer years ago.
Caverns are overrated
I’ve spent more time underwater than underground in my life. It turns out that my love of being underwater chasing schools of critters and trying my hand at spear hunting lionfish doesn’t translate to caverns — even if we’re talking the most badass one in the americas.
Carlsbad Caverns is a series of tunnels underground that’s something ridiculous like a mile deep. I’m not a miner, so why I paid to get an elevator straight down to explore some dank cave with a thousand obnoxious kids is beyond me. Anyhow, I checked it off the ‘National Park hitlist’, had a shower because I smelled like guano, and won’t look back (or down, as the case may be) again. Kudos to the adventurers who discovered what’s down there so I don’t have to.
Lowest lows, highest highs!
Next door to the cavern (that will hereafter have no name), is the highest point of Texas called Guadalupe Peak. It’s 2,667m straight up and is a prominent feature of the state’s northern landscape.
After a four-hour early morning push, a series of intimidating switchbacks and a few choice curse words that start with S and F, I arrive at the summit!
… which is totally clouded over.
Unlike the cavern, I decide I’ll have to return to Guadalupe in the future to experience the view, which I imagine is spectacular.
On the road again
Last road trip stop is Big Bend, but first the ghost town of Terlingua!
BRB just doing some stuff k?