Part 2 of our travels through Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe area:
We moved to the Pine Springs Campground in Guadalupe National Park after our long day in Carlsbad Caverns. This was not by choice (that’s another story!) but it ended up being extremely convenient and an okay place to spend a couple of nights in Guadalupe NP. There were high wind advisories for the area which is common here and we debated whether we should stay another night or move on. In the end, we decided it was better to hang out here for another night rather than risk traveling and fighting high winds on the road. Our decision proved wise as we did not experience winds as high as predicted and we enjoyed a really nice hike that day.
The RV section of the campground is really just a big parking lot with long pull-through spaces. There are some limited back-in spaces along the perimeter of the lot for smaller trailers and camper vans. While not very private, the space we pulled in to was level and we could just stay hooked up to the truck. There are several hiking trails that originate from the campground so we did not have to drive anywhere.
Our first priority in the morning was to walk the short trail to the visitor center and get some hiking information (and my passbook stamp and NP patch!). We settled on a nice 4.5-mile round-trip hike to Devil’s Hall which descends into Pine Springs Canyon rather than try a “summit” hike. This was due mainly to the high winds. Again, we made the right choice as the canyon was somewhat sheltered and it was a peaceful, warm and windless hike!!
Guadalupe NP is similar to Carlsbad Caverns in its geologic history – both having been formed as a result of the inland sea that existed here millions of years ago. It is one of the most important examples of a marine fossil reef in the world. The history of the area is rich with evidence of Native American habitation from the Nde (Mescalero Apache), and subsequent populations of pioneers, explorers, ranchers and, eventually, conservationists. Unfortunately, when the Nde were faced with the growing population of foreigners invading the region, they did not welcome them and there was a period of intense conflict with the U.S. Army. The Nde tribes were eventually driven from the area. The transcontinental Butterfield Stage mail route traveled through this area as well. We have seen evidence of this stagecoach route throughout the west including our visit to Fort Bowie several years ago. There is a colorful history connected to this mail route that would be fun to explore more in depth!
Devil’s Hall Hike
This hike travels back into the Pine Springs Canyon to a couple of interesting geologic formations – Hiker’s Staircase and Devil’s Hall. The “staircase” is carved out of a rock formation and is the entrance through two large rock outgrowths that signal the entrance to Devil’s Hall. It really does look like something out of Lord of the Rings! Very impressive!
It was a moderate hike with beautiful scenery along the way. We even saw a deer along the trail as well as much more of that danged Ringtail scat – but the Ringtail was elusive!
ONWARD to QUARTZSITE AND VISITING WITH FAMILY!!