TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...


User avatar
By Beve
#1368690
Ok so I haven't been on a kayak since early summer but did get to squeeze in great trip to the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. And why I posted it on this nice new camping forum. And beleive it or not it has some fish in it too.... :wink:

I made the trip while getting over some bad bronchitis so the climbs were a little harder than I expected. Wasn't quite 100% but fresh air does a body good too. My pack is more of a 5 day pack than a 3 day pack but worked really well since it was a gift years back. Its a Lowe Alpine Frontier (large for long torso i.e. me). My buddy used a nice lightweight Gregory that worked great. Its a 2006 edition but can't remember what style it is. My pack probably better suited for like a trip in Europe or something to that effect. Gonna definitely use a lighter pack next time.
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Edited pic courtesy Capt Jack...nice and cleaned up :)
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Checking out the views to the north from Guadalupe Peak.
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Guadalupe Peak, highest point in Texas at 8,749 feet. The monument was placed there before it became a national park. It was done by American Airlines and Postal Service. Honors pilots and the Butterfield Stage route. Also a little ammo box contains a register to sign.
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The view toward the northwest
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Camped out about a mile from peak. Wind advisory that night. Had gusts all night over 50mph. Sounded like sleeping at an airport. Even with a windbreak. Everything held great though. Ate light as you pack in all water...each gallon adds 8lbs...yeesh. Woke up next morning sore but refreshed. After a rapid descent we embarked to the top end of the park.

Decided to go to the Wilderness Ridge, which includes a nice reef interpretive trail for geology buffs. A lot of good Permian period history here. The rangers mentioned folks rarely use the campground on the ridge..trail often used but not much past the ridge point. What a great decision it turned out to be. Passed a geology group but once on the ridge there was nary a soul.

Neat formation at lower elevation
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The best part of this area are the primo views up high down into McKittrick Canyon....many folks miss out on this and just do the canyon day-trail.
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The ridge is about 6800 feet.
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Another nice bonus was a short hike and you are in New Mexico....Here is my buddy crossing into Lincoln National Forest where the rules are quite different...can have fires, hunt, four wheel trails, etc....
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My trusty Mountain Hardwear Meridian 2 tent. Withstood all the high winds. For sleeping I used a very lightweight bag (Dicks sells a nice 30 degree bag for $25 that only weighs 2.2lbs), a silk bag liner, and a bivy--all that packed smaller and lighter than any heavy bags I owned that weighed from 3-5lbs. Of course carried my Thermarest prolite 3 too. And a small thermarest pillow too. For warmer temps I would have just taken bivy sack and silk liner but it got down to low 50s every night not counting wind chill
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All food was light--tuna, jerky, clif bars, dried fruit, and some MREs for supper and calorie replacement.

Next morning view to canyon
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Starting to see signs of color change...another couple weeks it and it will be prime color change season for the trees
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Heading back down to McKittrick Canyon trail
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Right off the bat on the Canyon Trail run into this fellar...very cool 8)
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Beautiful madrone trees. A rain forest relic that likes to live between 4500-6500ft.
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The creek
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The Wallace Pratt cabin. A very interesting structure and story. Pretty much took care of the area and donated much of the land that is now the park.
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I would love to check this place out with snow on the ground
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Ok so I promised fish...the creek has deeper holes upstream and spotted the trout...the view from above
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Now with underwater mode. The clear water allowed for some great closeup shots of the trout
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If you go past the grotto and make way up to the notch the views get better. My new desktop wallpaper.
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Cool Madrone bark
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More color change
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"Manzanitas"
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Besides gas cost....this trip cost me five bucks to get into the park for the whole trip!! Backcountry permits are free and last two weeks. (Its a designated wilderness area). Hiked 28 miles, mostly loaded, and was sore for it. Got there on a Thursday before noon and left early Saturday afternoon. Needless to say crammed a lot in under three full days. A true gem of a place to visit. :D
Last edited by Beve on Fri Oct 23, 2009 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By Earl
#1368711
Beve, what a great report, the descriptions and pictures are nice and helpful. My oldest was just talking to be about the Guadelope mountains and said he wanted to get out there. Wait until I show him your report. It will have us both on fire to make the trip.

Hey, if you are interested in a late Dec trip down the Colorado from Little Weberville to Bastrop give me a shout.

Earl
User avatar
By Bigrock
#1368729
Most excellent report Beve! :clap: :clap: :clap: And welcome back! GMNP is my FAVORITE backpacking destination and there is so much yet to explore. Hit it hard and hit it often, you won't be sorry. Except maybe for having to carry the water thing. 3 nights in the backcountry can get to be quite a strain. :D
#1368735
Great report. :clap: I too, loved all the photos and the detailed commetary. I thought it was neat you could enter the park and then hike into New Mexico. BTW, if it was me, I wish I could explore this place with a recurve or longbow in hand. :wink:
User avatar
By Beve
#1368889
Many thanks for the kind replies fellas. I have missed posting hope to do more soon.

Earl I think you and your son would love it. as much kayak camping as ya'll do, it would be a cool change of pace for ya. Huge park with so many options with trails and things to see.

Bigrock-I hope to hit it more...it's only 3 hours from my mom's place in Midland. Probably next time do Bush Mountain trail and tejas trail, I want to see the "bowl".

Nightwing--on the New Mexico I believe you could walk around with a bow. The Lincoln Natl Forest rules quite different from natl park rules.
User avatar
By e
#1368962
Those underwater pix of the trout are INCREDIBLE!!! I had to do a double take, that water is so clear that it looks like the fish are floating in the air amongst the rocks.

Great report, we would expect nothing less from you.
User avatar
By Sand Trout
#1369240
Beve,

Outstanding report. Thanks for posting it. The underwater shots made it look as if those fish were suspended in mid-air. I really like the new Camping Forum.

I vote this as the post of the month!
#1369361
Wow! Beve, the photos are outstanding! I still think you may have photoshopped those fish pics! j/k! Your report was pretty good too!

I am not a backpacker but if I need to be in order to get a look at that creek holding those trout I will!
User avatar
By Bigrock
#1369537
Gutter Girl wrote:Wow! Beve, the photos are outstanding! I still think you may have photoshopped those fish pics! j/k! Your report was pretty good too!

I am not a backpacker but if I need to be in order to get a look at that creek holding those trout I will!


Good news!!! You don't have to be a backpacker to get to the trout. They are in McKittrick Canyon, a day use area in the park, that also provides access to the backpacking campsites of Wilderness Ridge and McKittrick Ridge. McKittrick is famous for it's color this time of year. As Beve's pics showed, it can be brilliant, and as he said, it was only about to turn on. :shock: The hike into McKittrick would be what is considered moderate, about 5 miles round trip to the Pratt Lodge and back if I remember correctly. The trout are in the upper portion of the hike. At one time the park had considered eliminating the trout as they are non-native to the area. Stocked when it was privately held (as were the elk one can hear bugling this time of year).

Gutter Girl...I'll let you in on a little secret (and the rest of you guys too :D ). Dog Canyon. Quiet campground. About 10 or so tent sites, restroom, and four or five trailer sites. It is on the northern boundry of the park on the Texas/New Mexico border. Accessed from Carlsbad NM, about 60 miles. There are easy hikes as well as moderate to strenuous from Dog as well as begining some great backpacking treks. Dog Canyon has all the color of McKittrick Canyon, but on a smaller, more intimate scale.

DON'T MISS Sitting Bull Falls in Lincoln Nat'l Forest on your way in to Dog Canyon. There is also a road in the Nat'l Forest that leads to an overlook of Dog Canyon. Spectacular!

In other words...Loads to do without being a backpacker!

Beve....sunsets on Bush Mtn have to be experienced to be believed....not just seen! :D
User avatar
By Mythman
#1370945
Brandon,
I was visiting relative in the Texas Panhandle when this was posted so I am late responding.

Great report and outstanding pics, as usual with your reports. :clap: :clap: :clap:

Looks like a great trip, but not for an old, fat man!! :wink:

Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed!
User avatar
By Beve
#1371102
Thanks Myth glad you liked them.

Deep sea dweller...did the mckittrick trail on last day. Its a day trail. Color change should be primo when you go. I would like to see the Bowl and Bush Moutain. Gonna have to be next trip.
#1387553
first of all...please excuse me guys...I know this is an old post I'm bringing up...and probably not the best thing to do in my first post on TKF :( ....but

Beve...I was hoping you could answer a few questions for me. I've done plenty of camping, but haven't done any backpacking since my Boy Scouting days (about 15 - 20 years ago)...and honestly the bug has bitten hard lately. I really want to go on a backpacking/camping trip for several days. I have seen several posts/reviews of the Guadalupe Mountains park and have really been drawn towardy that as my destination. in fact, your post is what finally made me sign up for the TKF forum :D . Having never been there before, I had a couple of first timer questions for you (if you don't mind):

1) in your post and where I've read, its stated you have to pack all your water in. Is there anywhere within the park to replenish your water supply? (like at the campsites, ranger station, visitor center or even the stream with the trout?)

2) i know that the guadualupe peak trail is tough (especially if you haven't done anything like that in a while) just because of the grade and elevation. was the rest of the trip as "strenuous"? I'd love to do the McKittrick Canyon trail. is it as rough on the legs?

3) by looking on the map, McKittrick Canyon and the gate for the Lincoln National forest is on the opposite end of the park from Guadalupe peak. Did you hike to that point, or once you got down the Guadalupe Peak, did you drive up to the McKittrick Canyon day use area and start that part of your trip?

4) would you mind detailing where you camped (as far as campsites go) each night, what trails you took, and about how long you were on the trail each day? what kind of pace are you able to accomplish with the terrain (2 miles an hour, more , less?)?

5) I know you said you crammed alot into 3 days, but do you feel like you had plenty of time to enjoy the views and stuff along the trail too or would it be better to slow it down a little?

anything else a newbie would/should know before tackling the Guadalupe mountains for the first time?
I really appreciate your post and all the beautiful pictures...I can't wait to go myself...just want to make sure I know what I'm getting into and don't make it too much to not enjoy it. thank you so much for your time...i look foward to your responses. and sorry for brining up an old thread guys...I now return you to your regularly scheduled programing.
User avatar
By Beve
#1389033
fisher_of_man wrote:first of all...please excuse me guys...I know this is an old post I'm bringing up...and probably not the best thing to do in my first post on TKF :( ....but

Beve...I was hoping you could answer a few questions for me. I've done plenty of camping, but haven't done any backpacking since my Boy Scouting days (about 15 - 20 years ago)...and honestly the bug has bitten hard lately. I really want to go on a backpacking/camping trip for several days. I have seen several posts/reviews of the Guadalupe Mountains park and have really been drawn towardy that as my destination. in fact, your post is what finally made me sign up for the TKF forum :D . Having never been there before, I had a couple of first timer questions for you (if you don't mind):

1) in your post and where I've read, its stated you have to pack all your water in. Is there anywhere within the park to replenish your water supply? (like at the campsites, ranger station, visitor center or even the stream with the trout?)

2) i know that the guadualupe peak trail is tough (especially if you haven't done anything like that in a while) just because of the grade and elevation. was the rest of the trip as "strenuous"? I'd love to do the McKittrick Canyon trail. is it as rough on the legs?

3) by looking on the map, McKittrick Canyon and the gate for the Lincoln National forest is on the opposite end of the park from Guadalupe peak. Did you hike to that point, or once you got down the Guadalupe Peak, did you drive up to the McKittrick Canyon day use area and start that part of your trip?

4) would you mind detailing where you camped (as far as campsites go) each night, what trails you took, and about how long you were on the trail each day? what kind of pace are you able to accomplish with the terrain (2 miles an hour, more , less?)?

5) I know you said you crammed alot into 3 days, but do you feel like you had plenty of time to enjoy the views and stuff along the trail too or would it be better to slow it down a little?

anything else a newbie would/should know before tackling the Guadalupe mountains for the first time?
I really appreciate your post and all the beautiful pictures...I can't wait to go myself...just want to make sure I know what I'm getting into and don't make it too much to not enjoy it. thank you so much for your time...i look foward to your responses. and sorry for brining up an old thread guys...I now return you to your regularly scheduled programing.



Hey FOM those are some great questions.
1. Yes the ranger stations do have water. The McKittrick Trailhead station has one that is easy or you could fill up in the bathrooms. We basically used the vehicle as a replenish point. One gallon of water weighs about 8# I think. So I had COLD water in the vehicle, that way it would stay cool in my camelback over the day. I also used a nalgene one liter bottle. My camel back holds 2L.

2. The McKittrick trail is super easy. The first 3 miles or so are virtually flat. And 3 miles in is where it starts to get really neat. If you go past the grotto, to the notch, the elevation gain gets a little more strenuous. That trail continues up to the McKittrick Ridge campsite and that trail is considered the hardest in the park per the ranger. It would be an all day affair to get there. But for McKittrick Day use trail, its very nice and pleasant.

The Guadalupe peak trail is a workout but doable and take breaks. It could be done in one day, up and back if you wanted to start early. The down takes half the time to get back.

We also did the permian reef trail up to wilderness ridge. Probably one section there harder than any on the Guad peak trail but overall I'd say they are about the same.

3. Yes we got a permit and drove up to the north side and that acted as a time to replenish.

4.Camped at Guadalupe Peak campsite and Wilderness Ridge campsites. One night at each. Hiked up to Guad Peak, dropped pack for last mile or so at campsite, and then came back down. Probably started around 10 that morning. Got to peak I think around 2 or 3. So about a mile an hour I guess? My buddy prob did 2 miles an hour. He had been backpacking in oregon for a month so he was always way ahead.

5. We did cram a lot into three days, especially McKittrick. Kinda blazed through that. Next time I want to do Bush mountain Trail and see the Bowl. I think it would take two weeks easily to get a glimpse of the whole place. But still was able to see quite a bit and stopped quite often.

I would pack well for weather but as effecient as possible. The heavier your pack the slower you are etc. The weather allowed for me not to have to pack super heavy winter stuff. Used a light bag and a bivy in lieu of a heavy bag. My friend has a North face flight series 20 degree and it was good he said. His pack also weighed 3lbs less than mine. Mine is older and made of heavier material. So little stuff like that does add up. Using the vehicle as a replenish point can help with water and food weight. I ate lots of tuna, an MRE, peanut butter, bars, made instant refried beans and tortillas one night. Used a light first aid kit. Was happy I took spenco 2nd skin for a blister-helped a lot. I really didn't pack a whole lot. One change clothes. Light bag, bivy, and pad. headlamp, multi tool, knife, first aid kit, raingear, food, water, tent. And a little kit with compass, lighter, sewing kit, etc.

Hope this helps!

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