I began my hike just as the sun was beginning to rise; smeared against the cotton candy colored sky were baby pink clouds. Two very important things I have come to understand while hiking would be these:
1. Start your hikes early.
I trekked the winding series of switchbacks and long expanses of gradual inclines. Throughout the entire hike were the most breathtaking views of Hunter Peak, directly adjacent to the Guadalupe Peak trail, and the deep blue rolling mountains and plateaus of the desert landscape. I’ve grown to be observant, or at least trying to be mindful, of my surroundings at all times. It’s natural to glue your eyes to the grown and watch your every step, but then you often miss nature’s hidden beauties. You would think the top of the peak would be the highlight of the hike, but more often than not it’s the journey to the top that gets me. The little plants and wildlife that often go unnoticed as hikers race to the top are what make me stop in admiration.
I reached the top of the peak only to experience the most extreme winds I have ever found myself in. I had checked the weather prior to beginning the hike and saw the winds were to be 30mph…but that was not the case. The only other hiker on the peak informed me the winds were in fact 50mph. I had to scoot myself across the top for every time I stood, I was blown every which way. I sat and took in the views expanding far and wide; it’s these very views that make me appreciate Texas beauty a little more. After I’d had my fill, I snapped my picture with the Guadalupe Peak Monument and made my way back down.
I can’t describe the feeling of accomplishment that swelled within me as I continued along my descent. Despite having done longer hikes, as well as those in higher elevations, the feeling is all the same. The effort and time that I put into each and every hike manifest the same feelings of gratefulness for where I am, reflections of my past, and hopefulness for my future. No matter the type of mountains or the location, the feelings they instill in me do not go unnoticed and I will continue to chase them for as long as my body allows.