Greetings from Guadalupe Mountains National Park

We hit the Guadalupe Mountain Trail early on a March morning after driving eighty miles east of El Paso, Texas through a great salt flat as white as snow. We soon met a Bavarian girl on the trail when we all stopped to put on heavy sweaters in a fiercely cold wind. She raced on ahead of us while we plodded along the windy trail to notice fresh mountain lion tracks. Not to worry,said my hiking partner, John Sullivan, because we both had stout hiking sticks. Higher up, we delighted in seeing large gray-green agave plants and Spanish bayonets. We continued our climb into a strong wind and immediately tasted salt on our lips blown from the salt flats some 5,000 feet below. At last we reached the summit to chat with the Bavarian girl. She said she wanted to see some of America’s rugged terrain. I asked her what she liked most about America and she, to my delight, said American literature, especially Native American literature, She asked which authors should she read? I said most certainly N. Scott Momaday among others. What themes should she look for, she questioned. In the howling wind I shouted relations with the land! The salt on our lips way up in the Guadalupe Mountains surely brought home the point.

Sincerely,
Richard F. Fleck

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

This wilderness area preserves the largest exposed fossil reef on Earth, showcasing remnants from an underwater world that existed 260 million years ago when this part of West Texas was covered by the sea. Visitors can explore the park’s striking mountains or hike a stream bed through the winding limestone walls of McKittrick Canyon, where deciduous trees and other vegetation stand in vibrant contrast with the surrounding desert.

State(s): Texas

Established: 1972

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