Our adventure into the Chihuahuan Desert began with a drive-by of El Capitan and Guadalupe Peak, the most distinguishable and highest points in Texas. El Capitan is the southern-most peak of the Guadalupe escarpment, an ancient limestone reef that forms the present-day Guadalupe Mountains. These mountains are an exposed portion of the Capitan Reef Barrier, a 350-mile long reef made up primarily from ocean creatures. This reef surrounded much of the Delaware Sea, an inland ocean that covered parts of this area “back in the day,” or about 290 million years ago. Eventually, the Capitan Reef became buried by silt and sand, until later seismic activity pushed it upward, exposing the reef to 80 million years of erosion that leaves us with the spectacular formation we see today.
We arrived at the Pine Tree Visitor Center, less than a mile from the old Pinery Station, a favored stop on the original 2,800-mile Butterfield Overland Mail Route. After getting our bearings, we decided to return next day to hike through McKittrick Canyon—the northernmost canyon in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
Returning to Base Camp after a trip to the grocery store, we enjoyed grilled lamb chops, roasted potatoes and Italian pole green beans, complemented by a caprese salad and a Chilean Cabernet. Not a bad first night in the desert!
Three things we learned today worth sharing:
- Walmart is truly America’s last retail melting pot, populated primarily by socially awkward, morbidly obese, utterly tasteless and overly tattooed customers.
- Just because lamb isn’t a big enough seller at Walmart to keep it in stock doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be kept in stock.
- Don’t believe everything you hear about Internet service in sparsely-populated areas. It just sucks.