Friday, June 07, 2013

Texas Master Naturalists leading Peak Fitness Challenge hikes in Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Ruins of the Butterfield Stagecoach
stop on the Pinery Trail

Sunday, June 23rd, Texas Master Naturalist volunteers from around Far West Texas are leading interpretive hikes in Guadalupe Mountains National Park as part of the Peak Fitness Challenge.  Everyone is invited to choose the hike they'd like to do that day, and participate in the Challenge!  This is something just about ANYONE can do!  While you're responsible for the usual park admission fees, the hikes themselves are FREE!

You should carry your own water, wear sunscreen and clothing (including a hat!) that will protect you from the sun and desert plants.  Choose the hike that best suits your fitness level, and have fun!

Here's the schedule for that day, and they're also listed on our Texas Mountain Trail events calendar:

8 am Pinery Trail, meet at the Pine Springs Visitors Center.  This is a short paved trail of less than a mile to the historic stagecoach stop along the Butterfield Overland Trail. This trail is rated as EASY.

The cool, shady portion
of the Smith Spring trail

10 am  Smith Spring trail, meet at the parking lot just before historic Frijole Ranch.  This 2.6 miles loop trail takes you across desert and arroyos to a natural (shaded) spring.  You also hike by Manzanita Spring and the Frijole Ranch house. This trail is rated MODERATE.

McKittrick Canyon trail

10 am McKittrick Canyon trail to Pratt Cabin   This hike will take a few hours to hike the 5 mile roundtrip trail, but has a cool payoff (a rest on the porch of Pratt Cabin) at the endpoint before heading back to your car at the trailhead. What you'll see:  maple, walnut, oak, and madrone grow alongside desert plants like cactus and agave.  All are enclosed by steep walls that formed when the creek cut through the limestone of the Capitan Reef.   Meet at the McKittrick Canyon trailhead building at 10 am. This trail is rated MODERATE.

Devil's Hall trail

10 am Devils Hall trail  This is one of the prettiest hikes in the Guadalupes and is 2.2 miles one-way.  At the farthest point you reach Devils Hall, a narrow notch in the mountain, offering shade!  Meet at trailhead next to Pine Springs campground.  This trail is rated MODERATE.

10 am Pinery Trail, repeat of the 8 am hike.

In the afternoon, Texas Master Naturalists will be at Frijole Ranch and eager to visit with all of you, and answer your questions!

If you encounter Texas Master Naturalists along the trail that day, please say hello!

How to participate in the Challenge?  Start by creating a profile at the Peak Fitness Challenge website, here. You can choose any trail in Guadalupe Mountains National Park or Franklin Mountains State Park (El Paso) to hike or even run.  

After you complete your hike, go back to the website to log your miles.  Your name (and address) is put into a file from which we choose prize winners every month!  The more you hike, the more chances you have to win prizes!

As an extra bonus, many of the hikes help us learn about our heritage.  Click HERE to read about Texas Mountain Trail Heritage Hikes!

Big, big thanks to the three chapters of Texas Master Naturalists who are volunteering their time to lead hikes on Sunday, June 23!  They come from El Paso, Midland/Odessa, and the Davis Mtns/Big Bend.  Also we send thanks to our Peak Fitness Challenge partners,, PhiDev, Inc., Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Franklin Mountains State Park! Y'all are great! 

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