Friday, May 31, 2013

Afraid of the Summer Heat?

Yesterday, we headed to Guadalupe Mountains National Park to log some more miles in the Peak Fitness Challenge, our free hiking program organized by the Texas Mountain Trail and lots of partners and volunteers.  Sure, it was HOT when we started out about 10:30 in the morning, but we knew that the Smith Spring trail offered something very special for summer hikers.

**Stay tuned, because right here late next week we'll announce some special guided hikes in the park, including the Smith Spring trail, for Sunday, June 23.  Details to come!** 
Agave blooming in the desert
At the middle of this 2.6 mile hike, there's a natural spring which means water and shade trees, and hummingbirds and dragonflies, all of which we saw yesterday.  The spring is the desert's best kept secret as it is "hidden" between two peaks, into the fold of the mountains atop a dry arroyo.  We spent almost an hour in the cool, dark spring area before we headed out into the sun, fully refreshed.

Getting there is a gradual climb of 400 or so feet....there's no "climbing" or scrambling over boulders, just a gentle rise on a dirt or rocky path.  This is rated as a moderate hike, but many beginning hikers may be ready to tackle it. 

Not only do you get to visit this cool, green, shaded oasis, but the trail also takes you by Manzanita Spring, a pond, and a frequent stop for birds and wildlife.  The trail begins and ends at the historic Frijole Ranch house, now a small museum showing early life in the Guadalupe Mountains. That's why this trail is designated as a "Texas Mountain Trail Heritage Hike."

More photos from the trail from yesterday! 
Closeup of the agave blooms

Pools of water from Smith Spring
Outdoor Tip!

Our friends at Clif MOJO sent us some bars to sample along with some "Adventure Tips for the Great Outdoors!"  

Here's one they offer:  "Packing snacks is a no brainer.  It's better to err on the side of having too much versus too little.  Consider factors such as weight, bulk, nutritional value and taste.  Try packing a few Clif Mojo Sweet and Salty Trail Mix Bars to cover your snacking needs, and plenty of water to stay hydrated during your day outdoors."