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  < Back to Table Of Contents  < Back to Topic: Adventure, Discovery, Scenic & Interesting

article number 707
article date 03-08-2018
copyright 2018 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
Texas’ Guadalupe Mountains Winter/Spring Hiking Part 2, Devil’s Hall Trail
by Stu Moment
   

EDITOR’S NOTE: All photos with the SaltOfAmerica.com logo (those larger images opened by clicking the button below the photo) may be reposted without further permissions. This policy is for promotional reasons.

* * *

There is something special about a walk between mountains and this walk contains contrasting views which will put a smile on any face.

A cutout for highway US 62, near the entrance, adds to the depth of view of the mountains that we’ll explore.

   
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Coming up to the path entrance we view the towering cliffs on the east side of the path.

   
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Here is a view of the path entrance looking at the domed mountain on the west side of the path.

   
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Decision time. Besides the trails at this trail head there are many others to take in the whole park.

   

The path starts out as an easy walk although you are ascending at a good pace.

   
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As you advance you begin to enjoy walking between mountains.

   
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In late January or early February you may find some snow along the path.

   
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You get closer to the colorful mountain on your left (west).

   
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Still low, you see a variety of plant life . . . including cactuses.

   
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We get still closer to the west mountain.

   
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Our trail now follows a wash.

   
   
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The path gets rough in places but is still provides an easy walk.

   
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To our right (east) we find a unique and stunning peak.

   
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Again we show the colorful west side mountain.

   
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Further up the wash we find rocks with evidence of prehistoric life.

   
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Let us now view the signs at the visitor center which explain why the rocks contain evidence of prehistoric life. We are exploring an ancient reef.

"The Guadalupe Mountains, the world’s most extensive and exposed fossil reef, tower s like an island in the Chihuahuan Desert. The high country rises above 8,000 feet , an ecological island bearing the relict forest of another place — northern mountain highlands — and another time the Ice Age."

   

"Captain reef today. More than half of Capitan Reef is still buried by layers of sedimentary rock. The visible portions were lifted by crustal pressures, then exposed by erosion."

   

Also at the visitor center a sign explains "A Fossil Reef."

   

Here is the sign close-up . . . but pictures and text of the center and right side will follow.

" The Guadalupe Mountains trace their origin to the ancient Capitan Reef, which built up along the fringe of a shallow ocean here. The reef formed during the Permian Period 250 million years ago, before mammals and flowering plants appeared on Earth.

"The limy skeletons of algae, sponges, and other aquatic organisms were cemented together by the billions to form the reef structure. The process took millions of years. As time passed, the shallow waters dried up, and layers of sediment buried the reef. Then 10-12 million years ago, earth forces uplifted the region. Overlying sediments eroded away, exposing the limestone mountain that was once a living reef.

"Today the Capitan Reef stands before you as a classic example of a fossil reef."

   
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It appears that the area we are hiking was once under water.

"The Guadalupe Mountains evolved from the remains of an ancient reef. Imagine the setting here 250 million years ago. A shallow sea covered most land, and a submerged reef rose to just below the breaking waves. Behind the reef lay a shallow lagoon."

   

"The ancient Capitan Reef might have looked like this to a prehistoric diver. Remains of many of the reef’s plants and animals may be found today in fossilized form in the rocks of the Guadalupe Mountains."

   

Time to walk back down. The scenery seems to have a different look to it . . . perhaps due to the sun setting, or maybe things look different when viewed from the opposite direction. In any case, the scenery is excellent.

   
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We get back to the visitors center which has an exhibit worth a good hour of reading.

   

Hope you enjoyed the hike.

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