Guadalupe Peak – High Above the Mesquite

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Guadalupe Peak is the highest point in Texas rising 8,754 feet. Photo by Richard F. Fleck.

Our trail ascends the way past waxy leaves

of Madrone trees with smooth and reddish

trunks and on up past some blooming cholla

in a cold March wind, and higher toward a

limestone ledge washed with desert varnish

looming above a pinon forest lending voice to

the constant gusty winds of western Texas.

Prickly pear cactus gleam like candles in the

sun while a canyon wren trills his notes from

higher branches of a ponderosa pine tree.

As we turn a corner, a gust of wind nearly

flattens me, but on we go through the snow

marked by claws of wandering mountain lions.

We enter a protected draw filled with agaves

and yuccas pointing skyward where Guadalupe

Peak rises up to some racing threads of cloud.

Our trail winds back and forth to the lea of the

wind until we stand atop the highest rock and

stare into an expansive stretch of a salt flat that

we can taste on our lips from 3000 feet below.

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