A Not-So-Desert Hike

Part of traveling in the Southwest means deserts – lots of ’em. I was expecting a typical desert hike when I set out on the Devil’s Hall trail at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. I was pleasantly surprised when I ended up scrambling through a shaded wash littered by large limestone boulders, the evidence of the mountain range’s continuous erosion.

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A beam of sunlight marks the way

A desert striped whipsnake startled me when I stopped to snap some pictures. True to it’s name, the reptile slinked away, whipping it’s body in a twerking-like motion. Lizards were  a dime a dozen, some looking washed out as a result of sunbathing, and others bearing bright blue throats that pulsed rhythmically.

About 2 miles into my hike I reached the famed Hiker’s staircase. It appeared man-made, but due to my conversation with a ranger pre-trip, I knew it was actually the result of complex geological processes.

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Standing smack-dab in the middle of Devil’s Hall

The Devil’s Hall was even more mind-boggling. A narrow corridor perfect for human passage, this ravine was surrounded by huge walls of thin-layered rock. No matter how many outdoor places I visit and no matter how many parks I check off my list, I’m continuously amazed. There is so much diversity and ingenuity in our natural world.

I rested in the shade of the Hall, enjoying the cool, dry breeze filtering through the shrubbery.

I concluded that the desert is full of surprises.

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