Since we were so close after touring Carlsbad Caverns and we had our VOLUNTEER PARK PASS to use, we couldn’t resist the rich riparian oasis in the midst of the Chihuahuan Desert that is McKittrick Canyon.
It has been called the "most beautiful spot in Texas" and we do not disagree. The Chihuahuan Desert receives more rainfall than others and greenery thrives here. We chose to take a day to hike the 5 mile round trip McKittrick Canyon trail to the Pratt Cabin in order to take in one of the most unique aspects of this environment.
It is not often you get to see such a thing while hiking through the desert and we were not disappointed by the display.
It was amazing. We were in the desert but it felt like we were hiking back east.
Although we planned the hike to view the fall colors, the desert itself did not disappoint and there was no shortage of critters and desert ‘foliage’.
The Texas Madrone is a rainforest relict tree. It grows to about 30 feet and has a gnarled trunk with reddish bark that peels with age.
Although our goal was to see fall colors in this area, it reportedly produces quite a brilliant display of spring wildflower blooms, as well.
How tall is it?
Not a bad little homestead three miles into the Canyon. Wallace Pratt was yet another visionary who recognized the importance of preserving such areas. When he was unable to personally utilize his vacation cabin anymore he donated it and his 5,632 acres, which included McKittrick Canyon, to the National Park Service thus forming the core of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
What an beautiful day of hiking in the desert. When we were through we took a drive along the Guadalupe Mountains and were surprised to be greeted by yet another rare and unexpected vision on the other side.
Well, we have had a wonderful time meandering about this last month. Alas, it is time for us to make tracks (translated, travel more than 30 miles at a time). We don’t want to be late for our very important date of Dec 1. More on that later.