Guadalupe Mountains National Park | 44/59

If you look closely you’ll see a “bean bump” — some of our friends have named my baby bump haha. We are getting more and more excited to introduce this beautiful earth to our little babe!

We started to explore this park the way we always do, with a pit stop at the visitor’s center! The rangers always know the best park secrets and always point us in the right direction. It was incredibly windy our first day, so the awesome rangers advised us to explore Devil’s Hall Canyon trail because it would be more protected from the elements.

It’s really shadowy and hard to tell, but this tree is doing the splits and here is Cees doing his best impersonation. I was actually very impressed! I think he’s probably more flexible than I am.

These steps leading up to Devil’s Hall almost wiped this pregnant lady out!

We are trying to be healthier, so for 2017 and we have given up sweets, treats and soda (except for one treat a week, because let’s be real, no sugar forever just isn’t sustainable, especially when you’re pregnant. Sometimes you need to pull the “baby needs a cupcake card”). So, for our lunches we are now packing delicious hummus, veggies, and nuts!

This was a pretty short hike, less than four miles, but I still enjoyed the workout and the views. Who knew Guadalupe Nation Park had such fun spots?!

To be honest, the veggies and nuts didn’t last us very long. As soon as we got back to the RV after our hike I made some yummy coconut shrimp tacos for us! People probably think that road life means eating ramen and beans every day, but we manage to eat really well. Our tiny kitchen can’t stop me from making the good stuff!

That night we watched the sun dip behind the pretty Texas horizon. That tower looking formation is actually called El Captain and it was once a reef in the ocean!

The next morning we convinced ourselves to hike Guadalupe Peak – coming in at 8,751 feet it is the tallest point in Texas! The roundtrip distance is 8.4 miles. I was a little nervous because the trail description on our Bivy app says that this hike is strenuous and steep, but I thought we may as well try it! (Calling all my future mom strength powers!… mom strength is totally a real thing.)

Look at the cool fusulinids Cees found on the trail! (They are the rice looking things on the rock) Actually, there were lots of fossils along this trail because we were walking on an ancient reef.

This is all part of the limestone reef. How cool!

We had to take lots of breaks for me to catch my breath, but we were totally determined to make it to the top.

We did it and here’s the proof!

We signed the 2017 register — Cees, Madison & “The Bean”. Our baby has been on so many adventures and he/she is still negative 3 months old at this point!

I feel like I should be worried, because once we got to the top of this high point and enjoyed the feelings of triumph, Cees suggested that we start doing every high point in ALL 50 states! I’m all for doing ones like the Florida high point, which is only a couple hundred feet, but I’m not convinced about Denali yet.

It always amazes me where our feet can take us.

On the way down, we were getting a little tired and hungry. We passed this guy who is a 45-year old fire fighter who kept yelling, “if an old, fat guy like me can do this hike, anyone can!” He told us that we should write a story about him, so here we are…

It’s funny the ways that others can encourage us on this journey called life.

Cees told me that if I could throw a stone and knock off that rock teetering on the edge, that he would buy me a Jimmy Johns sandwich. (Those who know me best, know that the quick way to my heart is with a #12 Beach Club) Cees thinks they are disgusting, but I think they are divine. Needless to say, I didn’t get my Jimmy’s that day.

Because so many people have asked…

Day hiking essentials for humans and kitties:

@mountainsmith Scream 25 L pack (sweet waist and chest straps for support)
@hydroflask 32 oz water bottle (keeps the bev either super cold or super hot depending on what you put in it)
@ucogear headlight (we ❤️ it because it’s super lightweight and compact)

@clifbar human snacks (Kit’s Organic are our faves fo sho… made with fruits and nuts)
@gopro Hero 4 (for those selfies, since we have stubby arms)
@bivyapp (to find, track and share all our adventures)
@survivalstraps (you never know when you’re gonna need some string)

* Homemade first aid kit (we learned our lesson the hard way that time when Cees hatcheted his ankle and we had nothing)
@proplancat (kitty “crunchies” for the trail)

@ventev_mobile (best backup phone battery charger)
@chacofootwearNational Park edition sandals (because we’re a little obsessed with the parks) * Come with Me Kitty harness (size small) + Chaco pet leash
#VladimirKitten (don’t forget the adventure cat)


We found a mini trail for pets and took Vladimir out to stretch his legs. It was just a random trail right by the visitor center that said pets are allowed, so we went for it.

Because we decided this walk was dedicated to Vladimir, we let him lead us 100%. Kitty-lead hikes always take 100x longer because we have to stop and sniff every plant or rock, climb every tree, and watch every bird. But, he’s so happy and cute, so it’s worth it to please the little stinker.

We all had so much fun exploring this park and seeing a different side of Texas. A lot of people may not even know that Guadalupe Mountains National Park exists! This is a great area and conveniently, Carlsbad Caverns are right next door. Stay tuned for that park coming up next!


  1. dawn from camano island

    What a gorgeous place–thank you for introducing us to Guadalupe Mountains NP! Congratulations, Madison, on reaching the summit–well done! Kitty-led walk–Vlad looks very happy! Ari, our dog, takes us for a walk sometimes too,

    I really liked the photo & list of things you take on hikes–very helpful. I’m curious if you’ve ever thought about signing up for the Amazon affiliate program? One of the bloggers I follow, RVSue, partially supports herself in this way.

    Safe, happy travels. You’re getting close to #59!

    • Cees

      One of my goals as we wait for the baby to show up in California is to get our affiliate links rolling. We have few and have generated a little bit of income – but nothing too crazy. Hopefully we will be able to ramp things up when we have more time to work on the website! Thanks for the tip!

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