Guadalupe Mountains National Park – Day 2

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/10, 1/100 sec, ISO640
“Trailhead” Salt Flat, 2021

Today was the day of the big hike up to the top of Texas. At 8,751 feet (2,667 m), Guadalupe Peak is the highest point in the state, and a popular destination for hiker’s hoping to cross off an item on their bucket list.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/18, 1/480 sec, ISO640
“Mountain Cloud” Salt Flat, 2021

We started on the trail first thing in the morning and reached the peak after about 4.5 hours of leisurely hiking, with plenty of stops for picture-taking and video. It was really nice to take in the incredible views. And the views from the top were stunning. Once again, we were fortunate to have perfect weather, with cool temperatures, light winds, plenty of visibility, and wispy clouds. It was awesome!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 46.3mm, f/22, 1/60 sec, ISO640
“Desert Plant” Salt Flat, 2021

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/18, 1/280 sec, ISO640
“Meadow” Salt Flat, 2021

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/6.4, 1/1250 sec, ISO640
“Bridge” Salt Flat, 2021

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/8, 1/2500 sec, ISO640
“Monument” Salt Flat, 2021

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 19.6mm, f/18, 1/1400 sec, ISO640
“Bright Sun” Salt Flat, 2021

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 21mm, f/1, 1/200 sec, ISO640
“Cloud” Salt Flat, 2021

After we finished the hike, we enjoyed another nice meal at camp, but unfortunately, the clouds rolled in and the stars weren’t as clearly visible as the previous night. That was fine because we were pretty tired from the hike and climbing into our tents early was just fine. 😀

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/18, 1/100 sec, ISO1600
“Camp Car” Salt Flat, 2021

Here are the Strava tracks in case you are interested!

Cloud Snapshot

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/3.6, 1/900 sec, ISO640
“Twilight Cloud” Cedar Park, 2021

Guadalupe Mountains National Park – Day 1

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 21mm, f/1, 25 sec, ISO3200
“Nightlife” Salt Flat, 2021

Today my friend and I drove out to Guadalupe Mountains National Park to begin a long weekend of camping and hiking. It was the first time to the park for both of us so we were excited to explore the new park, and the ~8-hour journey seemed to go by quickly.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 20.5mm, f/7.1, 1/1500 sec, ISO640
“Park Sign” Salt Flat, 2021

We reserved a campsite at the Pine Springs Campground online and when we arrived we immediately set up our tents and got the site in order with our camp kitchen, lanterns, and food. The sun goes down quickly these days! By the way, I highly recommend site #18. It’s set back a ways from the road and has some nice views of the mountains and is great for watching the sunrise.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/4.5, 1/220 sec, ISO640
“Campsite 18” Salt Flat, 2021

For dinner we splurged with some Japanese Miyazaki steaks which were amazing on the grill, and cold beer and refreshing whiskey sodas made for some tasty beverages!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/2.8, 1/90 sec, ISO3200
“Steak Dinner” Salt Flat, 2021

After cleaning up, we set up our tripods and camera gear to capture the amazing night skies. We got lucky with the weather as the skies were clear and our timing was nice because of the new moon and as a bonus, the Geminid Meteor Shower was just beginning. The coolest thing I saw was a line of light moving across the sky. While it was dark on the ground, a plane’s contrail up at 30,000 feet was lit up, but disappeared only a short distance behind it. The effect looked like a train moving across the sky, or even like a white dragon. One of the neatest things I have ever seen! I don’t have video of it, but in the photo below, just imagine that line moving slowly across the sky from left to right, with the line not changing size. Incredible!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 21mm, f/1, 20 sec, ISO3200
“Dragon’s Flight” Salt Flat, 2021

Tomorrow we have a long hike to Guadalupe Peak, which is the highest peak in Texas… it’s going to be fun!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 21mm, f/1, 25 sec, ISO3200
“Star Trails” Salt Flat, 2021

Christmas Tree Kitty

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/6.4, 1/2 sec, ISO800
“Christmas Tree Kitty” Cedar Park, 2021

Anko found a cozy place under the tree. I guess she likes the new tree skirt!

Contrail Shadow

“Contrail Shadow” Cedar Park, 2021

While out on my run, I saw a plane pass underneath the sun, and it’s contrail created a shadow that looks like it cut through the underlying clouds. Also, a bird ended up in the photo. 😀