Guadalupe Peak Trail (Part 1)

Trip Start Jul 24, 2010
Trip End Oct 19, 2010

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Where I stayed
The Ship

Flag of United States  , Texas
Wednesday, September 22, 2010

So hard to get up at 6.15 after a week of relaxation, spent a while at the maintenance yard while we found out what we'd be working on this week. We were to start by finishing off the end of last weeks brushing but starting from the bottom of the canyon which required a 3 mile hike but carrying only loppers. On the way stopped off to see Pratt cabin which is a historic building that was used by the guy who first started working on the trails and identifying species of plants and animals. It was currently having its roof restored piece by piece by builders, saw some hikers also visiting it so Jon took a photo for them. After lunch at the grotto which was the trail-head, we decided to spread out on the route so as to get it done quicker. Me Jon and Jarco went to the very top which took a good 20 minutes to walk to uphill, once there though due to it being a cloudy day we felt like we were on a floating rock as you could only see 20 meters either way. Started to rain so rushed back to get our rain gear, while sheltering I slipped on a rock and whacked my head on a rock, luckily was wearing my helmet so just a bit dazed, following that I came within inches of a rattlesnake as I went to put my back on a rock, saw the small snake right by my legs then quickly retreated. Went back to finish off after a short rest and bit of food. Must have been only 2pm when we had the whole job finished so we all walked back down and to the van happy that it was only a short 1st day back on the job. Back at the ship by 3, so Steve decided to take some people to get the rest of the weeks shopping as yesterday only got a bit, it was a 3 hour round trip so me Carly and Jon opted to stay at the ship and help cook dinner for when they were back. Was the much better option as we had the ship to ourselves, put on some music on my laptop and just chilled in the comfy chairs, so comfy that Jon fell asleep within a few minutes. We were all relaxed when the other crew got back at 4.30 and quickly complained about Steve going shopping without them as they had only a bit of food for that night. Cooked chicken curry with rice and cleared up the mess from the burgers the previous night, good meal shame that there was tension with the other group, by late evening only members from our group were left at the ship.

Next day was much clearer so left clothes out to dry, we also had to clean up in the ship as some researchers were moving in the next day. Started on the Guadalupe trail today which was the main trail at the park which was pretty exciting, might actually see other people on the trails plus the view was supposed to be really good. Fairly flat to start but the got a lot steeper and as with the other trail the more we do the further we have to hike each day. Saw 4 young American hikers which made a change to the stereotype hiker I was expecting. Felt really good when they thanked us for the job we were doing. Was working with Jesper on this trail, taking it in turns to use the pickax then smooth out the water-bars. Could see the other group who were working down by the side of the road pulling out old fencing, think we had the much better job as we started to go up higher the views got pretty cool. Today a very relaxed day too, had long breaks and finished work a bit early and headed to the rec room (where the other group had been all last week while we were up the mountain). The room had table tennis, table football and pool table along with a TV. Was great to wind down at the end of the day with this even if we were a bit tired this livened us up a bit. Mari the other group leader went to go do shopping but didn't get back for 4.5 hours as the front gate had been locked and she had no way to get back in apart from walk a few miles down the road. By the time she got back we were being given a fire juggling lesson by Jarco which was awesome, using balls and sticks set on fire mad it look effortless. We all had a go and although the sticks were hard to master flicking them without catching on the hot side the balls were fairly easy to juggle as they were wet on the outside. Really good fun with some of the group, got some cool looking photos too.

Normal start to the next day, tried to finish off a large corner bar we started yesterday. Working alongside Jordy and Fabio today so we had good banter that got us through a tough morning, good view at dinner time but soon after we could see a massive rain storm heading straight towards us, we carried on working hoping it would change direction but it just got larger and you could see the rain from a long way so we knew we'd get very wet. Steve made the call for us to go down and as we did so another family who had started to hike up decided to turn around and do the same. We rushed down pretty quickly and were about 2 minutes from the van when it absolutely chucked it down. Everyone was pretty soaked by the time they got to the van. Good excuse to head to the rec room, play a bit if pool and watch TV, one program about dangerous gangs which included the Tijuana Cartoza who operate near the border of San Diego and TJ. Back at our wet camp we discovered the Caravan that was next to our campsite was open, so we had electricity and somewhere dry to play cards and eat our burrito dinner.

Day 4 on this project was not too bad, there were long sections where there were no water-bars as we were near bedrock at the top. It was a very busy day though so saw many hikers who stopped and talked to us about the work, a few British people and saw a group of Hamish people going up in dresses which was a bit odd. Another good viewpoint for our lunch, me and Jesper were the highest group up and about 1/3 of way to the summit, we could almost see the top. Later on when Steve joined us we heard a lot of thunder in the distance and Steve made the decision to head back down as it was getting closer even though it was still sunny. When we got to the bottom, found out that the storm had moved on but it was too far to walk back up to work. Decided to go to the visitor centre where we could check the Internet and football scores. Found out both Chelsea and Arsenal lost, we were all sat in the entrance to the visitor centre and Jesper, who had been having complaint about his foot odor decided to take his shoes off to get some air to the displeasure of some visitors who could smell it as soon as they walked in. He later went outside to the pleasure of all of us. Found out that J-Dub and Carly both got $20 from generous hikers so will put it towards a meal at the end of our time here. In the evening had dinner in the caravan and watch 'Beyond the Limit' which is a documentary following groups of people trying to climb Mount Everest, makes our hikes look very easy. The researches had also moved in and Carly and J-Dub had a quick chat with them, all in the hope they would let us use the ship too and let us have a shower. No such luck though.
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