A Travellerspoint blog

October 2014

Carlsbad and Guadalupe Mountains National Park

18-19 October 2014

semi-overcast 75 °F

Ah, finally a chance for another getaway. I'm excited even if its only for one night. So here was the idea.....we drive to Carlsbad, New Mexico and stay the night in the Trinity Hotel in town. On day two, wake up and be close enough to Guadalupe Mountains National Park to start the eight hour hike to the peak early in the morning. It worked out almost like that!

We did drive to Carlsbad and stay in the delightful Trinity Hotel. It is a bit pricey but as soon as we arrived we were offered a wine tasting which we quickly accepted. They have their own vineyard and also sell others that is made in Deming, New Mexico. With the free wine tasting we also got crackers with goat cheese and besito caliente (a blackberry and jabanero sauce).
the bat cave

the bat cave


Carlsbad Caverns, about 30 minutes away has a bat flight program that we hurried back to the caverns to check out. Its a free program that allows people in to an amphitheater at the mouth of a cavern that houses thousands of bats. A ranger gives an informational talk while you are waiting for the bats to start swirling out of the caves. No one knows why they swirl but their end destination is likely a water source about thirty miles from the cave. We were informed that each bat eats half its body weight in insects each night.

After the show we headed back to the hotel for an excellent dinner with some more great wine for me and pecan beer for Curt.
view from the trail

view from the trail


The next day we woke up early in the attempt to hike to the highest point in Texas, Guadalupe Peak. The hike is estimated to take 6-8 hours so we wanted an early start. Unfortunately it was pouring down rain when we left the hotel, while we ate breakfast and IHOP and most of the drive back to the park. The visitors center said the rain chances were only 20% but we opted for a shorter and less strenuous hike in case the weather got bad.
We should have gone to the peak

We should have gone to the peak


trail of rocks

trail of rocks


pausing on the trail

pausing on the trail


another beautiful day

another beautiful day

We met our friends, Rhiannon and Chelsea and set out for Devil's Hall which ends in a staircase of natural rock in Pine Springs Canyon. The trail is 4.2 miles round trip and the weather turned out to be gorgeous. I was really surprised by all the fall colors that Texas had to offer!
color in the desert

color in the desert


Curt at Devils Hall

Curt at Devils Hall


fall colors

fall colors


fall in texas

fall in texas


on the steps of Devils Hall

on the steps of Devils Hall

Posted by ErinDriver 18:13 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Franklin Mountains hiking and apple barn

13 October 2014

sunny

Today I decided no studying was authorized and we started the day with a hike in the Franklin Mountains right down the road from our house. It turned out to be quite a difficult trek up the Ron Coleman trail. There were a couple of small caves on the way and at the top you could see over the mountain to both sides of El Paso. The day was beautiful the trek was short but challenging.
the view in to the canyon

the view in to the canyon


taking a break

taking a break


at the cave

at the cave


Franklin Mountain State Park

Franklin Mountain State Park


Curt on top of El Paso

Curt on top of El Paso


Ron Coleman Trail

Ron Coleman Trail


We couldn't settle for just a hike so after lunch we went for a motorcycle ride. Our goal was to hit the pistachio ranch in Alamagordo but it turned out to be a bit further than I bargained for so we hit the Apple Barn instead. The apple barn had lots of little crafty things for sale as well as some pretty amazing apple pie. We took on a bit more than I was ready for with the ride so not long after getting there we had to start riding back. Some other day we will have to go back for the pistachios!
the apple farm

the apple farm

Posted by ErinDriver 18:43 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Washington work trip

22 September to 6 October 2014

sunny 60 °F

I had to go to Joint Base Lewis McChord for an ultrasound rotation and sadly I was on my own for most things but I still took the opportunity to see a little of the area.
lobster dinner

lobster dinner


First thing after a week of training was a good lobster dinner in Old Tacoma right along the water called the Lobster Shop. The food and view were both fabulous. This area has a collection of nice looking restaurants with excellent views. I later went to RAM which is a brewery type restaurant.
view from tram ride

view from tram ride


One morning I headed to Northwest Trek which is a a wildlife park. There are animals you can walk around and visit and they also have an hour long trolley ride around the park to see more free range animals.
my wolf moment

my wolf moment


I managed to get there before many of the kids and had a few moments along with three wolves and a brown bear.
brown bear

brown bear


These are some of the other animals on display:
cool catepillar

cool catepillar


snowy owl

snowy owl


bald eagles

bald eagles


bison naps

bison naps


I was lucky to meet up with Andrea Jacobson who took me on a trip up Mt Ranier on one of the Sundays I was there. The day was absolutely beautiful and we started at Paradise and walked to Pebble Creek.
first glimpse of Mt Ranier

first glimpse of Mt Ranier


more views of Mt Ranier

more views of Mt Ranier


marmot resting

marmot resting


marmot on high alert

marmot on high alert


the trail to

the trail to


Pebble Creek

Pebble Creek


on the snow

on the snow


selfie

selfie


I was introduced to marmots on the way which were all over the place and didn't seem to bothered by humans.
glacier slide

glacier slide


We decided to be silly and slide down the glacier which was the second best moment of the day. The first was the dessert and beer we had in the lodge at the bottom of the path :)
boats in Anacortes

boats in Anacortes


therapy dogs on whale watch

therapy dogs on whale watch


whale watching

whale watching


Grannie

Grannie


And lastly I couldn't leave Washington without a whale watch. Unfortunately the drive to Anacortes where the trips departed from at this time of year was 2 hours away but it went by quickly. I booked a 5-6 hour whale watch with Island Adventures which turned out to be worth the money. Because I went on the trip for work I was not thinking about photography and hadn't brought my good camera. That means most of the whales we saw look like tiny black specs in the pictures. The rule is that the boats can't get within a certain distance of the whales. If the whales then move closer they are okay but this only happened once. A whale named Grannie which they estimate to be about 103 years old swam right by our boat.

There were tons of other whales in the distance that seemed to just be hanging out together. For a short while the company put a microphone under the water and we could hear the whales communicating. During the trip we also saw porpoises and seals. Before heading back and concluding my short break from studying I had dinner at the pizza factory in the adorable town of Anacortes.

Posted by ErinDriver 18:53 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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