Smythe Family On The Road travel blog

We stopped for a picture at the entrance to the park.

The Guadalupe Mountains with the desert in the background.

This is the El Capitan of the Guadalupe Mountains.

This is Jonathan at the Visitor Center parking lot.

Another shot at the Visitor's Center with different mountains in the background.

A shot taken as we drive up the road to Smith Spring...

Jonathan stands at the information center for the Smith Springs Loop Trail.

Another shot across the desert with the mountains in the background.

I don't know the name of this mountain but it had an...

This pond is fed by the underground springs. It's one of the...

You can see the land beginning to rise as you get closer...

We head up the trail. Jonathan liked leading the way.

We made it to the top of the trail! This is where...

A shot of the trail and the background from up above.

Jonathan leads the way. He liked the trek down a lot more...

An interesting shot with Yucca plants in the foreground.

Still hiking down the trail.

We're going to make it! We're back down where it's pretty level...

Thursday, May 8, 2008.

Carlsbad RV Park and Campground, Carlsbad, NM

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Jonathan and I got up around 7:30 this morning. Tom had just started his meeting. We had breakfast and got ready to go. We headed out the door at 9:15. We had to make a trip back after getting down the road a few miles because I forgot to put my tennis shoes on. I still had my crocs on and I knew I didn't want to hike it those!

After regrouping, we headed out again. Jonathan did his math and language arts on the drive down to the park. When we arrived, we spent some time in the Visitor's Center. We picked up Junior Ranger materials. We looked at the animal/plant/rock/insect display and watched the video. I thought I had organized things pretty well but for some reason I was having a hard time in that department today. We had to go back to the car to get our National Park Passport in order to have that stamped. We realized one of the Jr. Ranger activities was to identify and record information about the creatures in the Visitor Center but I forgot to bring anything to write with. Grrrrr! Jonathan was getting frustrated and I didn't blame him.

When we finished things in the Visitor's Center, we headed for the trail we had decided we wanted to hike. We stopped and ate lunch in the parking lot area while we looked at the mountains out the front window. What a nice view.

The hike was rated "Moderate". It was pretty level at first then started uphill. Jonathan wanted to quit and go back but we pressed on. It was a mile uphill to the turn-around point then the rest of it was down. The last half of that first mile was a real challenge. Once we made it to the top and started down, his disposition changed completely. We had fun talking on the way down. When we made it back to the check-in point he said it was fun.

We spent a little bit of time at the Frijole Ranch. The ranch was settled by a couple of brothers around 1876 who operated a small cattle ranch on the land. Another man by the name of Smith came from Wisconsin to Texas in 1906. He married Nella May Carr and had 10 children. They raised a variety of crops. The Smith family built a school house on the property and provided room, board, a horse and a $30 per moth salary for the teacher. Nella May Smith served as the postmaster of the area utilizing the school house until 1941. The park has all kinds of history. Go to to find out more.

With only one day to spend, we were limited to only seeing a small part of the park. One of the features of this park that is unique is that is has three climates within the park.

We got home around 3:30. Jonathan and I were both tired. We had a simple dinner and have just been relaxing this evening. Tomorrow will probably be a day around the campground. We need to pack a few things up so we are ready to drive on Saturday. We are going to go White Sands National Park. Sunday will be spent driving to Apache Junction to visit with Mom and Carl.

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