Returning only twice since the 1970s, I first learned about hiking up the highest location in my state from my Texas State University Journalism (then Southwest Texas State University) professor, David Yates, in 1977.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
He published, for a .90 to $1.50, an 11 1/2″×14 3/4″ newspaper, Cedar Rock, for poets and writers that was circulated and purchased in bookstores across the nation, but especially in the Southwest. I was fortunate to have a poem, articles and photos occasionally included.
Yates enthusiastically wrote and mentioned his hikes up Guadalupe Peak in Cedar Rock and in class.
During a long weekend, I joined Mr. Yates and others on a caravan trip from San Marcos to the El Paso area for one of his hikes up the 8,751 foot peak.
I learned that Guadalupe Peak is much more than the Lone Star State’s highest point. Guadalupe Mountains National Park has since become the destination for one of the state’s most epic hikes.
The Guadalupe Peak Trail ascends about 3,000 feet for more than eight miles round trip. The complete journey took us almost eight hours passing pine and fir trees. I saw my first ever madrone tree as we trekked through breathtaking high desert terrain.
Reaching the peak, we were rewarded with a spectacular view of miles of the surrounding desert and mountains, a vista that can’t be beat.
That shared journey is a wonderful memory, especially watching Mr. Yates’ quiet enthusiasm as he pulled out a journal. Away from the other hikers, he sat high above Texas alone and began writing.
An entrance fee of $10 per person (16 years of age and older) is required; entrance fees/passes permit 1-7 consecutive days of use in this national park.
Holders of the Annual, Senior, Military, 4th grade and Access Pass can bring in 3 adults free of charge under their pass. Any pass must be displayed in a vehicle while in the national park.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park Annual Pass – $35.00
This pass is valid for entrance into Guadalupe Mountains National Park for one year from the month of purchase. The pass admits up to four adults in a private vehicle and is non-transferable; visitors under 16 years of age are free. You can purchase this pass at the Pine Springs Visitor Center.
Pine Springs Visitor Center is the park’s main visitor center and headquarters. Visitors can pay entrance and camping fees, tour the museum, purchase items from the park bookstore, pick up brochures, maps, and obtain backpacking permits here.
- There is no gasoline available in the park. If you are traveling from (El Paso) Texas, Dell City is the closest town with amenities such as gasoline, diesel, food, and ice. When traveling from New Mexico, Whites City is the last place that offers gas, diesel, food and ice.
- We’re not kidding. No gas is available for 35 miles in either direction from the visitor center. Plan accordingly.
- Campgrounds offer primitive dry camping for both tents and RVs. Other than restrooms and potable water, there are no other amenities. There are no lodges in the park.
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Raised in San Antonio, Jack Dennis’ early experiences were as a newspaper reporter and private investigator. With a Texas State University bachelor’s degree, Jack studied journalism, education and psychology. He was the founding vice-president of Sigma Delta Chi, the Association of Professional Journalists at the University. Jack has received numerous awards, including Investigative Reporter of the Year from Rocky Mountain Press Association, David Ashworth Community Award, and Leadership in Management.
Some of the people and groups Jack has interviewed include:
Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, George Strait, Roy Orbison, Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Jackson Browne, Steve Wariner, Tanya Tucker, Scotty Moore, Fats Domino, Patty Page, Tommy Roe, Emmy Lou Harris, Johnny Rivers, Charly McClain, Kinky Friedman, John McFee, Guy Allison & Patrick Simmons (Doobie Brothers) , Randy Bachman (BTO), Jim Messina, Todd Rundgren, Alvin Lee, Gary Puckett, The Ventures, Freddy Cannon, Augie Meyer, Christopher Cross, Whiskey Myers, Sha Na Na (John “Bowzer” Baumann), Flash Cadillac, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Darrell McCall, and more.
Politicians & News
George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lady Bird Johnson, Greg Abbott, Rudolph Giuliani, Larry King, Jack Anderson, Tom Bradley, Connie Mack, and more.
Clint Eastwood, Mike Myers, Taylor Lautner, Cameron Diaz, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Selena Gomez, Tippi Hedren, James Earl Jones, James Woods, Jim Nabors, Martha Raye, Rosalind Russell, June Lockhart, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Howie Mandel, Meg Ryan, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, James Drury, Melanie Griffith, Nathan Lane, Alan Thicke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Clint Howard, Tony Sirico, Cesar Romero, Michael Berryman, Tracy Scoggins, William Windom, Warren Stevens and more.
Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Wally Schirra, Dave Scott, Gene Cernan, Walt Cunningham, Scott Carpenter, Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director), Ed Mitchell, Richard Gordon, Bruce McCandless, Vanentina Treshkova (first woman in space, Russia), Alex Leonov (first man to walk in space, Russian), Al Worden, Dee O’Hara (nurse to astronauts) and more.
Sports: Joe Torre, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes, Billie Jean King, Manuela Maleeva, Drew Pearson, Bob Lilly, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, George Gervin, Tony Parker, Shannon Miller, Cathy Rigby, Bruce Bowen, Wade Boggs, Fernando Valenzuela, Bernie Kosar, Dale Murphy, Jim Abbott, Dick Bartell, Mike Schmidt, Dan Pastorini and more.
May Pang, Bob Eubanks, Vernon Presley, Vester Presley, Charlie Hodge, Joe Esposito, Rick Stanley (Elvis’ step-brother, Harold Lloyd (Elvis’ first cousin), Doyle Brunson, Kara Peller, Hank Meijer, Norman Brinkler, Stanley Marcus, Jerry King, Mac King, Nathan Burton, Zach Anner, Louie Anderson, Owen Benjamin, Steve Byrne and more.
As head of Facilities for a major retailer (H-E-B Food/Drugs) for 20 years, Jack co-founded Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM) and was elected President to establish PRSM magazine. Jack is a writer, speaker, golf-concierge and happiness coach. He has researched and studied happiness for over 40 years.
Jack was a prolific writer for Examiner.com, with over 1,900 articles written in six years. His articles and stories have appeared in AXS Entertainment, The ROWDY Country Music, Memphis Flash, and numerous magazines.
He is author of “Miracles of Justice,” a true courtroom drama novel about social injustice and miracles.