Guadalupe Mountains, TX

Mar 4th, 2018 to Mar 10th, 2018
Cost: $840.00 Partner Organization(s): National Park Service Service Type: Environmental Conservation Number of Participants: 8

Trip Logistics & Participant Requirements:

On Friday afternoon, we’ll drive to Dulles together and catch a flight to Albuquerque. After staying in a hostel on Friday night, we’ll pack our van and drive 5 hours to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, stopping for groceries & supplies along the way! From Saturday night through Thursday night we’ll be camping at a campground (no showers–good times!) within Guadalupe. Our week will include exploring Carlsbad Caverns National Park, hiking Guadalupe Peak, and visiting White Sands National Monument. We’ll head back toward Albuquerque on Friday and spend the night in a hostel in the city (and shower!) before flying to DC and then driving back to Charlottesville on Saturday. Participants should have a love for the outdoors, be ready for a week of adventures, and want to get to know new people!

Note: trip price is subject to change depending on flights

Service Activities:

We will spend five days dedicated to service (Sunday-Thursday). We will be working with Guadalupe Mountains National Park on various projects throughout the week, all revolving around environmental conservation. Possible projects for the week include trail restoration and maintenance, invasive species removal, and restoration of historic structures throughout the park. Participants in the past have enjoyed the service activities and found them extremely rewarding because of the opportunity to play a role in taking care of the park you are enjoying for the week and because of the opportunity to learn a lot about the area from the park rangers. Guadalupe Mountain NP has over 80 miles of trails which need constant maintenance. The tasks we will complete during the week are important so that the park can be enjoyed by thousands of visitors without harming the environment.

Regional Background:

According to archeological evidence, the Guadalupe Mountains have been the location of human history for over 10,000 years, where indigenous people made homes out of the park’s massive cave system. However, the area was never settled by Europeans, who only used the region as a waypoint for stagecoach trains heading West. This part of Guadalupe’s history can be seen today at the ruins of the Pinery Station, which was a relay station of the Butterfield Overland Mail route. The Buffalo Soldiers and the Mescalero Apaches fought bloody battles in Guadalupe, after US Cavalry was ordered to destroy the natives, who were constantly threatening the stagecoaches passing through. In the 19th century, ranchers and settlers arrived and were the only major inhabitants of the Guadalupe area until finally the national park was established in September, 1972.

The Guadalupe Mountains rise anywhere from 4,000 to 8,000 feet above the Chihuahuan Desert, and include Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in the state of Texas, at 8,751 feet. The ecosystems of the park include deserts, sand dunes, salt flats, grasslands, pine forests, canyons, deciduous forests, alpine uplands, and extensive caves. Only a short drive from the park is Carlsbad Caverns National Park, a cave system containing some of the largest caverns in the world!

Recreational Activities:

While most of the day Sunday through Thursday will be dedicated to service, we will have plenty of time to explore the national park in our down time. With over 80 miles of trails to explore, we will have plenty to keep us busy. Each afternoon, we’re looking forward to hiking the park’s coolest spots, including the “Top of Texas” — Guadalupe Peak — the highest point in Texas! We’ll take Wednesday off from volunteering and spend more time exploring GMNP and drive 30 minutes to Carlsbad Caverns. On Friday, as we make the trip back to Albuquerque, we will stop to spend the day exploring the beautiful White Sands National Monument.

About the Site Leaders:

Claire is a 2nd year hoping to study Public Policy and Leadership. She grew up in Williamsburg, VA, home of the most pancake and waffle houses per capita in the US. She loves pesto, the Oxford comma, rowing, and reading. She worked at a summer camp this summer and after too many wilderness trips with campers, she may be able to manage to start a fire and set up a tent! Her favorite things at UVA are basketball, RUF, and all of the great people. Ava is a second year hoping to study Global Studies; Environments and Sustainability, and Studio Art. Her home town is Harrisonburg, VA, however this past summer she was working in Grand Teton National Park. After hiking and backpacking for most of the summer, she can’t wait to explore a new national park. Ava also loves fruit gummies, live music, and spontaneity. At UVA, she is involved with the marching band, ultimate frisbee, and several sustainability organizations. Ava and Claire met on the 2017 ASB Point Reyes trip. They bonded over their new found love for water buffalo ice cream in Point Reyes, so rest assured that there will always be dessert!