Guadalupe Mountains, TX

Mar 3rd, 2017 to Mar 11th, 2017
Cost: $800.00 Partner Organization(s): National Park Service Service Type: Environmental conservation Number of Participants: 8

Trip Logistics & Participant Requirements:

We will drive as a group to Arlington on Friday afternoon and spend the night at Katie’s house Friday night before catching an early flight from Dulles to Albuquerque on Saturday morning. We will rent a large van at the Albuquerque airport (which Katie will drive & Jackson will DJ for the following week) 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–yippee!) within Guadalupe. We’ll head back toward Albuquerque on Friday, spending that night in a hostel in the city before returning to C’ville Saturday morning. This is the first ever ASB Guadalupe trip — you won’t want to miss this!!

Participants should have a love for the outdoors and be ready for a week of adventures, however no previous conservation or camping experience is required — just a positive attitude!

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 the mornings and early afternoons of 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, and one longer day hike we have planned is to climb to the “Top of Texas” — Guadalupe Peak — the highest point in Texas! One afternoon, after we finish our service work for the day, we will drive a short 30 minutes to Carlsbad Caverns — the Obama’s most recent vacation spot! On Friday, as we make the journey back to Albuquerque, we will stop to spend the day exploring the breathtaking White Sands National Monument (look it up on Google images…it’s the site of many movies & car commercials!).

About the Site Leaders:

Katie is a 3rd year Nursing major. She grew up in Arlington, Virginia (and refuses to call it “NOVA”). Katie’s favorite things to do are run, DIY crafts, and eat (our meals will be the best of ASB & there will ALWAYS be dessert)! This summer, Katie went backpacking in Utah and Colorado, which deepened her love for outdoor adventures and camp food (are you sensing a theme here…?) At UVA, Katie is a member of the Triathlon Club and spends her free time exploring Charlottesville’s hiking and restaurants. Katie first experienced ASB last year on her trip to Moab and she can’t wait to be back at it this spring, in a new desert!

Jackson is a 2nd year engineer studying computer science who can’t wait to spend a week as far away from Thornton Hall as possible! He grew up in Charlotte, NC (go Panthers) but after moving several times now considers Charlottesville his permanent home (go Hoos). He’s a big outdoorsman and loves climbing and backpacking on the weekends, but during the week you’ll find him tossing the frisbee on the lawn, working the front desk at the North Grounds gym, or playing some of the ugliest pick-up basketball you’ll ever see. After going to Moab last spring break, he became a member of ASB’s exec board and is now looking forward to another week in the wild, wild west.

Testimonials:

My favorite memory from my ASB trip last spring break to Moab was one night when we got back to the campsite and nobody wanted to get out of the van because we knew how cold it was going to be (the desert gets COLD at night!!). We sat in the van singing old songs, complaining about the impending cold, and begging our site leaders to let us sleep in the van. Every five minutes someone would say, “five more minutes!” Until finally, we opened the doors and ran out shrieking to our tents. This is what I love about ASB–the small, unique memories you create with nine other people who you didn’t know a week ago! — Katie

Going to Moab with ASB last spring break was most likely the best decision I’ve made so far in my college career. What was so cool about it was how tight we became with everyone else on our trip. It’s a mix of people that I would’ve never found myself with back at UVA, but after less than a day we felt like we had known each other forever. In fact it was only the 2nd day of the trip when Katie and I decided to lead a trip together this year. And in the interest of fairness, I guess I should talk about the worst part of the trip, too — I feel like I went to bed Sunday night and when I woke up it was already Friday morning! — Jackson