Monday, November 30, 2015

In the Guadalupes

The Guadalupe Mountains are one of my favorite mountain ranges.  They rise out of the desert of west Texas and reach heights of almost 9,000'.  Those high peaks hold aspen and pines like one might find farther north in the mountains around Taos.  The canyons shelter maple trees, a relic of the last ice age.  The entire mountain range is also an ancient reef.  Yes, the Guadalupes used to be at the bottom of the ocean.  Imagine the Great Barrier Reef thrown almost two miles up into the sky.

The highest peaks are in Texas and preserved in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, but the range move north into New Mexico.  The peaks are not quite as high but the western escarpment is still a couple thousand feet tall and runs north for many miles until the Guadalupes and Sacramento Mountains blend together.


The area in New Mexico is national forest and there are several places where access is possible.  I approached the escarpment from the west and made my way up into the forest and a campsite right on the rim.  

From here I had a view looking north, west, and south of the escarpment, desert, and mountains.  It is a big view here with a lot of sky.  As I wrote in my last post, I had considered packing up to Guadalupe Peak to photograph the sunset and stars from there but the call for thunderstorms had me alter my plan.

I have hopes that we will get clear skies at night so I can photograph the Milky Way.

As the afternoon wore on the signs of clouds building up let me know I made the right decision not to be on the summit this day.

Right at sunset the clouds became a thunderstorm centered over the high peaks and I watched lightening streak from the clouds.

I photographed the sunset from my vantage point and kept an eye on the sky around me to watch for bad weather.

It got windy but the storm stayed away to the south.

The sunset faded in the west and the storm kept growing and spreading out toward the west.  The stars began to shine in the night sky and I watched the show of li
 

ght and lightening until the Milky Way was visible.  The sky was broken clouds where the Milky Way could peek out and be seen.  I set to work framing up images with the sky and the distant storm.

On occasion I even caught a lightening in an image.

I stayed up for a few hours making images before calling it a day and fell asleep with a view of the rim and the sky.

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