Here is another installment of the adventures I’ve had trying to conquer the highest point in each state of the US. Last time I started showing you the highest points in the states that border Arkansas. This time we will finish the list with Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. A very diverse set of peaks. Ok, two of them are hills!
Like Oklahoma’s highest point, Texas’ high point is way out west in the Guadeloupe National Park, south of Carlsbad New Mexico. Guadeloupe Peak (8751 feet) is on the end of a long ridge running out of New Mexico south into west Texas. Around the ridge is the high plains desert. This is real “Old West” country, mesquite, cacti, hot and dry. The park is on US 62 about 25 miles south of Carlsbad Cavern. The hike up the peak is a moderate day hike on well-worn trail. In fact, you can ride a horse to a corral to near the top if its sure footed.
I did this day hike as part of a trip to explore the park on September 29, 2008. My good friend, Gary Alexander did the hike with me and it became the 8th high point visited. The hike, like Black Mesa, is about 8.5 miles round trip, but the climb is much greater. It also is more scenic as you climb alongside a canyon valley on the mountain. When you reach the top, you see the great expanse of the Chihuahua Desert 3000 feet below. There is an aluminum pyramid on the peak marking the highest place in Texas. We spent the rest of the trip exploring the rest of the Park and made it up Mt. Bush as well, Texas’ second highest point. If you make a trip to Carlsbad Cavern, take the drive down to Guadeloupe National Park and see some cool sights.
Louisiana is definitely not a place that comes to mind as place with any high points. But don’t sell them short, Louisiana is not the lowest high point. Driskell Hill (535 feet) is in north central Louisiana, about 10 miles south of Arcadia or 30 miles southwest of Ruston. Driskell was the fourth high point reaching it on August 27, 2006. Meribeth and I had attended her uncle’s funeral the day before and the peak was nearby. This is a walk in the park for most of us as you only gain a couple hundred feet over a 1.8 mile round trip from a church parking lot. The point has been improved by the Scouts and is well marked as you take a walk in the Louisiana piney woods. A sign-in board and some benches surround the marker. The view is like all the others in a heavily wooded location, not much but trees. Check out all the Bonnie and Clyde stuff in the area. They were ambushed nearby.
The last high point for this episode is Woodall Mountain (807 feet) which is in northeast Mississippi near the town of Iuka. The hill (it’s a hill not a mountain) is accessed of Mississippi Hwy. 25 just south of US 72. The road going up to the top runs right next to a house, so don’t drive into their drive by mistake. The road goes to the top and you can park about 30 feet from the USGS marker under an old forest tower. Meribeth and I did this peak on a backroad return trip from Nashville on October 30, 2006, number 6 on my list.
Lots of civil war history in the area if you go. Easy trip for anyone. Once again, the view was not that great.
That completes the six trips needed to see all the high points of our neighboring states.
Meribeth and I returned to Mt. Magazine last April for our anniversary for a night at the lodge. Next time we’ll cover my journey in August 2013 to visit five western state peaks.
We’ve already seen Oklahoma’s Black Mesa, but next time we will see the grand Rocky Mountains and the western high plains: New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas. In the meantime, I’m planning my next trip to bag number 33 and maybe beyond. Keep looking up!