Driving in to Guadalupe Mountains NP from the south is gorgeous! Big sheer cliffs that are breath taking!
Sorry about the dirty windshield!
After all the volcanic parks and monuments I saw on this trip, I thought maybe this was also keeping with that theme, but no, this is a Permian fossil reef. Yup, an ocean reef. Once upon a time, about 5 million years ago, there were sponges, algae and lots and lots of organisms. According to the ranger, the place is loaded with fossils. Do bear in mind, it is illegal and unethical to remove anything from a National Park.
The basin side where the Visitor Center and campground are located is not as spectacular as the drive in from the south side. But there is an abundance of wildlife and ecosystems on that side of the mountains.
Alligator Juniper. Really, the bark looks like alligator hide.
A handsome buck joining me for early morning hike.
This was also the location for the Pinery Station for the Butterfield Overland Mail. Pony express riders would get fresh horses at the Pinery Startion and food before riding on with the mail. These are some of the remnants of the buildings for the station. It also served as a stop for the stagecoach.
On to Carlsbad Caverns!