Hiking Devil’s Hall

One of the things I was looking forward to during my hiking trip was my morning coffee.  That picture above was taken from my campsite, it was cool out, the air smelled clean and fresh (something my lungs really appreciated).  It was the perfect setting for my morning coffee.

Devil’s Hall would be my next conquest that morning.  The National Park Service has it listed at 3.8 miles round trip with an estimated duration hike of 2.5 hours.  I figured it would take close to 4 hours to finish.  This would then leave me with plenty of time to relax with a book and warm cup of ramen before the amazing star show that night.

Remember me saying I was paranoid about rattlesnakes?  Here I am walking through these beautiful mountains with my eyes glued to the ground (looking for scary rattlesnakes) when all of a sudden I hear hooves.  I stop immediately, look up and find this deer staring at me.  We made eye contact for what seemed like forever but in reality it was more like 15 seconds or so.  I quickly grab my camera (it was hanging around my neck) take a couple pictures then reach for my phone in hopes of getting video footage.  Had I been paying attention to what was going on around me then perhaps I would have gotten to my phone faster and maybe captured awesome footage.  Unfortunately for you all, my footage is minimal because I was too slow to reach for that phone.  I blame the snakes.

50% of the trail is on the waterbed and at times I wondered if I was even on the trail.  Imagine me taking a wrong turn?  I most definitely was not prepared to spend the night in the wilderness since most of my gear was back at the campsite.  These boulders made it easier to hike since you could get good foot placement where as the Guadalupe Peak was full of tiny ankle breaker slippery rocks.  I wonder if this area here turns into a mini waterfall when it rains?

Have you ever seen stacked rocks on a trail?  This is a cairn (fancy word for a stack of stones) that marks the trail.  If you are ever out hiking and see these stones please don’t remove them because someone like me (who is kinda sorta lost) might be hiking behind you.  I used these cairns to find my way back to the trail multiple times, pretty sure I would have gotten lost if I hadn’t seen these.  Note to self:  take a paper map next time, apparently Cricket doesn’t get service in the mountains.

See what I mean about the trail getting lost?  It’s like which way do I go?  Luckily for me as I was struggling to get the next couple of shots two guys climbed out from behind a boulder.  Umm, I guess that’s where I need to go.

I took this last perfect foliage shot, grabbed my pack and off I went.

As you get closer to the hall you begin to walk through canyons lined with thin layers of limestone.  This was another first for me because I’ve never been surrounded by any sort of canyon.

Here I am feeling victorious on top of the Devil’s staircase.  I was feeling pretty awesome about myself until I found out (as I was leaving the trail) that Devil’s Hall is actually a quarter mile further down from the staircase.  Ugh!  See, this is what happens when you have a Cricket and forget to bring a paper map .  Lesson learned.

My hiking trip was amazing and I cannot wait to get out there again.  I learned so much on this 2 day trip and only wish there was more time.  There’s so much more to life than cubicles, traffic lights, internet or TV.  We are meant to do more than just collect paychecks.  There just has to be more.

Here, in the mountains surrounded by nature, I am at peace.

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