El Capitan and Guadalupe Peaks in Guadalupe Mountains National Park

January 26, 2018

RickS_El Capitan TX-B (2)

Photographer: Rick Stankiewicz 
Summary Author: Rick Stankiewicz 

Featured above is El Capitan peak in west Texas as seen from Highways 62/180. Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas (8,751 ft or 2,667 m), in this view is just behind and to the right of El Capitan. Both peaks are part of the Guadalupe Mountain range that runs from southeastern New Mexico to the panhandle of West Texas, terminating at El Capitan in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Some 200 million years ago, this area was lying in the shallow Permian Sea and was also part of the Capitan Reef complex, composed mostly of limestone. Many examples of fossilized coral, algae, sponges and other ancient marine life forms can be found near here. The Guadalupe range also contains numerous cave systems, including the world-renowned Carlsbad Caverns, just 16 mi (26 km) to the east. Though today you can find black bear, deer and mountain lions in the park, thousands of years ago there were musk ox, dire wolf and bison. Human habitation here dates back over 12,000 years.

El Capitan, at 8,078 ft. or 2,462 m, with its sheer walls of over 3,000 ft (914 m) left a lasting impression on me as I headed west toward El Paso, Texas, over salt flats and the arid desolation of the Chihuahuan Desert. Photo taken on January 16, 2017.

Photo Details: Two-frame composite image; Canon EOS 60D camera; 28mm lens; ISO 800, 1/500 sec. exposure; f/13.