I traveled all across West Texas with a summer program called GeoFORCE for three days. As our trip travel to a new destination, we learn new geo lessons. During our group trip as high school senior students, we started off by traveling road trip style from the starting destination, Houston, TX. From Houston all the way to the border between New Mexico and West Texas, we learned from how rivers form to fossils and how the Earth formed.
I visited the Pecos High Bridge on the first day, as the first stop, and saw the most amazing panoramic view in my eyes! I stood on the pointbar and saw the tributary of all three main rivers in Texas. Learning from the textbooks doesn’t show memory results as much as experiencing it. The second stop is at the Pena Colorado Creek to sight the oldest mountain in Texas, the Ouachita Mountains. That night, we traveled to Carlsbad, New Mexico, and spend the night. I have never seen such historical figures of Texas! Once we reached West Texas, I didn’t expect most of the West is mainly deserted. My expectation of the place was to be fixing upon my experience on the first day.
On day 2, we traveled from Carlsbad to Cloudcroft, New Mexico, to hike on Guadalupe Mountains in the National Park of New Mexico. Along the way, as the bus drove southwest from Carlsbad toward the Guadalupe Mountains, we are traveling through a famous geologic feature – the Permian Basin, located in West Texas and Southeast New Mexico. Once we arrived at the National Park, We viewed the most interesting displays of rocks and fossils that make up the mountains, wildlife living in the area, and artifacts from people who have lived in this area for thousands of years ago. We started hiking up the McKittrick Canyon at Guadalupe Mountains, National Park, Texas. As I hike through McKittrick Canyon, I am walking on the bottom of an ancient ocean! The hike took up to 2 hours to reach up to one-third of the Canyon, which is about a mile! Everyone in the group was exhausted, especially me but I kept strong since this is the first time I ever hike up a mountain! After a long hike, we next travel to the Carlsbad Caverns, National Park, New Mexico. So we have to hike again, another 3 miles around and deep down in the cave of New Mexico. The temperature as we descended is about 56 F! it doesn’t feel that cold when we kept on walking and sweating. Along the way as we departed from the National Park of New Mexico, we had a view of the Lincoln National Forest. We spend the night in Cloucroft, located in the Sacramento Mountains. We had some paranormal experience that night after the hotel nerve shaking history but everything seems normal in the morning. We were glad to leave!
On our last day, we traveled from Cloudcroft to White Sands, National Park, New Mexico. We learned about history of White Sands area that in WWII, the military tested the second atomic bomb by that area! After the walking tour, our group went straight ahead to find the steepest dunes to glide down the dunes! We took off our shoes but I was afraid it would be too hot. Luckily, the sands were really cool underneath the surface. I was jumping down the dunes carelessly and had a memorable experience with a pile of sands. When the adventure was over, the bus took the group to El Paso Airport for a departure back home to Houston.
As I traveled 900 miles on a road trip really changed how I see Texas because I always thought the desert West in the cartoons are just some make up story, but the fact is the West is mainly desert. To be honest, I have never been on a road trip or away from Houston before. I saw a great opportunity to discover what is more out there in the world, to sight new things and new experiences as a teenager before being reach the adulthood.
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