Back Country High

by Bruce Watts
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
After 55 days … I needed my backcountry fix

We have been travelling for 55 days and all our camping experiences were comfortably protected by Betty, our aluminum travel trailer. We have “camped” in either woodsy government parks or the sterile concrete world of RV resorts. 

I had started to shake and vibrate uncontrollably like an addict in withdrawal, I needed my backcountry fix…and it needed it soon.

backcountry high2On the peak of Guadalupe Mountain, it went below freezing over nightGuadalupe Mountains National Park came just in time.  The park hosts Guadalupe Mountain, Texas’ highest peak, and loads of great hiking and backpacking trails. When we pulled into the visitors centre, I could almost taste the adventure. 

I was getting jittery with eager anticipation and Tracy could see it.  

Like a dog on a leash pulling instinctively towards a squirrel, I was now primal and void of conscious thought. My backwoods instincts blindly pulled and tugged … I began to lose focus on the basic tasks at hand.  I needed to be released into the mountains.

backcountry high4The trail was moderate yet thrillingI completed my first night in the travel trailer with Tracy, however my mind was elsewhere. In a manner, I was cheating on my wife. My mind was not on her, but rather the delicious curvaceous lure of the mountains that surrounded us as we sleep.  

My backwoods mistress, a mountain high, my outdoor fix… I needed to be released.

With the loving and understanding blessing of my wife, I loaded up my ultralight overnight backpack kit, and left both Betty and Tracy for a solo night at a backwoods campsite in the mountains. 

I blasted up the mountain at a blazing pace. A combination of adrenaline, pent up backwoods lust and  a leaner build (a recent 20 lb. fat lose)… I was on course for a 2.5 hour 3500’ accent.

backcountry high3Wine and Cheese on the peakThe trail was like nothing I had trekked before. Stone blasted switch backed trails, zigzagged up the Texas mountain.

At 8000’ I reached the designated camp, pitched my tent and continued to the peak.   At 3:30 pm I reached the 8575” top, took my obligatory photos and then descended back to my alpine camp. 

At my tent site, I talked to my camping neighbours and enjoyed celebratory wine, cheese and chocolate… and settled down to watch the sun set over the mountains. 

The night was cold and dark… but never lonely.  I was sleeping with my “mistress”… the backcountry I love so much.

Shortly after sunrise, I bouldered down the mountain, and 1.5 hours later I was back with Betty and Tracy. 

Tracy is my first love, yet the backwoods is my drug… and with my fixed satisfied for now, our adventure can now continue.  


Trailer Talk

Bruce & Tracy's 2015 adventures in a travel trailer named Betty as they travelled around the continent.