Before venturing for an overnight hike in the Guadalupe Mountains, Niyada Crossland double and triple checked her backpack to make sure she had all of her supplies.
The Dallas hiker told the Odessa American she planned on spending two nights near the top of Guadalupe Peak.
Crossland said she doesn’t expect to see anyone else to be staying overnight on the mountain.
“It’s just me and the mountain,” she said with a laugh.
To stay overnight, Crossland needed to get a wilderness use permit. The permit is free but it must be obtained before hikers backpack overnight, the National Park Service website stated.
The entrance fee for the Guadalupe Mountains is $10 per person for visitors 16 years of age and older and this fee is good for seven days. Green fee envelopes are available at all trailheads or at the Pine Springs visitor center. Fees may be paid by cash or credit card at the visitor center or by cash at any trailhead.
The website also details rules that include no more than four persons per campsite, with either one large tent or two small tents, no more than three campsites (10 people) of the same group can occupy a single campground, no more than two consecutive nights may be spent at any given campground and wilderness use permits are issued for a maximum of seven nights.
Crossland said she considers herself an avid hiker, but an activity she mainly does for fun.
On July 7, Crossland said this was the fourth time she has stayed overnight at the Guadalupe Mountains. Crossland said the first time she stayed overnight she wanted to see if she had the guts to do it and every time since then she has tried to make small improvements.
“It’s enjoyable,” she said. “It’s nice and quiet.”
As she began to trek up the mountain to her campsite, Crossland crossed paths with Michael Burfeind and Matthew Burfeind, brothers from Lewiston, Minn., who were coming down the mountain.
The group shared a conversation as Michael Burfeind and Matthew Burfeind told Crossland that they spotted her campsite during their hike. Michael Burfeind and Matthew Burfeind were on a family vacation with the Guadalupe Mountains being the final leg of their journey. They told the Odessa American that they visited the Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands National Park.
Michael Burfeind said his family drove from Lewiston, which is about two hours south of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, to pick up Matthew Burfeind in Denver and then headed south for their family vacation.
“It’s not going to work out, but we thought about hitting up Big Bend National Park too,” Matthew Burfeind said. “That might have to be a different trip, but having four right there is really cool.”
Michael Burfeind said it’s pretty motivating to see a woman of Crossland’s stature trek the mountain alone overnight.
Crossland, who is middle aged and stands about 5 feet, while Michael Burfeind and Matthew Burfeind are both well over 6 feet and in their mid 20s to early 30s.
“When she said she was going up there for a couple nights, that is impressive, because I’ve never done that myself,” Michael Burfeind said. “I’ve just done the day hikes. She kind of inspired me to go and do that.”
Before Crossland began her hike, she explained this would be the final time she would stay alone overnight. Crossland said the next overnight stay she hopes to bring her daughter with her.
“(My daughter) has never done it, but I would do it again for her,” Crossland said.
According to the NPS website, it detailed the Pine Springs Visitor Center has reduced capacity of six at a time in the interior. During periods of high visitation, rangers may be at the porch for questions, information, and fees. Group campsites at the Pine Springs and Dog Canyon Campgrounds remain closed at this time.
The NPS website also states to be consistent with CDC recommendations that people who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces. Masks are required for everyone on all forms of public transportation.
There are more than 80 miles of hiking trails offered at the Guadalupe Mountains, which includes the “Top of Texas.” The Guadalupe Peak is the highest point in the state at 8,751 feet.