Okay at 7,825 feet in elevation, comparatively, when stacked up against the Lost River Range, Idaho; the Sierra Nevada’s; the Teton’s of Wyoming; the St. Elias or Wrangell ranges in Alaska; the Volcanic Ranges in Washington and Oregon….not to mention just about all of Colorado and most of Utah…but it’s in Texas. So all these years I thought it was the 2nd tallest mountain in Texas, turns out its only the 14th tallest peak in Texas but it is the tallest in the Chisos Mountains at Big Bend National Park. That means when you stand on top, you can see into Mexico, the Rio Grande River and miles and miles of Southwest Texas desert. It’s beautiful up there.
Don’t let the Rocky Mountain state’s peak-bagging snobs look down their noses from 12,000 or 14,000 feet and claim Emory Peak to be merely a hill. Let some Colorado Rocky Mountain granola say, what? Texas…there ain’t no mountains there. ‘Cepting they probably wouldn’t use ain’t over yonder now would they? Bro, the most Salty One, Ben Swinney and I climbed Emory when he was maybe in High School and I must have been in like 7th or 8th grade, I dunno exactly but once I stood on top, the hook had been set, the sickness that brings the fever had been flamed, getting on top of high points would be a life-long passion. What’s not to sneeze at you non-Texans is that the Emory Peak climb is a 2,500 foot elevation gain to get to the top and a 10 mile round trip all in all. By Idaho standards that’s nothing to deride. That’s a climb my friends. Just imagine the view from the top…
At the top, there’s a scramble, to hear it described, it sounds more exposed than what I can recall it being. In fact I’m not sure if you had to even four point it or not to get to the top. But from two boys who had spent most of their time in the flatness of the metroplex of North Texas with barely any rolling hills, we might as well have been wearing oxygen tanks and heading up the Hillary Steppe to get to the top of Mount Everest.
For Mom and Dad, I’m grateful for you taking us there. For Ben, I’m grateful we made the sojourn up together. For the Mountains… I love you man!! It’s a passion. May we never stop or look back until you just keep going and there’s no more higher ground to gain. Emory Peak, a good thing.