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Every year, my wife and I try to take each of our kids on a “long-distance” date where we can spend one on one time with each of our kids, for a weekend or two.  It’s a good time to be one on one.  You can read some of my past trips with my son to Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon or my daughter and I in New York City

[READ MORE: 3 tricks to visit Hoover Dam for free]

[READ MORE: 4 mistakes my Dad made in New York City (don’t let this happen to you!]

Heading to West Texas

My oldest son is heading to Philmont with his Boy Scout troop this summer, so we thought we would use our trip to train for some of the hiking that they will be doing there.  We decided to head to Guadalupe Peak, which is the highest point in Texas (8,751 feet).

Pic by FredlyFish4  CC BY-SA 3.0

I have previously been to the state high points of Ohio (Campbell Hill), Indiana (Hoosier Hill) and Tennessee (Clingman’s Dome) – see below for the fam at Campbell Hill.  The one thing I remember most about that trip is that even though we were in the middle of nowhere at like 10 a.m. on a weekday, there were 2 people that had ALREADY BEEN THERE AND SIGNED THE LOG THAT SAME DAY!


Though this would be the first state high point that would require any type of actual hiking – as you might imagine, the rugged topography of Ohio does not lend itself to too many vigorous hikes – in fact you can pretty much drive up to the top of Campbell Hill 🙂

Travel plans

Here is the beauty of miles and points – we can do this trip very inexpensively.  I wouldn’t call our travel “free”, but it is no more expensive than a weekend anywhere else really

  • Flights CVG-DFW – 7500 Avios + $5.60 per person.  We did look at flying into El Paso but it was hard to find saver availability that lined up and plus, you don’t get to count the counties visited when you’re flying over them – too hard to read the “Welcome to County” signs at 30,000 feet
  • Hotels – we are currently booked in 1 Category 1 Candlewood Suites (10K IHG), 1 Category 2 Holiday Inn Express (15K IHG) and an 11K La Quinta.  Have not booked our 4th night but it will probably be another La Quinta (finally getting some use out of those LQ Stay and Play points from 3 years ago!!)
  • Car – we have Autoslash on the case – currently for 4ish days of car it’s about $176 total, which we’ll probably use Arrival points for.
  • Gas and meals will be a cost of course

Things to do on our West Texas trip

We’ve identified the following things that we’re planning on doing while we are in West Texas

  • Hiking Guadalupe Peak.  This will be my son’s “10 mile” hike for his Hiking merit badge.  The main trail is only about 8.7 miles roundtrip so we’re taking the “horse trail” to add the extra distance
  • Carlsbad Caverns
  • Counties!  We’ll fill in 47 counties more towards my quest to visit all 3,143 counties in the United States (pictured in gray)


  • One of those counties is Loving County, Texas, which is the least populated county in the United States.  Its current population is 82.
  • And of course we’ll be following Road Trip Rule #1

Any readers have any other suggestions of things to do in the area?

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