A friend and I are making plans to summit Mt. Livermore and Baldy Peak in the Davis Mountain range. Baldy Peak (atop Mt. Livermore) is the highest point in the Davis Mountains. Access to the summit is limited due to the fact that nearly all of the Davis Mountain range sits on private land. The majority of Mt. Livermore is actually owned by The Nature Conservancy, an organization dedicated to preserving nature. The Nature Conservancy is a mighty fine organization. Only one thing truly irritates me about the conservancy…they don’t like to share. Public access to TNC land is limited to a few weekends a year making it difficult to find time to hike. I appreciate what TNC is doing and believe that preserving the last few truly wild places in this world is a worthy endeavor. I just don’t know what good all of it is if they won’t let us enjoy it. Seems there ought to be a way to police potential hikers from upsetting their mission. But I won’t get into that. As I said before we want to summit the peak and fortunately for my friend and I, Livermore Ranch owns the rest of the Mountain with access to the summit.
I called Livermore ranch the other day to schedule a time when I could come check out their facilities. Some folks at church are looking for a place to have a spring retreat and Livermore Ranch just might be the place. I have been sent to go scope it out and see if it will work for our retreat needs. I haven’t asked the owner yet… but I hope he will let us summit after a tour of the facility. Looks like we will be heading out there the Thursday before thanksgiving if the owner and my wife will let us (I have yet to ask either if I can go).
A little information about Mt. Livermore. At 8,373 feet Baldy Peak is the fifth highest point in Texas with the four higher peaks all residing in the Guadalupe Mountain Range. Baldy Peak is the name of the highest protruding crest on Mt. Livermore which is considered to have its own summit (8,206 feet) apart from Baldy Peak. The slopes of Mt. Livermore have been described as a “Sky-island” because the plants and animals that live above 5,000 feet are isolated from other mountain ecology by vast distances. Surrounding the mountains is the vast Chihuahuan desert. When hiking to similar “Sky-islands” in the Guadalupe and Chisos mountain ranges I have been amazed at how you can actually see yourself passing into another ecological realm.
Mt. Livermore and the Davis Mountains are reported to be the home of a vast range of plant and animal life. Ponderosa pine, quaking aspens, pinyon pine, gray oak, alligator juniper, and mountain mahogany are among some of the plants isolated from the desert by elevation. Among the slopes of Mt. Livermore you may also find black bear and mountain lion, Black-hawk, Golden Eagle, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, and Montezuma Quail. Some species cannot be found anywhere else in Texas.
Mt. Livermore and the Davis Mountains are truly unique, beautiful places. If and when I get the opportunity to climb this mountain island I will be sure and share the experience here.