Mount Cristo Rey

In my continued quest for adventure in El Paso I have found yet another. It is a hike up and around a mountain that lies directly on the border of the U.S. and Mexico. This mountain is so precisely fixed in the middle of the two countries that, once you get to the top, you can see how the border fence is forced to stop once it runs into the mountain sides.I found the hike highlighted in the local what’s happening paper, and realized I’d been driving by it everyday, twice a day, without realizing what it was. Just south of I-10 near UTEP you can see a giant cross on the top of a mountain and a path that appears to wind up to it. Each time I drove past it I gave it a glance assuming it was a pilgrimage site in Mexico. Imagine my joy when I found out it was in New Mexico!Mount Cristo Rey. It all began with a priest and a dream. In 1933, Fr. Lourdes Costa admired the mountain just beyond his lovely El Paso home. He decided it was so majestic it deserved to be topped with a monument to Christ. With the help of his parish by 1939, his dream was complete. Built from 40 tons of limestone, 4,675 feet in the sky, stands a 29 ft tall statue. Christian or not, after the 4.5 mile hike it is a proud sight to behold. This is especially true as one’s admiration for the monument is sustained by the mountain top views. On a standard sunny day, one can see through El Paso or into Mexico for miles.Making the hike seem even more adventurous is the giant sign that greets you in the parking lot warning you to call the police to register yourself before you begin and call them again to sign out. They want to make sure if you go you come back. I’ve lived in this border town for almost three years, but this experience was a first for me. Being the tenderfoot that I am, after calling the police to check in, I double-checked with the border patrol agent parked by the gate to make sure this trek was a good idea for a pregnant lady. The chatty agent explained that he can only patrol the U.S. side, and that once the trail leads you around the back you are technically in Mexico. It doesn’t occur frequently, but it has happened in the past that bandits will run up the Mexico side and rob hikers at gunpoint. Yikes! This detail aside, he said it’s a beautiful hike and worth the exercise. I left my wallet and rings locked in the glove box and gave it a go. Don’t worry mom. I didn’t go by myself 2o weeks pregnant.  

Day Date!!




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