Thousands to hike up Mt. Cristo Rey on Good Friday

EL PASO, Texas - The sun was not out yet, but people started trickling in to the base of Mt. Cristo Rey in Sunland Park, New Mexico, to make the trek up the mountain on Good Friday.

Good Friday is one of the holiest days on the Christian calendar, when Jesus Christ was crucified.

The borderland tradition draws out the faithful to the top of the mountain where a 29-foot limestone statue stands. ABC-7 spoke with hikers that said it's a time of reflection.

About 10,000 people are expected to attend.

"I've made it a family tradition for many years, we come up here twice a year. It's a spiritual uplifting," said Jimmy Alba.

ABC-7 spoke with several people who shared the same sentiments.

Religious groups showed up in the dozens, some carried guitars as they sang and prayed before making the five-mile round trip.

There is no charge to hike the mountain, but the Mt. Cristo Rey Restoration Committee does accept donations to help with the upkeep of the statue and the trail.

Ruben Escandon, the president of the committee said it is funded by donations. Mt. Cristo Rey is property owned by the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, but it does not financially support it.

"We solely survive on donations, so we ask that people be generous and help us out," said.

Escandon said the committee is also looking for volunteers.

Gates will remain open until 4pm Friday.

No pets are allowed and volunteers urge that you take plenty of water.

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