Saturday, November 22, 2014

Carlsbad Caverns National Park - New Mexico

After traveling to old Mexico this summer, we decided to try out New Mexico.

Frankie, our friend, Mike, and I packed our bags and headed 400 plus miles west to Carlsbad Cavern National Park in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Although it says the caverns are in Carlsbad, we never actually made it to the town of Carlsbad.  The town that we turned at to get to the caverns is called White City.  I don't really think it is an actual town.  According to the 2010 census there was a population of seven.  There is a small grocery store, places to spend the night, and a souvenir shop.  That about covers it.

Did I mention the aliens??  They must be the welcome committee.

White City NM Welcome Committee

So maybe there is really only a populations of five legal residents??

While we were there, we saw about four suburbans with dark windows and government licence plates parked outside the restrooms.  There were several men in suits wearing earpieces and dark sunglasses standing around them.  Then they all got in the vehicles and drove off.  Ummm.....what in the world?????? 

With no explanation, because I can't give you one, let's move on.


Is something behind me?

I feel like something is behind me!

Speaking of behinds.....

Ok, so the place we stopped at had some good photo ops, what can say?!  It's a neat little place!

Once we got back on the road, there was an uphill curvy road to get to the entrance of the national park.

Carlsbad Caverns Sign

The view from the entrance is fairly spectacular.  It may be brown.  It may be fairly flat in the great beyond. It may be desert, but the vastness is something to marvel over!

View from Carlsbad Caverns

We paid the entrance fee at the welcome center/souvenir shop/museum/restaurant/ and were on our way to the caverns.  It is a slight hike but a paved one.  The actual entrance to the caverns is steep and windy.

Oh man, that word makes it looks like there was a lot of wind instead of it meaning curvy.  Stupid confusing English!

But if you look at the picture, I think it is easy to see which is meant!

Walking Down into the Cavern

We decided to take the long tour, because we believe in getting our moneys worth, plus we have the fortunate good health to walk it all..walk all the downward part, anyways.  We went deep underground and thankfully there is an elevator that whisked us right back to the top.  We could have walked back up the way we came...yep we sure could have....but I don't see that EVER happening!

The park has done a lot of work to make the caverns accessible to as many people as possible.  And they have lots in place to help you learn more about it.  There was one plaque that told how when the cavern first came into popularity in the 1920's there were no elevators, paved walkways, and the lighting was primitive.  They walked down stairs to get in and they walked right back up those stairs to get out.  A tour at that time took up to five hours to see the caverns!

We were in there for over three hours as it was!  That including a short break at the cavern cafe and no walking back out the way we came.

We knew it would be cooler in the caverns and thought about taking a jacket.  Frankie and I never put one on though.  A sign at the beginning stated that it stayed 59 degrees Fahrenheit or 13 degrees Celsius year round with a humidity level of 90%.  Since we were walking most of the time, the humidity kept us from getting cold.

The cold and humid atmosphere coupled with the scenery gave the place a strange feeling.  It was like being on the set of some alien movie.  I will leave you with a few pictures from inside the cavern.  It does start to look all the same once you have been there awhile, but it was still fascinating to see it all!

Popcorn Stalagmite-Carlsbad Cavern

Hall of Gaints-Carlsbad Caverns

Stalatites-Carlsbad Caverns

Once done we got back on the road and headed east to the state that we love. No offense, New Mexico, but you just aren't home.

We didn't just go home after this, we headed to Big Bend National Park.  But that is a post for another day.

Until then!