Sunday, April 05, 2009
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Yesterday we went to Carlsbad Caverns. We don't usually go out in search of caves but we seem to find them. We've been in caves in Ireland, Barbados and a few in Texas. This one in New Mexico is really quite spectacular. Can you say HUGE??? They even let you go on your own as long as you stay on the paved trail so we didn't pay for any of the ranger guided tours. We rented a hand held audio guide for $4 to give us more info. The descent into the cave is by way of the natural entrance and is 750 feet down which is equivalent to 79 stories! They warn you before you go down that is is physically grueling.
This is a view of the entrance where you can sit at dusk and watch the bats come out. We didn't stay for the bats. We've seen the bats in Austin, TX at the Congress Ave Bridge. The cavern closes at 5:00 and the bats don't come out until dusk which isn't until around 8:00. The town of Carlsbad is about 20 miles away and we didn't want to be on those winding roads after dark and then another 20 miles or so in the dark back to our campground.
The Natural Entrance
This is how you descend 750 feet to the bottom of the cave
Inside looking back
Down, down, down some more...
Some of the passageways are a little narrow
Stalactites (coming from the top)
When the caves first opened for public tours you were lowered in a bucket and then had to climb up and down stairs.
This was how they explored the cave in the early days (can you imagine???)
Stalagmite (they call this one The Giant)
This one's for Rod...
These are called Draperies
This is what you find at the bottom of the cave. Funny that they tell you no food or drinks in the cave because the smells will attract wildlife into the caves and yet they will sell you food.
Then you have to wait for the elevator to take you back to the top. Thanks goodness for an elevator!
This is how we ended the day...
It was a great day and it got us out of the wind. The outside of the caverns were very windy and the inside of the caverns were very humid so needless to say I came out with quite an interesting and different hairdo (NO pictures of that).
Today we're off to visit Roswell to check out the alien exhibit there. Should be another interesting day.