Carlsbad Caverns Day

Trip Start Nov 23, 2009
Trip End Mar 01, 2010

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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cool crisp sunny morning as we rolled out of our Van Horn hotel. We had slept well and gotten an early start. As we crossed the Texas/New Mexico border, El Capitan appeared (see photo). This mountain juts up 1000 feet above the surrounding area. Guadalupe Mountains are also a National Park and we stopped into the visitor center. The park service guy said this is mostly a hikers park with pine forests hidden beyond the desert landscape seen from the road. This visitor center has interesting displays including stuffed bobcats, wolfs, coyote and birds of the area. And pictures of other wild things including an exotic bug that has a sting that paralyzes tarantulas. 

We arrived at the Carlsbad Caverns National Park to find throngs of tourist who arrived by the bus load. We picked up tickets for the main (Big Room Route) cave and descended the 1.5 mile natural (walk-in) entrance. Most enter by taking the elevator down. Therefore, most of our journey through the labyrinth was among just a few. The cave system is impressive and we took many pictures of the speleothems. Michelle's Sony camera did a good job when we used the tripod and without a flash...relying on illumination provide by the Park Service. However, the grand scale of the caverns, with its endless successive layers of rock formations, cannot be captured with just a snap shot. Upon completing the 3 mile self-guided route, we ascended 800 feet in less than a minute back to the visitor center where we had started hours before. There are many other tours and other parts of the cave system to explore. This as enough for us digest at one time.

Continuing on from the Caverns, we stopped in Roswell for the night so we would arrive at the next segment of our scenic drive in the day light. 
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