Day 8 & 9: Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Trip Start Jul 01, 2008
Trip End Sep 27, 2008

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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Thursday, July 10, 2008

I am going to start this entry backwards because after two days of intermittent showers my brain has gone soggy. We set off for the Carlsbad Caverns from our campground after Matt got the lowdown from a fellow camper or two at breakfast - all guided tours of the caves were booked out already. Lucky there was plenty of room for self-guided tours, which was probably all we could have managed anyway. The Caverns are 750 feet underground, below the Chihuahuan Desert and Guadalupe Mountains in southeastern NM, formed by sulphuric acid eating away at the limestone leaving an abundance of stalagmites and stalactites.  I thought the kids might find the idea of travelling down 750 feet in an elevator a little disconcerting, but they didn't seem bothered at all and once we stepped out into the caves they were as amazed as Matt & I. They are spectacular and Matt has the photo count to prove it, but the 2 mile round hike carrying Tom (and reminding him that he was supposed to whisper) got a little tedious after a while. We indulged the kids desire to do as the roadway sign suggested ... Eat at 750 feet underground which was a novelty. We have just returned from a 2 hr return trip to the Caves hoping to catch the bat show - 400,000 thousand Mexican free-tail bats exiting the caves in search of insects, but sadly for the second night running they had to cancel due to lightning. So we told the kids bat stories over Milo instead.

Yesterday was an interesting day on a completely different track. After departing Santa Fe our first stop was Roswell, one of Matt's 'must-see' destination points. It seemed a long way off the beaten track to me, just to see some alfoil in a case on the wall, but Matt enjoyed the experience and got himself the T-shirt. Aviva seemed fascinated at the time but clearly took in way too much information and spent the night reliving her worst Alien nightmares.

Tomorrow we move onto US state number 5: Texas!
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