Saturday, January 17, 2009

Carlsbad Caverns, NM

Another National Park -- with wonderful large caves. Spent a couple of days exploring...a few different ways.
The first day we went on a guided hike to the deepest part of the cave open to the public (King's Palace)-- with incredible formations. We took an elevator down 750 feet to begin the walk. Followed by a one-mile stroll around the perimeter of the largest room in the caverns.

This morning we took a more advanced tour -- from where all the photos from the last two entries were taken.
Quite a "field trip." Had to drive 23 miles past the Visitor's Center to get to the trail head -- and then up a steep hill to the cave entrance. (the sign explains it -- one-half mile, 500 feet of elevation. On uneven stone pathway.)

And here is the park description:

"The Slaughter Canyon Cave tour takes the adventurous visitor into an undeveloped cave without electricity or paved trails."

Strange formations and slippery walkways and the usual "blackout."
If you take cave tours, there are always extra flashlights and the rangers usually carry a couple a piece. When they get you in a small cave room and everyone is seated -- they ask everyone to turn out their lights. You really can't see your hand in front of our face.

But the formations, the minerals (calcite and gypsum), the enormous hardened piles of bat guano, the pictographs in this cave and the quirky history is what interests me.


Heather said...

Did you see the bats? We stayed at a local campground, so didn't see them swirl out of the cave, but right at dusk, we were beset by bats- the sky is just covered! I had a similar experience this summer, visiting in Australia, as the giant fruit bats (flying foxes) created a blanket about 20 feet above our heads. So amazing! I know, some people think icky, but I loved it! Hope you did too! Enjoy the rest of NM- I'm sure Taos is on your list- nice artsy community, lots of Georgia O'Keefe.

Barbara said...

It was not bat season -- didn't get to see any; they are migratory. I would have liked to see them as well as the flying foxes.

We left NM -- did spend a day in Santa Fe. Glad we saw the OKeefe museum on our last NM trip..didn't go this time. More time spent just walking Old Town and then checking out the new contemporay galleries in the Railway area.

And, alas, did not get to Taos -- because of the cold/weather -- and I haven't been there since 1971!!