From Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas, it’s only about 30 miles to Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, so we took a day trip from our camp and spent time in the Caverns. The park has a dog kennel, so I was able to board Rae (for $10) and was free to spend as much time in the Caverns as I wanted.
I choose to enter the caverns from the “natural entrance” outside of the visitor’s center (you could also take an elevator down). The decent is about 850 feet of elevation loss in about 1.25 miles, with the formations lit periodically along the way.
Even with the lighting, it was still pretty dark in there, and most of my pictures did not turn out that well, but it was really cool. Due to Covid, there were no guided tours, so I had to make due with the interpretive signs, but I know it would have been so much better to hear about how the cave was formed and how the different formations developed, etc. from an expert.
Sadly I did not take in the movie that was available at the visitor’s center, I usually do, but I kind of forgot about it. The movies are always so informative and help “set the stage” for your experience in the park, and it’s usually my first stop at a new park, so I’m disappointed that I missed it this time. Nonetheless, the whole experience in the cave was really awesome, and I don’t use that word lightly!
What I learned about the park:
You would think that I would learn, but for some reason, I didn’t think this park would be “all that”, boy was I wrong. Again, it reminds me that when a National Park is established, there is a really good reason for it. Never under estimate the amazement that awaits you at a National Park! Their “beauty” is diverse and some parks are big and some are small, but they never disappoint!
This park has a HUGE bat population, and from what I read, watching the bats leaving the caverns at dusk and then returning again at dawn is quite spectacular. I would like to return for another visit and see that! (although I had a similar experience with bats coming and going in and out of my house in Mukwonago, I never need to experience that again!)
Who the first European was that discovered the caverns is up for debate (of course indigenous folks have know about this cave forever), but one of the versions is that in 1898, a young cowboy (16 years old) was out tending his cattle and discovered the “natural entrance” of the caverns. can you imagine tripping across something like that?
What I learned about myself:
I am a bit claustrophobic and wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do the tour of the caverns. Even though the space was big inside the caves, I had to remind myself to just “breathe” every once in a while, to make sure I didn’t get too freaked out and not think too much about how deep in the earth I was.
It is a reminder of how much my mind can influence my physical reactions and can take control of me if I let it. I’m glad I went to this park and I really enjoyed it!
Some thoughts for you:
Just breathe sometimes… (smiley face with wink emoji)