Carlsbad Caverns, NM
Carlsbad Caverns was formed over 4 million years ago and is one of the best preserved and most accessible cave complexes in the world. It is hard to capture in a photograph the enormity (imagine a 60 story building going straight underground) of the cavern and also the low lighting levels make it difficult to photograph. This was our second visit and I feel like we experienced it in a new way, it wasn’t like “oh I’ve seen this before.” Awe inspiring in the complexity of the various formations and the sheer size of it all, this should be on your bucket list! It’s actually on the “world’s bucket list” as it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (joining the ranks of the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu, the Great Wall of China, and the Palace of Versailles to name a few). Carlsbad Caverns is part of the national park system, so they accept the national park pass, otherwise, admission is only $15pp. You can enter the caverns one of two ways, either the natural entrance, a long, winding, steep trail or by elevator. We came in through the natural entrance (pictured above), but exited through the elevator. Our visit was delayed a few days due to my mourning the hail damage to our Airstream. However, I decided that I need to accept what has happened, figure out how to get it fixed and move on.
We had time to fill on a rainy Sunday in Carlsbad, NM, so we decided to visit the Carlsbad Living Desert and Zoo. It’s more desert than zoo (having come from a city that has a world renowned zoo, maybe I am a bit of a zoo snob). There was a huge variety of cactus along with birds, a painting bear (we missed seeing this, maybe he was sleeping), cougar and a few other small animals. Of the selection, the great horned owl and roadrunner were my favorite. The prickly pear cactus were in bloom with beautiful yellow flowers bursting from their paddle shaped stems. The barrel cactus were also blooming in response to the recent rains. The park is located high on a hillside and the cool, rainy, breezy day was the perfect time to visit.
Ugghhh…this crazy New Mexico weather! One minute it’s 90 degrees and you are thinking about taking a dip in the pool to cool off, the next some giant thunder/lightening/hail storm comes rolling in! Strong winds that whip up at a moments notice help to keep you guessing what’s next. On Saturday I was making sausage/egg biscuit sandwiches for dinner (as mentioned above, I was mourning!) and the sunny sky started turning black and then we were hearing these loud booms. The booms were coming over and over and we went out to investigate. A campground ranger was coming by and explained that the large pecan farm next to the campground had weather canons that fired bursts of air into the atmosphere in an attempt to break up the storm clouds. This went on for hours, but must have worked, because the worst of it passed by us and we later heard tornados were spotted just 50 miles from us, south of Roswell. The other thing about these storms is that the rain is SALTY, like super salty! Our truck is covered in white salt. Joel and I spent hours washing it off on Sunday and guess what? Yup, covered in salt again. We are leaving tomorrow morning. 🙂