A Day at the Caves

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Monday was a day at the Carlsbad Caves. A couple of weeks ago I wasn’t going. Caves do weird things to me. Call it claustrophobia. I was going to stay in the truck and read a book! By the time we actually went, I was looking forward to visiting this national monument. On the way down to Carlsbad, Ralph mention stopping for breakfast. I chimed in a big YES. I was hungry and it was almost 10 a.m. Dale had told Janet she couldn’t say the word NO all day. So she had to go! Dale was ify on it because he already had his usual granola/fruit/yogurt before we left. He wasn’t hungry.

We went to the place recommended to us “The No Whiner Diner” Alas, it wasn’t open on Monday’s. So we went back to the Pecos Cafe that we saw up the street. It was busy. We always look for lots of cars in the parking lot then we know it is good! We were quite surprised by their prices too. I had one egg, hashbrowns and2 pancakes for $3.75. The “I’m not hungry” man had corned beef has and eggs and toast and hashbrowns! And he eat it all.

After breakfast we went about 10 miles down the road to the Carlsbad Caverns in the Guadalupe Mountains. We climbed a little as we went up to the caverns but not like an Oregon mountain! As you can see, mostly desert looking with a few Soaptree Yucca’s, prickly pear and creosote bushes. We rounded the corner to construction. They are improving the road entrance, sidewalks and much more with the fees collected at the entrance to the caves.

The wonderful thing about this site is that our Senior Pass gets us in free. And speaking of that, the Forest Service ruled against the concessionaires and for the seniors and won’t change the 50% off at campgrounds! Yahoo!  And your admittance fee is good for 3 days at the caverns.

Ralph, Dale and I walked from the cave entrance to the Big Room below. We would walk 750 feet down into the cave. Janet took the elevator due to her hurting knees. She said the ride down (remember 750) was accomplished in about 3 seconds!

I will post some photo’s below. I have to say we were all in awe after our journey down into the bowels of the earth. It made us wonder what we walk on sometimes in the outdoors! This was an incredible place and guess what – no claustrophobia. Lots of air down there and open spaces. Light too but not enough to take away the “cave” feeling. The path down was paved with guard rails. I think Dale and I will go back before this week is out. Enjoy the photo’s and if you are in this part of the world, stop in. You won’t regret it. Please, don’t forget to take a flashlight! We didn’t and missed looking at what the rocks were made out of! Next time!

Oh, I forgot about the gift shop! Yes, we did purchase tee shirts, a hat for Dale and a New Mexico sticker and key chain for me.

That's me way down there. See that black hole? OOOHHHH!
Dale on the walkway.
Remember stalagmites and stalactite. See how they are formed http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalagmite
Another walkway to the Big Room. That is Ralph and me.
They call this a Lion's Tail. This stalactite has what is called "popcorn" on the end of it.
This was titled "The Chinese Theater" Look closely and you can see an oriental flair.
A huge stalagmite reaching for the ceiling or to join to a stalactite.
The development of all this dripping water and minerals created a wonderland 750 feet below the surface of the earth!
These stalagmites stand tall and strong. It probably took thousands of years to make these dudes!
See how long the Big Room is? We walked 1.3 miles around this cavern.

The Big Room, a natural limestone chamber which is almost 4,000 feet (about 1,219 m) long, 625 feet (190.5 m) wide, and 350 feet (about 107 m) high at the highest point. The Big Room is the 3rd largest in the Americas and 7th largest in the world.

History

From a young age, Jim White explored the caverns with his homemade wire ladder. When he grew older, most people did not even believe such caves existed. He gave many of the rooms their names, including the Big Room, New Mexico Room, King’s Palace, Queen’s Chamber, Papoose Room, and Green Lake Room. He also named many of the cave’s more prominent formations, such as the Totem Pole, Witch’s Finger, Giant Dome, Bottomless Pit, Fairyland, Iceberg Rock, Temple of the Sun, and Rock of Ages.

While riding his horse through the Chihuahuan Desert looking for stray cattle with a fence mending crew for the Lucas brothers, Jim saw a plume of bats rising from the desert hills. It appeared to be a volcano, or a whirlwind but did not behave quite like either.He tied his horse to a nearby tree and worked his way through the brush to the edge of a large opening in the ground. Jim described the moment by saying, “I found myself gazing into the biggest and blackest hole I had ever seen, out of which the bats seemed literally to boil”.

Read all about Jim White’s exploration http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Larkin_White

And how do you pronounce Chihuahuan? (chee-wow-wahn)

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