Saturday, September 19, 2015 : Carlsbad Caverns, Guadalupe Mountains


Last night's weather forecast was right, this morning in Carlsbad is grey and cool. To visit a cave, this should not be an issue.


Carlsbad Caverns, The Big Room

Carlsbad Caverns, The Big Room

 

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is only 18 miles away, we make it there fast. After the visitor center and the film, we hesitate : should we use the elevator, or walk down into the caves ? Eventually, the foot descent wins. We leave the human world for the world of underground creatures. We de not see many of them : the famous Carlsbad Caverns bats only fly out at sunset.

 

The first part of the visit consists in walking down about 800 ft through a series of caves quite rich in various formations : stalactites, stalagmites, columns, draperies ... And yet, this is supposed to be the dull part of the visit ! We actually have seen nothing yet.


Carlsbad Caverns, The Big Room

Carlsbad Caverns, The Big Room

 

At the end of the descent, we make it into the Big Room, which is really immense, 1.5 mi. in walking distance. The density in limestone formations of all kinds is astonishing, there are lots of them, up, down, everywhere, and they are all beautiful. After some experimentation to understand the specific light of the caves, Marie takes pictures at full throttle : almost 240 overall. I have a hard time to make my selection.

 

We get back to the surface early in the afternoon. Weather has not gotten any better, and it's pouring when we reach Guadalupe Mountains National Park, quite close. Our visit sticks to the essentials : the visitor center, the presentation film, a chat with the ranger on duty, a few pictures, and that's it. Too bad, this beautiful mountain range deserves a lot better. But the pouring rain has drowned our motivation.

 

We wrap up the day in Van Horn, one of this countless small cities in Deep America, which has obviously had better days, until the Interstate diverted most of the traffic around the city center.