Saturday, March 15, 2014

Carlsbad Caverns

On Wednesday (Mar  12) we moved northward into New Mexico to Brantley Lake State Park.  The park has nice sites over looking the lake with water and 30amp electric hookups. We did some Wednesday afternoon grocery shopping in nearby Carlsbad.  On Friday morning, we visited Carlsbad Caverns National Park. 

There are some good educational displays in the park visitor center with plenty of parking  (even for RVs). 

The caverns lie more than 750 feet under the visitor center.  There are elevators, but some visitors opt to walk the trail down from the natural entrance.  We took the elevator. One of the  younger elevator riders said that he had tried the walking descent twice but turned back each time because of his fear of heights.

Photos cannot possibly to justice to the beauty and grandeur of this cave.  In fact, the work "cave" hardly describes the under ground rooms.  The largest "room" is the largest underground room in north america.  The total square footage exceeds that of 6 football fields!

 There is very subdued lighting in the cavern.  Therefore it was very difficult to get clear pictures. Flash photography is permitted.  However, the flat lighting of a flash ruins most of the effect of the installed back lighting.

Also there is no way photos can impart of feeling induced by the scale of the objects.

Many of the stalagmites and stalagtites were as much as 6 stories high!

The caverns used to have a snack bar in caverns at the elevator.  The facility is limited nowadays to coffee and soft drinks while a full service cafeteria is on the surface as a part of the visitor center.

The self-guided tour basically is a walkway which transits the perimeter of at least five rooms.  A slow walk on this path takes at least one hour.  The signs on the walkway indicate that the tourist accessible portion  of caverns represents only a small portion.  There is apparantly a large number of rooms at levels lower than what the public gets to see

We spent about 4-5 hours at the park, enjoying a picnic lunch before returning to Brantley Lake.

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