The main reason for our New Mexico road trip was a visit to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. This entry is one year late but as they say, better late than never. 🙂
Travel time from Roswell, is just 2 hours via Highway 285. Yes, we went to Roswell too and saw a lot of “aliens”. But that’s for another story. 🙂 So be sure to come back sometime in the future.
Highway 285 has mostly dessert views with a lot of oil pumps, cashew nuts orchard and then Brantley Lake State Park as we entered Carlsbad.
Cashew Nuts Orchard.
Since it was almost lunch time when we arrived at the nearest town to the park, we decided to stop in IHOP. The hubby loves their pancakes. While I look forward to their hot choco and steak. I know that’s sort of a weird combination, but well I love both. 🙂 So why not…
After our delicious lunch, we proceeded to the park.
From the entrance, the visitor center is still 2-3 miles away, passing through a remote and winding road. If not for the welcome signage , one would think that you are lost. We found the Visitor Center eventually. You can’t miss it as it sits on top of the hill.
The Center consisted of a nice welcome area, a restaurant and a gift shop. There is also a museum that showcases the cavern and their new finds.
At 1200 feet beneath the desert, the rangers found Lechugilla Cave, which they dubbed as the Crystal Palace. This is a protected area and at 135 miles, they are still continuously studying and exploring the said cave. Maybe one day, it will be opened to the public.
After purchasing our ticket for our next day visit, we left the Visitor Center and went to our hotel. Our home for the next two nights – Wyndhams’ Super 8 Hotel.
This is a simple and cheap hotel but the rooms are large and clean. The booking comes with free breakfast too. Plus it is the nearest hotel to Carlsbad National Park.
After breakfast, we left the hotel for the park. We just presented our tickets and before we went to the cave, the ranger in-charge had to check our shoes and decontaminated it, to protect the bats in the area. I believe that they do such to travelers who have been to another caves in America within the last 6 months. We were in Fantastic Caverns in Missouri sometime in October of 2015. So being there on April of 2016 made it still on the 6 month danger period for the White Nose Syndrome.
Hence, the decontamination. That’s to ensure that the bats in this cave are protected.
Moving on , normally there is an elevator that will take the visitors to their receiving area at the bottom of the cave. But with our luck, of course it was under repair that month. 🙂 So we walked down to what the rangers said, is equivalent to 80 stories tower or building. Yes that deep. And of course, we will have to go back up the same way. The hubby and I actually asked ourselves if we will be able to make it. We thought that we had one day to do it so we should be okay. Maybe. 🙂 We are not that young anymore you see. Plus we have no prior preparations (exercise and the likes) for this exhausting adventure. Oh well, we will find out I guess. ha ha
The slow descent. This is at the entrance of the cave.
Birds flying around.
The Devil’s Spring. This is really not a spring. It is a pool of water droplets.
Huge stalactite that eventually reached the cave floor. They call this type – a column.
Visitor Center / Restaurant inside the cavern. There are chairs here so it’s a perfect stop to take a breather. This is where we wondered if we can make it back to the top after the tour. Seriously.
A few minutes walk from the visitor center is the King Room. With all the chandeliers inside, this portion looks like a palace. I recommend that you pay the extra fee for the ranger to guide you to this tour. It is more than worth the trip.
The Queen’s Chamber is also a must see. Huge draperies and columns are there. We looked so small compared to the stalactites and stalagmites here.
Our ranger guide. I saw how much she loves her job. 🙂
These type of stalactites are called Popcorns.
The Green Lake. I read that this is 8ft deep.
Hall of the Giants.
This is one of my favorites. It’s like a small elfin kingdom. 🙂
The Mirror Lake.
This looks like an ice cream cone. 🙂 The hubby looks small compared to this giant.
Another favorite. Beautiful right?
Draperies. It looks like an elephant tusk.
In some places, the entrance is so small. Took this picture on our way up.
We decided that we will just take our time. Walk slowly until we reach the top. Rest if we cannot breath anymore. Continue our ascent. Rest again if we must. Walk again. I cannot remember how many times we stopped going up. It wasn’t easy to climb 80 stories right? And that’s how high this cavern from the bottom to the top.
Look how happy I was when we finally reached the main entrance! 🙂 This is why I bought a T-shirt from their gift shop, that said – I SURVIVED CARLSBAD CAVERNS.
Believe me, it was an achievement on my part. 🙂
As we walked towards the visitor back, the hubby took this photo of me and the squirrel. haha
For more details of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, please check their website. – https://www.nps.gov/cave/index.htm
You will find a lot of helpful tips from there.
Carlsbad Caverns is located in Eddy Country, New Mexico, U.S.A.
If you like adventure, I recommend that you take this trip. It is by far the most beautiful cave I have visited.
I thank God for the chance to visit this amazing place. 🙂