Saturday, August 31, 2013
Did you know that Carlsbad Caverns is actually not in Carlsbad, New Mexico? We didn't either. We planned our trip home from Ruidoso to go through Carlsbad so we could hit up the caverns and see what the caves had to offer. Unfortunately the caverns are actually a little less than an hour away just outside of White's City (which is really just a handful of touristy buildings outside the entrance to Carlsbad Caverns National Park). After a little debate on just how late at night we were willing to arrive at home, we decided to cave it up. Worth it for sure.
Carlsbad Caverns is in what I'd call the foothills of the Guadalupe Mountains. You're basically in the middle of the desert, but I think it's beautiful. You can see for miles on top of the hill the park headquarters is on.
When you go down into the caves, the temperature drops dirastically. It was like 95 degrees out, but year round the caves are at about 56 degrees, and extra humid. You can either take an elevator down, or hike in. We hiked in but caught the elevator up.
We had to change from our summer gear to pants and sweaters. It really is pretty chilly down there, and soooo damp.
There's a colony of Mexican free-tailed bats that live in the caves all summer and you can watch them fly out for the evening nightly. Ironically, we overheard a cashier telling some folks that the drought has been so bad that many of the bats had left the caverns for... AUSTIN, TX. They're all under the South Congress bridge. I felt a little guilty.
We didn't hang around to see the bats, but we did explore the caves and it was pretty dang neat. I've been to caves before (I basically grew up on top of Natural Bridge Caverns), but not in a good decade. It was very awe inspiring and a little magical. We were keeping an eye out for the American Gringotts Bank. I bet if we weren't such muggles we would have seen a goblin or two.
The drive in and out of the park is very pretty. We stopped to take a few pictures, but we didn't last long outside of the car. It was hot as heck outside and we were still feeling spoiled by the cool mountains. But there is something to be said for the desert. It's beautiful and wild and one of the many reasons I love New Mexico.
Our drive back to Texas was smooth and uneventful. And very very very long. But thankfully the speed limit was eighty most of the way so I think we made good time. We chased a storm all the way home and though we drove on damp roads, it never rained on us.
And that's the last New Mexico vacation post. This was a perfect vacation. I loved every minute of it with Brendon and can't wait to get back to the Land of Enchantment. We jumped back into reality on Monday and it was a little rough. And Brendon started school Wednesday, so you know that sucks. It's been a not so great week, but anything compared to our week in New Mexico would seem a little lame. All I'm saying is, when's our next vacay?