If you are ever in Carlsbad, New Mexico and need your truck worked on, we highly recommend Carlsbad Ford. This morning we were put at the top of the list for repairs, they ran all the diagnostics on our truck and by 2:00 p.m. the truck was ready to roll. Very nice service.
Our stay in Carlsbad is at Carlsbad RV Park and Campground, a Good Sam park. We are thankful to be here instead of the RV park in Whites City which is closer to Carlsbad Caverns. (Our tow truck driver told us if our reservations had been at the Whites City RV park, he could not have towed us in because you have to go through a wash to get to the sites.)
|Rigamarole with The Beast back at her side.|
|Looking down the row at Carlsbad RV Park|
Carlsbad Caverns: With will call tickets for a 10:00 a.m. King's Palace tour waiting for us at the Visitor Center, we arrived earlier than the recommended time of 9:30 a.m. While we waited, we perused the displays in the Visitor Center. The main elevators are being repaired, so smaller elevators are in place which may cause a wait to get into the caverns.
At 10:00 a.m., Ranger Suzanne started our tour. A huge hole in the ground filled with wonders awaited.
|Stalagmites with cave popcorn.|
|Draperies and stalactites|
|Cave waterfall and flowstone|
The following formation reminds me of jellyfish or the aliens from "District 9."
When we finished lunch, it was back down into the caverns armed with $5 audio tour devices to walk the one-mile Big Room Tour and the 1-1/4 mile, 750' Natural Entrance Tour. If you go to the Caverns, a minimum of the Big Room Tour is what we'd recommend. There are some ups and downs, but it's pretty mellow. What's spectacular are the formations you'll see in that one mile! (Double-click to make photos larger.)
|Cave drapery stalactites|
|Rock of Ages|
Another fascinating fact we found is that most caves are formed by carbonic acid which is slow to dissolve limestone. Carlsbad Caverns, on the other hand, because of petroleum beneath the caves, has been eroded by sulfuric acid, which is much faster at eroding limestone.
As soon as we finished up the Big Cave Tour, we used the restrooms one last time before heading out of the cave up the 750' Natural Entrance Trail. When we got to the start of the Natural Entrance Trail, the sign said "Closed."
A ranger was standing nearby and we said, "When did the trail close?"
He replied, "At 2:30."
I pouted a little and said, "What time is it now?"
He said, "2:30."
I said, "Can we still go? We'll be fast." (They want everyone out of the Natural Entrance Trail by 3:30 p.m.)
He looked us over and said, "Sure."
We took off going pretty fast at the bottom. Then we got to the uphill part! Yikes, when they say it goes up 750' they aren't kidding. It's very steep. But we huffed and we puffed and kept going up and up, still listening to our audio tour as we went. I didn't think it was ever going to end. Eventually, we saw the light coming in the natural entrance and knew we didn't have too much farther to go. It was still all uphill switchbacks, however. We made it to the top and through the gates with ten minutes to spare. I'm glad we did it.
|More cool formations|
|Finally! The natural opening.|
|Trying to do Bat Mask - epic fail.|
|Looking down at the trail we just came up.|
|If you enlarge photo, bright white specks are cave swallows.|
|Our rental Yaris in Caverns parking lot.|
|The peppy little Yaris rental.|
|No Whiner Diner|
|Loved this photo of Amelia Earhart over Oakland.|
|No Whiner Diner|
Travel Bug out.