Caving into Carlsbad

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Muffy Clark Gill “Carlsbad 1” photograph

After traveling over 1500 miles in the Roge Mahal since the first of June, we were ready to see something completely different from the tropical greenery and foliage of south Florida.

We had traveled through the Gulf states through rain and then west through Texas. We finally reached Carlsbad, New Mexico about a week later than when we started for a three night stay. Located in the Southeast corner of New Mexico,it featured lots of bare treeless landscape thanks to the Chihuahuan Desert. What shade we could find was minimal. Our campground was west of the city along the road that was to lead us to Carlsbad Caverns National Park-another national park on our bucket list.

Part of our visit included visiting the Living Desert Museum and their collection of native plants and animals.

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I loved the weathered patterns in this ancient tree
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The temperature climbed at one point to a hot and dry 106 degrees —(we were definitely not in Florida anymore).
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The park features the largest collection of underground caverns in the US if not the world! Driving in to the park we saw a large herd of Bighorn Sheep crossing beside the entrance roadway.
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When reaching the visitor center, visitors have to book an advance appointment for a self guided tour and have the choice of descending down a mile and a quarter long passage or taking an elevator straight down to the bottom of the caverns-a depth equivalent to the height of the Empire State Building!
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The passages are a fairyland of stalactites, stalagmites, giant limestone columns and long dark passages. I had a field day taking pictures!
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“Doll Theater”
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This formation reminds me of a giant walrus

When reaching the bottom there are restrooms, a gift shop, information desk and a small lunch counter. They were built in the 1950’s and I felt like I was in a time warp! The restrooms were particularly interesting as they were situated in side by side caves with a dividing wall between the mens and ladies rooms. A small sewer plant was hidden nearby in another cave.

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After spending over two hours underground, we rode the elevator straight up and had lunch at the Visiting Center before heading to our next destination: Ruidoso, New Mexico.

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