Friday, March 31, 2017

Texas-New Mexico Vacation: Day 6 - On to Carlsbad Caverns

It was time to leave Texas and drive to southeastern New Mexico. But first, Kai and I made one more round of Marathon, TX at dawn to catch a few more Pokemon. Kai was especially happy this morning as we found a rare Pokemon.

After breakfast, we drove all morning, and traffic was surprisingly heavy with trucks. But we made it to New Mexico and had lunch at a Mexican restaurant near Carlsbad Caverns.

And then we headed over to the national park.

On this day, we took the self-guided walking tour. We walked down the Natural Entrance trail.

At this point, we had no idea how deep we would go. It seemed as if every time we thought we had gone far down into the cave, the trail would continue even deeper. Altogether we went down 750 feet.

When we got into the cave, our mouths gaped open in wonder, and stayed that way the whole time we were in there. Words cannot adequately describe how spectacular this wonder was.

The following photo shows the view looking down as we were walking down the trail.

I was pleased with how my photos turned out, but even still they totally fail to capture the grandeur of the cave. The photos can't begin to show how long large the cave was, but also don't do justice to the beauty that was everywhere you looked.

Kai seemed to really enjoy the experience.

The Natural Entrance trail connected to the Big Room trail.

We walked quite a bit, but with minimal complaints from Kai. Toward the end he got what seemed to be a shin splint, but fortunately he was able to complete the walk.

Altogether, we were in the cave for about 3 hours.

Many areas within the cave were given names by the first explorers. This is an area called fairyland.

The following are some of my favorite photos from inside the cave.

This next photo was taken in an area of the Big Room known as the zoo as many formations are like animals you would see in a zoo.

Carlsbad Caverns is not convenient to any big cities. But I encourage everyone to put a visit here on your bucket list. You won't be disappointed.

After we left the cave, we went to our motel. We were disappointed that the outdoor pool was not open. The man at the front desk said it was too early in the season for the pool. I thought that was odd as the temperature was in the 80s and one of the main reasons we chose this motel was the photos of the water slides they have.

Kai got over his disappointment quickly as we went out to look for Pokemon.

We had dinner at a Chinese buffet restaurant as we wanted something different from all the Mexican and barbecues we had eaten.

We closed our day by returning to Carlsbad Caverns for the nightly flight of the bats out of the cave. It was still a bit early in the season, but we had heard that because of the warmer weather this year, the bats returned earlier than usual. At about sundown, they all fly out of the cave to feed at night.

There was a small crowd gathered. No photography is permitted.

A little after sundown, a few bats emerged. But compared to the bat flight we had seen earlier in the week in Austin, this was disappointing. The number of bats were far fewer, and they emerged from the cave very sporadically instead of in one large mass. I wanted to wait to see if a bigger bunch would emerge later. But as it got darker and darker, the number of bat did not increase. The crowd started to disperse and Kai was anxious to leave. I don't know if more bats emerged later, but we decided to call it a night.

Still, it was a fantastic day as the cave was a phenomenal experience. And we would experience more of it the next day.


  1. There is a huge difference between the bat flight now...and those of 20 years ago. The bat disease has wiped out a large number of bats around the US. My favorites were the colored lights in the caverns.

    1. I wonder if there are more bats later in the season as we were there pretty early. Or, if we just didn't wait long enough for them to emerge. We were happy that we got to see the bats in Austin, and the rest of the cave was fantastic.


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