Sunday, December 12, 2010

THE Trip, Carlsbad Caverns

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

The drive from our campground just south of Carlsbad to the Caverns only took about 30 minutes or so.  On the way in we stopped at just a few of the turnouts/exhibits.  The first one, an Indian rock shelter, I think we enjoyed/liked the most.

After our drive up to the Visitors Center via Walnut Canyon Drive (7 miles) you take an elevator ride 750 foot down and step out into the caverns.  WOW.  Large, and deep in the earth.  Huge, ohh, that is large, only more so.

Short factoids:  The caverns were carved out not by running water and streams, but were dissolved by very aggressive sulfuric acid. The temperature in the caverns is an almost constant 56 degrees F.

Carlsbad Caverns, there are 8.2 acres in the Big Room, which you can visit on a self guided tour.  The paths are slip resistant, and have nice guard rails on both sides, all the way around.   There are no colored lights in Carlsbad, just a few spot lights here and there.  It is fairly dark, we tried using the hand held twilight feature on the Sony, outcome mixed, not as good as the Christmas lights in Grapeveine Texas.  Here are a few of the best.

Guard rail across the bottom.

Photo does not show the immense size.
Guard rail and walkway in lower left.

This area is called Chinese Theater

In the center, a pool of water.

Carlsbad Caverns, overwhelming in size and a bit overwhelming being that far under the surface.  It is a "you gotta see it in person to appreciate it".  My photos just do not do justice.  The lack of color in the caverns made it difficult to see details in the photos, the camera did not pick up what our eyes saw.  The colors were tones of whites, beige, browns,a little rust, some green where lights had encouraged the growth of algae. That said, I would not mind a re-do attempt!  Man and I only did the Big Room and only part of that.  Again, because it is so overwhelming, a re-do would allow us to see the back half of the Big Room where the Bottomless Pit and Mirror Lake are. 

**(And, Man, next time you have to feel 100% before we try this, but, would not have missed what we did, so so worth the time and effort. Mother Nature is really something, isn't she??)



Greta Koehl said...

Our visit to Carlsbad Caverns on the way to Texas to see my grandmother made a huge impression on me as a child. That has led me as an adult to want to stop and see all the caverns out here on the east coast. I just remember being overwhelmed by how big and beautiful the caverns were. Love reading your first impressions!

Karen said...

Awesome... do you know why/how there came to be sulfuric acid so deep within the earth? Is it normally there? Did you see any bats?

Carol said...

Karen, no bats, they are in Mexico right now, come back in the spring.

As far as your other question, Cavern is over 250 million years old. There was a 400 mile long reef in an island sea that covered this area. The sea evaporated, and there was some kind of uplift which created the Guadalupe Mountains. Then the description gets muddy for me, cause I am no scientist. LOL It says the mountains were pushed up and the cave was moved lower.

Nolichucky Roots said...

Thank you SO much for these shots and your impressions. LOVE the one with the pool especially. Carlsbad is high on the list of places I still want to see in the U.S. Some day...

Michelle Goodrum said...

I've always wanted to see Carlsbad Caverns. Your photos are beautiful.