Some twenty-eight years ago when Phil and I were getting to know each other he told me about 'Carlsbad Caverns'. His first visit was when he was twelve year old. He still carries the pull of this far away place. Could it really be that amazing?
We were on the road before sunrise to make the long drive as we dropped into Texas. As the morning pass I watch 'nowhere' pass me buy. Finally the road turns north back into New Mexico. I felt a bit like someone lost at sea, grateful to see land and civilization again.
This is the cave entrance. Enter here or take an elevator 17 stories down. During the summer season nearly 400,000 bats share this space. Around sunset they leave returning in the predawn hours. Other then the park entrance free ($6) there is no charge for this program.
From the NPS site:With an America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass – Annual Pass, Senior Pass, Access Pass and Volunteer Pass: Where a per person entrance fee is charged, the pass admits the cardholder plus plus three adults.
At the far end of this stone auditorium the cave entrance begins... beckoning us down where more then a mile trail of light magic, a water drip symphony and a living cave unfolded. The cave gods were with us and for the next four hours we had the place almost all to ourselves! Down and down and down we wandered. Stopping often to listen and feel this world. This was our first self-guided cave tour. No group, no yakking (except me of course) and all the time in the world.
magnificence surrounds us
Now imagine being around in the early 1900 hundreds and exploring this cave.
Darkness ...deep cool darkness that unfolds below us.
Nothing in my photo's communicate the vastness of this cave. Turn after turn, mile on mile we were mesmerized. So much space, so much stone, so much beauty all wrapped in a deep silence with quiet drips. Each turn of the path a new world of light peeking out all around us.
The Big Room's trail is another mile plus once we finished the stunning entrance, breathing it all in, wrapped in solitude and wonder.