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Carlsbad Caverns

After a day of rest, I went into Carlsbad to get the lay of the land and on to Carlsbad Caverns. I hadn’t seen the caverns since I was a small child and went there with my family. The drive up the mountain is long and curvy. At the top is plenty of parking and I got there early. I chose to do the elevator down to the back end of the caverns this trip. At the bottom was the lunch area I remembered though they no longer serve anything more than salads and drinks there now. No crowds there eating like in the old days. They did have a mailbox you could use and the mail would be stamped as being sent from the bottom of the caverns. That was pretty cool and I did send postcards to family from there.

Carlsbad CavernsCavern elevator 750 feet downLunch area

The walk through the back caverns was pretty easy with a well paved and fairly level trail. It was cool but I brought my coat. I also brought a bottle of water which I was thankful for. I had picked up a trail guide device in the gift shop which told me all about the caverns every step of the way. It was well worth the rental cost. This part of the caverns is a great tour for families with kids and seniors. I also think it is the most beautiful part. It takes a couple hours to walk it and really enjoy it. Afterward, I ate lunch in their restaurant above. It was average. They only serve Mexican food but it was okay. After perusing their museum displays and gift shop, I headed down the steep path to the main cave entrance to watch the bats fly out during the evening program. Thousands of them swooped out over us and flew off for night hunting. You definitely want to stay to see that.

Cavern curtainsCave formationAmphitheater and main cave entrance

I decided to go back another day and try the front part of the caverns through the main entrance. I can tell you now that it is best for younger people. The trail all the way through to the lunch area in the bottom of the caverns is very steep. Take a hiking stick and plenty of water. It also takes more time and frankly I didn’t think the views were as lovely. I had to stop and rest several times but thank goodness they provide plenty of seating. You won’t see the bats in there as they actually sleep in a different area that is off-limits to tourists. If you take your camera on either tour, be sure to set it to manual and adjust the settings for darkness. There is plenty of lighting in the caverns for people but it is too dark to get decent pictures in auto mode. I don’t recommend trying to do the entire cavern in one day. That front part wears you out. Most of it is descending from the main entrance but you have to fight the steepness the whole way.

For more pics click here.

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