Tuesday May 21st 2019
Our 6th National Park awaits us today but getting there would prove to be a true white knuckle ride.
Sleep did not come easy last night with wind gusts nearing 50 mph and sustained above 25 mph. We had to move the RV in fear of tipping and our poor neighbors were tent camping well they slept in their car for the night. We watched as they aggressively grabbed any belongings they had left in the morning as the wind had not let up. Vicious winds does not stop nature from calling. TMI for some but I had to go out in wind that made it physically difficult to open the rv door and dig a damn cat hole. All I got is what an experience.
We waited a couple hours to let the wind die down some. In the mean time I wrapped a bandana around my face and braved the outside to collect whatever trash was blowing this way and just explore a bit more. Try and find the massive hole that damn spider could possibly live in lol
Finally ready to attempt this drive we set off for Carlsbad Caverns. Thank the lord it was a short drive. I was so nervous and I could tell Jason was too which is a rarity. Arriving at the entrance I hop out to take a picture and literally have to brace myself to get a steady shot.
Carlsbad Caverns is astounding from the wonderful staff to the amazing ways of nature. Our annual national park pass covered the cave tour fees so we obtained our tickets, got the needed info and prepared for our hike. Some things to note if you have any gear that has been in another cave within the past 10 years must be cleaned with provided disinfecting wipes, strollers are not permitted, only plain water is allowed through the cave, flash photography is actually allowed and you go at your own pace unless you opt for a ranger led tour.
We opted to walk in on the natural entrance trail. I have always seen this particular image on several social media platforms and now here we were taking our very own! 1.25 miles of steep trail will descend you 750 feet into the underworld and will connect you to the Big Room Trail, the most popular trail for very good reason.
Once you make it to the end of this winding trail you have official entered the twilight zone.
One thing I have not seen anywhere else are these cave watch signs. They provide a phone at each sign for instant report which I find amazing and wonderful way to protect this magical piece of earth. As to why anyone is ever ignorant enough to destroy such a place I will never know.
Another peculiar thing these caverns hold in an underground gift shop/mini café/restrooms, yes 800 feet underground. This was quite the surprise to us but we welcomed the chance to sit down and admire such a feat. It gets even better though as there is an elevator also. We were curious enough and decided to take the elevator up to the main café for some lunch and ride back down to start where we left off. That is the glory of it but I did question why would they “ruin” such a place to modernize it. A question later answered by a ranger. She said you have to give a little to keep a lot hidden basically. The extent of the cave system in this area is vast and what we see is just the beginning.
Bellies tamed we headed back into the cave via elevator for the Big Room Trail, another 1.25 mile trail this time relatively flat and downright breathtaking! We both (Phoenix ended up falling asleep so we were taking turns carrying him) could not believe what we were witnessing. The variety of formations unreal, the vastness, the uniqueness all of it just unreal. We were truly brought to another world. Now it definitely was a hard one to capture through picture with just our cheap phones but ill let a slideshow of pictures show you the wonders of Carlsbad Caverns.
Emerging from the underworld we had to let our eyes adjust once again and went through the gift shop quickly. Phoenix did wonderful and always used his cave voice so earned a stuffed animal bat of his choice and we got our patch for the blanket. It was in here we got to talking with a couple who literally had parts of their truck bed camper fly off due to that insane wind. Said they only had half a day here now cause the spent the first half locating and picking up parts. Wicked wind I tell ya.
Leaving we headed for the actual town of Carlsbad, New Mexico. I’m just going to come out and say it the worst town we have been in yet. Walmart had a literal whirlwind of garbage just flying all over the parking lot without anyone looking worried or disgusted by it. It looked like it rained litter. I was taken back by this. Then we entered Walmart and wish we hadn’t. This Walmart was disorganized, shelves half empty, rude workers and even more rude were the rest of the customers. We rushed through this resupply just to have to wait a half hour in line. Never again.
We escaped to Brantley Lake State Park. I will give this to New Mexico their State Park camping prices are affordable for all. $14 got us the last 1st come 1st serve water and electric site. Here we made that pizza we been craving, enjoyed the sunset while talking with family back home. I was even able to get a wee bit of blogging done before calling it a night to chill in a comfy bed with a couple episodes of the 70’s show. Giving our legs the true rest they really been needing since our backpacking trip to Guadalupe Peak.
Remember Life begins outside your comfort zone!
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