Stop 1 – Carlsbad Caverns

In June 0f 2021, Carolyn and I will break free for several weeks and do a quick tour of several National Parks in the Southwest and Western US and over the next few weeks in December 2020, I will preview and virtually tour our trip both to enhance our excitement and preview our trip looking for little ways to appreciate our vast cultural and environmental heritage.

Carlsbad Caverns has a half-million visitors a year and we will up that number by two!

We will leave on a Thursday after work (good-by computers, copiers, and business phones!), and drive all the way from tiny Adairsville across Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas in a non-stop, share the driving, sleep in the back of our SUV, non-adventurous, let’s just get there, romp. We explored flying and when you consider the airfare and car rental, we decided to drive our own familiar car and car-camp with a car-tent to save even more. So we leave mid-afternoon on a Thursday and arrive at Carlsbad, New Mexico, around noon the next day giving us a full afternoon and evening for serious exploring. Since we wore ourselves out by driving 20 hours, we celebrate by crashing at a Comfort Inn rather than car-camp. The Comfort Inn stop is free since we had accumulated points from our recent New England trip.

Our oasis in the desert – first night.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a spectacular cave of almost limitless dimensions! The natural entrance is wide and welcoming and an easy trek. Yes, I have been here before – almost 40 years ago and I remember many details as I prepare to be astounded all over again. The entry corridor is long and sloped to a huge room filled with stalactites, pillars, and intricate serpentine formations.

Every evening, bats and cave swallows exit the wide entrance to feast on desert insects.

The self-guided tour will lead us to room after room filled with jeweled lakes, pre-historic wall writings, and side crevasses going to points unknown. I have been to many caves – Mammoth (Kentucky), Wyandotte (Indiana), Jewel, and Wind Cave (South Dakota) but Carlsbad combines the best of all and is by far the most picturesque and least challenging for non-spelunkers like Carolyn and me.

Nothing can prepare you for the majesty of Carlsbad!

The next morning, we will head westward through Texas and pass under Guadeloupe Peak, the highest point in Texas, and do a mid-morning stop at a little known state park – Hueco Tanks in the Hueco Mountains – for a unique taste of a watering hole in the West Texas desert. But that’s for tomorrow! See you there!

Early the second morning, we pass under the shadow of the highest point in Texas – Guadeloupe Peak – which is a remnant of an ancient coral bed.
And arrive for a short visit to a little known park.

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