A Cave. A REALLY Big Cave.

Carlsbad6Carlsbad Caverns is another site on our bucket list.  We have heard a lot about the cave and since we have seen several on this trip we wanted to include Carlsbad.  When we drove up to the Cavern entrance we were surprised by its lack of pretense.  Just a small building on top of the hill that housed the gift shop, the book store and the elevator.  We reviewed the park brochure and discovered that you can enter via one of three methods:  Walk in the original way for approximately 1 mile down a steep trail; or a guided tour to part of the cavern not accessible on the self guided tour; or pay to ride the elevator (free with our senior pass).  After a brief 750 ft. ride down in the elevator (did you really think we were going to walk) we entered the cavern.   Carlsbad1It is impossible to convey in words the size of the Cavern without having been there.  It is nothing like we have seen (or imagined) in the past cave tours.  It is softly lit (professionally designed by stage lighting experts) with paved trails and railings along the walls.  The first area we entered is called the “Great Room” for good reason, as it’s dimensions are measured, not in feet,  but in football fields..   The walk once you are inside is only a little over a mile but it took an hour and a half to complete the tour of all the various “rooms”.  You walk and stop to marvel in awe at the beautiful formations along the walls, ceiling and the floor.  Carlsbad9Pictures taken do not do it justice as it is so immense and the lighting is kept low to maintain the “cave” feeling.  This makes photography very difficult.  Only prominent formations are lit to enhance their beauty.  Cecil’s flashlight came in handy as we illuminated otherwise dark area to see overhangs dripping with formations bearing such descriptive names as: soda straws, drapes, popcorn, pearls, and flows.  There are many places that only experienced spelunkers are allowed to explore off the trail but there are many remnants of their visits with ropes and ladders left for historical purposes.


Click to enlarge, then note the tour group in the background.

Some of the pictures selected for the slide show have these items although they can be difficult to see unless you are really looking for them.  Also look very carefully to see other visitors in the background…on the other side of the “Great  Room”…yes it is that big!  What a natural beautiful wonder to see and experience.  Literally indescribable!

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