We went for our first day at Carlsbad Caverns today. We took the Natural Entrance in (instead of the elevators) which is the same way the bats come out. We won’t get to see the bats, though, since they don’t make it in from Mexico until early May. There were hundreds of swallows though – just swirling around the entrance to the cave. They nest closer to the entrance. The bats are actually much further in the cave. It was a nice one-mile walk (mostly) down a well-paved but steep trail.
When we got to the bottom we took a break in the 50’s-style lunchroom. This is the off-season and they were doing a lot of repairs so there wasn’t much open but also not many crowds.
We totally enjoyed the Big Room self-guided tour. The Caverns are really something to see! We’ve been to the Sonora Caverns in South/West Texas but the Carlsbad caves are just unbelievably huge with really beautiful formations. We spent a couple of hours wondering around and then we took one of the guided tours – Kings Palace. Apparently, this area used to be open for self-guided tours but too many of the formations were getting broken.
We are going back tomorrow to take one of the “off-road” guided tours down into the Lower Cave. You have to wear cave helmets and gloves for that one. This is how the National Geographic expedition made there way into the Lower Cave in the 1930″s. I’m pretty sure that isn’t how we are going down!
Alan had to wait while I took one more flower picture in the parking lot. I didn’t even see the bug until we got home and looked at the pictures on the computer. It just may be a Cave Cricket – there really are insects in the cave.