After a REALLY windy night we went back to the Carlsbad Caverns today to do the 3-hour Lower Cave Tour. It was really cool to be with a small crowd (12 people), off the beaten path. The Big Room has dramatic formations but it also has extensive “theatrical” lighting. When you are in the Lower Cave, it is much more like exploring a cave (and not being in an amusement park.) The trails are marked with tape instead of railings and stone walls. You could get up-close and personal with the formations.
You started down hanging on a rope and then took three (somewhat) precarious and slippery metal ladders. This is not a picture of Al’s butt coming down the ladder:
This is a carved signature made in 1910 by John White who discovered the Carlsbad Cavern in the late 1800’s. If you click on the picture, you can get a better look.
Supposedly, this is a bat caught in a stalagmite. Alan was holding the Ranger’s flashlight behind it so you could see it.
This is a “Cave Pearl”. According to our guide, they are incredibly rare and only formed under unique circumstances. There has to be a small water pools in a depression with some mineral or other particle that grows over time and is made smooth by the swirling water caused by the drips into the pool.