Friday, August 07, 2009

My summer vacation.

I decided that after my long and "grueling" summer I should have a tiny vacation. Since I was already facing two solid days of driving for the trip home, why not add a couple of hours to that and make a side trip to Carlsbad Caverns, one of the most amazing natural wonders on our continent? And so I did....

Some notes from the road:
  • There is not a lot to see on the road south from Denver to New Mexico. Once you cross the Colorado border, it mostly flat scrub-land. Make sure you have a book on tape to listen to.
  • Ditto western Texas. Also, Texas is a very very large state.
  • The "town" of Carlsbad is heart-breakingly sad and depressed. And ugly. And severely lacking in eating establishments. The hotel I stayed in reminded me of nothing so much as the hotel room in "No Country for Old Men."
Ok, the caverns were all I remembered them to be from childhood, and more. The facilities there are really really nice, and for a mere $6 you are whisked into a magical land, only 750 feet below the earth's surface.

I got there very early in the morning, bought my ticket, watched a little movie, and then caught the first elevator of the day at 8:30am, straight to the big room. While 22 people came down in the first sweep of the day, somehow I managed to hit the trail first, and thus, I walked the entire Big Room absolutely by myself. The walk around the "room" takes about an hour....the room is the size of 3 football fields, I think they said, and there is nice trail with handrails the entire way. The cave is mostly dim, but they have set up discreet lights to display certain areas of especial beauty.

In fact, I spent most of my time pondering the creation of the park, rather than the creation of Mother Nature. Of COURSE, the natural wonders were absolutely amazing, but what I wanted to know was: what yahoo thought it was a good idea to crawl into a hole in the earth... and then crawl some more, and then explore this whole humongous cave? This big room, as I mentioned, is 750 ft underground. That is the size of a 75 story building. And then who decided where to put the lights? And who changes those lightbulbs that are very high up in the cave ceilings? Information please!!

Well luckily for me there is a book about it: Carlsbad Caverns: The Story Behind the Scenery. Excuse while I hit my friendly neighborhood public library.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, I remember seeing Carlsbad Caverns...'s almost as beautiful as seeing the world from two miles up as you hurtle toward the ground.