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."
- BUT THE CAVERNS.....
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.