Ranger Reese was a great tour guide :)
Here we are at the entrance to the cave. During certain months bats live in the cave and at certain times of the day (I'm thinking evening) you can sit in an amphitheater above the opening to the cave and watch all the bats fly out to hunt. Luckily we visited during the season when the bats have flown South to Mexico for the winter. It was nice not having to worry about them flying into your hair while wandering through the cave.
I love my family. It is still weird to me when I see a picture of all 4 of us, but i absolutely LOVE it!
The cave was amazing! It is one of the biggest in the world. It was seriously huge and the trails don't even lead you through the whole thing. You could explore it your whole entire life and still only scratch the surface. The cave has paved trails all the way through it and is dimly lit. We took headlamps so we could see certain things a little better. At first I was under the impression that we had to walk back up the trail and out of the cave. I was a bit depressed because the trail in was really steep and really long (after walking all the trails to the bottom we had gone for 3 or more hours). LUCKILY they have an elevator at the bottom! BEST idea EVER! Dan and Eric told me this once we were a little ways into the cave and I asked if we honestly had to hike back out, but I still wondered if they weren't just teasing me, and it wasn't until I saw the sign pointing toward the elevator that I finally felt complete relief.
The cave formations are all kinds of cool. Some look like they belong in the ocean, some in outer space, and some in the movie Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Here's a trick Eric taught me so I could remember the difference between Stalactites and Stalagmites. Stalactites are hanging "tight" to the ceiling (with a "c"). The Stalagmites are on the ground (with a "g") like where you'd find mites crawling around. Finally a way to remember!!
As soon as you think you can see the end you enter a new part of the cavern and see an "end" to that part of the cavern. It is crazy that the cave is so gigantic and is a natural occurrence. Mind boggling!
This is how you used to have to get in and out of the cave. BLAH!
Don't some of these look like they inspired the plants in Avatar!
Ivan slept through like the whole cave. Reese slept for a good part. It made for a relaxed and enjoyable trek through the cave.
- While there we remembered that our friend Kurt, who lived in Timberlakes, was now working and living in NM. Eric didn't have his phone number anymore so he had our sister in law message Kurt on facebook to have him call Eric. We were able to drive out to his town and he treated us to delicious Mexican food. It was nice catching up and eating totally delish fish tacos!
- For future road trips I need to remember that traveling in the Subaru with 3 adults and 2 car seats doesn't make for a comfy trip. My tailbone was killing and my butt and legs felt like I had a huge workout for a few days after the trip. I wish that was the case! Why are car seats so dang bulky? It isn't like the kids using them are all that huge.
-The night we stayed in the hotel Ivan had a 7 hour stretch of sleeping. SO awesome! The night we got home he slept for a 9 hour stretch. Even better! The last couple nights....nothing more than a 2 hour stretch the first night and last night a 4 hour stretch. I wouldn't mind if he started doing more of those 7 - 9 hour stretches. Nope, not one bit!
In case anyone is wondering - Carlsbad Caverns are TOTALLY worth the drive and the fee. It is only $6 a person and anyone 15 and under are free. Seriously, how do they afford to maintain the trails so nicely, pay for lighting, plumbing, etc, and pay all the rangers? No idea, but I'm ever so grateful for a place that is actually worth more than what you pay. That seems to rarely happen!