Day 173 – 2/19/21 Carlsbad Caverns

We loved exploring Carlsbad Caverns today.

It’s a frigid morning today, with the temperature right now at 12F.  It’s colder than back home in Sheboygan now as they have 18F.  Overnight, the temperature got as low as 9F with the wind chill.  It’s supposed to start warming up again today, with the high getting up to 50, which is good as I hope to be out and exploring the area.  The girls don’t have school, so we can leave as soon as I am done with my calls.  I do want to get Diesel and Propane before we leave, so there are no surprises later when we return.  This cold storm hit Texas hard and they were without power for days, and some places with no water either as pipes froze, etc.  Fuel and food are or were a bit of a problem in some areas as well, so I want to make sure we have both at all times for at least two weeks as we go through Texas soon.

I had a few work calls in the morning, and one of them was a Teams online call, and the computer setup worked great.  I still think it’s wild that I’m running the whole thing from an external drive, but it’s working pretty good.  I tried to do some catch up writing and also queue up some posts.

Carol went shopping for groceries, and took two propane tanks to get filled.  She also filled up the truck.  When she got back, she had burgers so I got the grill going and made the burgers outside while she got snacks and such ready inside.  The girls were playing with their electronics and watching movies and YouTube in the morning.  We ate our burgers and left to Carlsbad Caverns.  We had nice weather today, and the drive to the caverns was nice.  Being able to see the mountains around and nearby is great.  It took us about 45 minutes to get there, and the drive at the tail end is through some canyons, which is cool.  Then we got to the parking lot, which seems to be this parking lot with a visitor center and nothing else around, which makes sense since the attraction is under ground.   Carol noted they had kennels so you could leave your dog there instead of in the car.  Nice touch! 

First stop was the restroom, of course, and since I got done quick, I went in and went to the check in.  You need to get a ticket to be able to go down, especially if you’re taking the elevator.  We had talked about the options in the car, and the girls immediately said they wanted the elevators.  I didn’t want to hear too much complaining, so we took that, but I’d recommend the natural entrance as I understood it is super cool.  I used our national parks pass once again, still amazed at how much value we are getting out of this, and got our tickets for the elevator and we only had to wait 15 minutes.  While we waited, we checked out the exhibit right there.  It is very cool.  They had a mockup of the caverns, and the entrance and elevators, and you can see nicely where the elevators drop you off, the 750ft decline, the entire big room path, etc.  Super cool.  You can also see how the natural entrance winds down and drops all the way.  The exhibit has more stuff too about how the caverns were formed, about the bats that migrate in and out, etc.  

Our time to take the elevator down came, and off we went.  It was a smooth ride down 750ft, and when the elevator opens, at first you don’t think you’re in a cave, until you take a few steps towards the path to the big room.  And once you step in the big room, wow, wow, wow! 

It is immense, it is magnificent, it is out of this world.  That cavern is huge, and it is so cool.  We walked the path around the big room, and it took us over an hour, with us taking our time, looking at all the formations, imagining what some of them looked like, etc.  There were tons of huge stalactites, stalagmites, drops, and even some areas with water.  The sheer size of everything was just amazing.  There are some formations still active, and you can easily see water still dripping onto them. 

Carol asked a park ranger how long those take to form, and the ranger said that one inch takes 100 years to form.  Wow!  We had an awesome walked around the path.  The path is paved and has hand rails all around, but it is not super easy and there are areas you go uphill pretty good, but for us it was easy.  Bia loved it all, and really liked looking for shapes.  Bella liked it, but was spooked as she “saw” scary monsters on some of the formations. hahahaha… I only saw a “coxinha”, some mouths, and a…. “dong” looking one 🙂 hahahahah.  When we got to the end of the path, we took the elevator back up.  

From there, we wanted to check out the natural entrance so we walked that way.  That is also the spot where you can see the bats migrating in and out of the caverns.  Unfortunately, the entrance was already closed when we got there, so we didn’t get to go in to peak in there.  We could see the hole and how they paved the way down.  The bats migration was not during our visit, so we would not see them anyway. 

We took the “long way” back to the truck, which was through a nature trail, and that was nice too.  Super awesome views of the mountains that likely form these huge caverns. 

As we were driving out, we saw the entrance for a scenic drive, so we took that.  The drive was on top of the mountains, which are over many caves, and then it drops to the canyon floor.  The views were quite amazing, and while we only really made one stop, we took lots of pictures.  As we were almost at the end of the scenic drive, we saw big horn sheep, and lots of them.  Bella spotted them so I pulled over and we enjoyed watching them graze for a while.  It was really cool to see them climb up the rocks and just keep going.  And that closed our trip to Carlsbad Caverns, so we went back home to get some things done.

When we got back, we did our normal routine of showers and getting ready for bed, but…. Carol made a cake for tomorrow, my birthday, and the girls worked on some decorations and cards, etc.  I could not see what they were doing, but knew it was for tomorrow.  Carol made my favorite, chocolate cake!  I love it.  The girls even helped with dishes after dinner, and continued working on things for tomorrow. 

I went to bed a bit earlier so they could do their thing. I told Carol to make sure they covered whatever they did cause I usually wake up in the middle of the night, which was the case, so I’m glad she had it covered.  I should have taken a picture of it, they had the whole dinette covered up with some sheets.  I’m sure Carol could add a few things here later about how it was to get the decoration going with the girls, but I wasnt there 🙂

We had an awesome time visiting Carlsbad Caverns today, amazing place.

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