Carlsbad New Mexico

To get us into the mood for traveling in the fall I thought I would show you some of our experiences from previous travels.

Canada Moose goes up a mountain

I had never been to the southwest before so on our trip home the first winter we traveled south our plan was to see New Mexico and maybe even head into Arizona if time permitted. For a Southern Ontario girl this was like a visit to the moon.

cacti everywhere

Everything has thorns

Every western movie you’ve ever seen gives you an idea of what the deserts of New Mexico are like, tumble weed, sage brush, cacti everywhere and lots and lots of sand. And the wind never stopped blowing.

more cacti

When I was little I spent Sundays after church with my grandparents and I devoured all their National Geographic Magazines. Two places that intrigued me were Roswell and the Carlsbad Caverns. Both in New Mexico. Roswell is the site where aliens supposedly crashed in the desert, nearby in the summer of 1947. That got my young imagination going, so we had to make the pilgrimage.  I do believe something happened there, maybe it was a space ship, maybe it was a weather balloon but whatever it was this was the most amateurish display I’ve ever seen anywhere. Just like a poorly done school project. We were so unimpressed we didn’t even take pictures. And people come frome all over the world to see it! What a disappointment!

Carlsbad Caverns, though, far exceeded all my expectations. Located in the Guadalupe mountains of New Mexico, they are probably the oldest and most well known caves in the world.

Desert mountains

I won’t go into too much detail here, there are lots of web sites if you want to know more. Drove up a mountain (without the trailer) to a plateau at the top where there was a large visitors center.

Adobe visitor center

There is an elevator to take you down, but we opted for the self guided tour, taking a mile and a half hike underground to the cave floor. You do have to be fit to do the hike, but with the elevator the caves are handicap accessible.

Cave entrance

Starting the treck

The ramp going down

The temperature in the Big Room is a constant 56F year round so you need a jacket, which we left back at the RV, but as long as you kept moving you were comfortable.


Saw my first stalagmites (sticks up) and stalagmites (hangs down) and all the other types of formations drapery, soda straws and popcorn to name a few.

Rock waterfall

The formation is called Witch’s Finger

It was a truly awe inspiring tour, we must have spent three hours exploring the main cave before heading to the underground snack bar where the elevator took us back to the surface. Our one regret is we took so many pictures of the drive up the mountain that our camera was full before we finished our subterranean tour.

This is one we missed. Much to Mike’s dismay. Called The Breast of Venus.
Picture courtesy family.webshots

Unfortunately we visited in late March so we missed the bat flights. Mexican Free Tail bats call these caves home from mid April to mid October, and there is an amphitheater at the mouth of the cave where spectators can watch the hundreds of thousands of bats leaving for a night of feeding. Would have liked to have seen that.


Bat holes

Next post I will write about the incident that very nearly ended our adventure. Watch for Cloudcroft New Mexico.


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