Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is one of three World Heritage Sites in New Mexico out of 21 in the USA. The countless rock formations formed drip by drip over eons are just spectacular but any attempt to describe the grand feelings of awe when viewing them in person is doing the caverns an injustice by limiting them. With the immensity of the Great Room and the beauty of all the small details, its no wonder that early explorers said that it was a product of the Devine Creators own hands.

Natural beauties and wonders are not all the park has to offer, however. One of the star attractions are the thousands of Mexican Freetailed Bats that spew out of the mouth of the cave at dusk like thick smoke. There are evening and dawn bat flight programs available to view them, not to be missed. Several other guided tours inside the caverns are also available and highly recommended, call for reservations they fill up quickly and some of the special tours for more advanced cavers have long waiting lists.

Of course we arrived during a holiday weekend so it was jam packed and we didnt have time to go on a tour, we had to get to Ruidoso before it got too dark and we were cutting it close as it was, maybe next time. Next time I’m going to have to remember to bring my monopod or get a good tripod ahead of time, taking long exposure shots in near total darkness freehand is virtually impossible. Out of the hundreds of shots I attempted only two came out good and the ones you see here are all of the not too blurry at small resolution ones hehe. Its was pretty much, relax.. one.. two.. three… deep breath.. time between heartbeats, click, dont budge a muscle, pray, damn I moved, try again.

These are a little out of order because I couldn’t figure out how to stop this video from autoplaying. I found this at and it gives a good overview of the park and the mammoth undertaking of keeping it free of contamination.

These volunteers were cleaning dirt off the formations left by visitors ages ago before the railings were put up. They said they were much more lax about letting people get off of the walkways back then, the resulting footprints of contamination left clear white areas where the growing formations would not stick to. Plus there were some footprints where someone tried to get a better picture of this big stalagmite and broke through the thin crust.

The calcite will grow on other deposits of calcite easily. It will eventually coat and grow on contamination like dirt or finger prints but that takes ages to repair. They said the oils on our skin will decay into acids that will etch the fragile rock also, scary that just touching it could damage something so beautiful.

Hard to show the scale of the place. To give you an idea, we just went down the walkway that circles the edge of the big room and we were down there for 3 ish hours in the same cavern. I dont know how far we walked but my feet were hurting by the end in my motorcycle boots, and Cece was having to limp along with her bunion.

Each color of lights is set at a different distance. Whats odd is that in person I couldn’t see the color tints, its very subtle.

A good picture showing how columns are formed.

Drinking Straw stalactites.

Are we on the set of a vampire movie?

To me this looks like a slice of brain.

Cece by chance caught this drip of water in this pool, pretty cool. I had several pics of this taken at the same time without so much as a ripple in them.

These were called lions tail stalactites.

A cool product from Its like a small tarp stretched over your seat so you wont burn your butt off after leaving your motorcycle out in the sun all day. This bike was parked in the primo spot closest to the door and was still there several hours later after we were dragging out the door, I’m guessing the owner works at the park. If I left the bike out all day in the Carlsbad sun I’d need something like that too.

From their site: Protect your motorcycle seat from sun damage, moisture, bird droppings and sap. The Cycle Shade adds years to the life of your seat, keeps it cool, and looks cool! Put helmets out of sight and out of the sun. Detours people and kids from sitting on your bike! Rolls up small to fit in it’s own compartment. Made from quality materials.

Of course we have to stop and get a picture of the huge snake painted on the curio shop on the way out for the reptile folks.

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