Trip Pictures

Slaughter Canyon Cave

Slaughter Canyon

Slaughter Canyon

Slaughter Canyon

Slaughter Canyon

Slaughter Canyon

Slaughter Canyon

Slaughter Canyon

Slaughter Canyon

Slaughter Canyon

Slaughter Canyon

Slaughter Canyon

Slaughter Canyon

Natural Entrance

Natural Entrance

Natural Entrance

Natural Entrance

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Tracy

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

Me in Spider Cave

Spider Cave

Spider Cave

Spider Cave

Spider Cave

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

        Trip Pictures Pelican Valley-Yellowstone Gunsight Pass Canada 2013 Atlantic Canyon North Winds Yellowstone May 2013 Yellowstone Jan 2013 Brooks Lake Weminuche Beartooths 2012 Cirque of the Towers Union Pass New Zealand Yellowstone Winter 2012 Tennessee Fall 2011 Parents Selway-Bitterroots Grand Canyon Yellowstone 2011 Carlsbad California Tetons Frank Church Absarokas Beartooths Absarokas Montana Glacier Boise Zion - Grand Canyon Yellowstone Tennessee Redwoods Tetons Jebediah Smith Wilderness Winds Shoshone Geyser Basin Beartooths France Yellowstone North Winds Georgia and North Carolina Tennessee Yellowstone Tetons Beartooths Yellowstone Tennessee Colorado Yellowstone Dallas Hawaii Tennessee Yellowstone Tetons North Dakota Wind River Range Beartooth Hwy Tennessee Yellowstone Death Valley Lake Powell Yellowstone Washington Yellowstone Lake Powell Yellowstone Ohio Sonoran Desert Grand Canyon/Zion South-eastern Utah Craters of the Moon/Tetons Bryce/Lake Powell Alaska Iraq Iraq Boundary Waters Middle East Okefenokee Middle East Louisiana Utah Wyoming Arches/Canyonlands Tetons/Yellowstone Maine Glacier NP France Washington D.C. Miscellaneous

Over the long weekend of 17 Feb 11, Tracy and I hopped on a plane and went down to visit

Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico.  We flew from Salt Lake to Albuquerque on

Thursday night, and then rented a car and drove towards Carlsbad.  We spent the night

Thursday in Moriarty, NM.  On Friday we drove to Carlsbad.  We took a roundabout way to get

there since we had all day, but that part of New Mexico still didn't really interest us much.  We

drove through Roswell, but it was a bigger city and didn't seem as "alien-y" as we had

expected, so we didn't spend much time there.  Then we got into Carlsbad and got a hotel

room.  We hiked a little at Slaughter Canyon, and then headed back to the room.  On Saturday

we got up early and headed out to Slaughter Canyon Cave for our reservation to hike that

cave.  After a short 3/4 of a mile hike up to the cave entrance, the rangers met the group and

we went into the cave.  The cave was really cool.  It was an easy walk, with lots of really cool

formations.  This was Tracy's first real exposure to a cave, and she really enjoyed it.  The cave

was so big, though, that you really need a really bright flashlight to be able to see it well.  The

rooms are just too big for a regular flashlight.  There were only about 20 people on the guided

tour, so it wasn't too bad.  The cave itself was really cool.

After leaving Slaughter Canyon, we drove up to the main cave and hiked in from the Natural

Entrance.  The main cave is more developed, and the route through the cave is a paved

walkway, unlike Slaughter Canyon.  There are also electrical lights, unlike Slaughter.  The

descent down from the Natural Entrance was interesting, and it was cool seeing how deep the

cave goes.  Otherwise, the walk from the Natural Entrance was mostly uneventful.  Once you

get into the Big Room, though, the cave becomes really cool.  It also becomes more crowded,

because there's an elevator down from the visitor's center.  But the Big Room is...well, it's big.

Really big.  And it has all kinds of really cool formations.  Unfortunately, it's hard to describe all

of the great formations, and it was hard to take pictures of them all.  So, suffice it to say that it

was great, and it was definitely worth seeing.  It was amazing how big the room was and how

extensive and varied the formations were.

After making the full loop around the big room, we tried to hike back out the natural entrance

because the line at the elevator was really long.  However, the trail out was already closed for

the night, so we had to wait in line at the elevator.  We eventually made it back up to the top,

and went back into Carlsbad for the night.

On Sunday we got up and headed back to the park for our next reserved tour of Spider Cave.

This is a wild tour, and there were only six of us with two rangers to guide us.  We had to wear

helmets, gloves, flashlights, and knee pads.  We had to climb down a ladder to get into the

cave (after the ranger cleared it for rattlesnakes).  I went first behind the ranger, and the

beginning of the cave was so small and tight, that I thought I had taken a wrong turn since I

couldn't see the ranger's light.  The beginning of the cave will certainly test to see if you have

claustrophobia!  Spider Cave was really cool, with lots os crawling and lots of really nice

formations.  The first part of Spider reminded me of caves back home, with tight crawls and

narrow passages.  Towards the back, though, the formations turned incredible, and it didn't

look anything like home.  Again, it's hard to describe the formations, and it was hard to take

pictures, so I guess it will just have to suffice to say that the formations were really cool and

definitely worth seeing.  How was that for a description?

But we eventually crawled back out of the cave, hiked back to the car, and began the long

drive back home.  We drove west from the park over the mountains and spent the night in

Alamogordo.  We got up the next morning and checked out White Sands, which was kind of

neat, but it wasn't worth going out of your way to see.  Then we drove back up into the Lincoln

National Forest in the mountains outside of Alamogordo, and those mountains were pretty

cool.  It was nice to see some decent mountains there in southern New Mexico.  But eventually

we had to hit the road and head back to Albuquerque and catch our flight back home.

This was a really good trip.  The Caverns are definitely worth seeing.  The formations were

incredible, and the rooms were huge.  The park is so far from anything that I don't know if we'll

ever go back, but I'm very glad we went.