Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer 2013 Day 38: Carlsbad Caverns & Roswell, NM

I was thrilled to take the children to Carlsbad Caverns.  It was one of the places my parents had taken me during our big summer trip.  I remember it being "cool" as a kid, but my goodness, as an adult, it's a whole different ball game.
You don't realize the magnitude of the size of these amazing caverns - we walked down to the bottom - a 750 foot ascent and a mile and a half long.  That was neat to feel the temperature change and see the switchbacks going down.  But the most impressive part of the caverns was the walk around The Big Room.  The room itself is the length of 14 football fields - the trail that takes you around the perimeter is  a mile and a quarter.  And the cave structures are stunning.  Words can not honestly describe how gorgeous it was.  And my pictures certainly do it no justice.  It is one of those things you have to see yourself - put it on your bucket list.
I was amazed at how well Ian did too - he walked most of the way - looked at things, asked questions - did remarkably well for a 4 year old.

We had a 5 1/2 hour drive up to Albuquerque and we stopped in Roswell to check out some aliens and get an ice cream from this McDonalds:
Too fun - this town really gets into the whole alien thing!

Here is what the kids thought about today:


After that long brutal night, we woke and got ready for the coolest caverns EVER!  You had 2 options on how to get down to the Big Room level. You could take the elevator (BORING) or you could take an amazing rapturous hike down. When you hike at least to where you can still see the natural light, you want to bring a jacket. I would have frozen to death. It would have been long and painful (but then I wouldn’t have to do this blog). Any way the hike down was beautiful! We saw stalactites and stalagmites, columns, popcorn, soda straws , and much more!
At one point in the Big Room you may see a rope. That rope has been there for a long time. Since there was no way to get up to that cave the rope leads to, explorers got many helium filed balloons and tied a sturdy rope to the end of the balloons. Then they let the balloons go right above the cave and they got stuck on a stalactite. The rope has been there since. The cave right above the Big Room is called The Spirit Room. They call it this because the stalactites and stalagmites have holes in them, so they look like ghosts. Now there are 2 ways to get back to the surface life. You can take the elevator or you can climb up the nature hike. I advise you to take the elevator you will be really tired after that hike. 

Now before the trip I was really nervous.  I didn’t expect every day we would be traveling, but now that we are on the official trip I am very relaxed and excited for what each day will hold in store for the Darling family! 


On the second day we went to Carlsbad Caverns. I was amazed by the length of it. My favorite part was learning about the bottomless pit. The story of how it got its name is, the first people to explore the cave threw rocks down to see how deep the Bottomless pit is, but they never heard it touch the bottom because there is a very soft material down there so they ended up having to go see it for themselves.  Turns out it wasn’t very deep.

Another cool thing I heard was the way they made the elevator shaft was blowing up
the way down with TNT for 5 months. Imagine that Cave being closed for 5 months.

The next story is about the giant iceberg rock. Long ago, before the cave was discovered an 100,000 pound rock was coming loose from the ceiling it fell and left  a giant hole in the ceiling. IT WAS ABSOLUTLY, AMAZINGLY, BEAUTIFUL!

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