Driving up the road towards Carlsbad Caverns, it's hard to believe that there could be any thing there. It seems a dull landscape, all rather beige and gray with a touch of green here and there.
But along the way, there are things to see. A deep overhang used as a shelter in times long past.
With nodules of rock embedded in the floor in a nearly perfect circle. Placed there by mankind? Or a gift of nature?
As the road topped the ridge, we became aware of just how vast this landscape really is. Beautiful.
Our visit to the caverns started with the long elevator ride, 750 feet underground to the Big Room. The brochure said it was a mile and a quarter walk that should take about an hour and a half. We spent two and a half hours and felt like we’d walked miles!
From ephemeral pools, so clear they appear to be figments of imagination,
To deep dark holes with reminders of just how brave the people were who first explored this vast cavern. A hint of just how dark it was in those early days before electric lighting was added.
There are varied holes with different patterns of matter flowing out of them. Rock formed, one minute drop of heavily mineralized water at a time ~ thousands of years in the making. All fantastical and stunningly beautiful in their own way.
There are ceilings that appear to be decorated with crystal glass shards.
But what is perhaps most difficult to comprehend, is just how vast these spaces are. These two photos are of the same scene, but the bottom (out of focus) one, shows that there are people standing right in the center, looking towards me. It helps to give a sense of scale to the first photo. The ceiling of this cavern is over 300 feet high in places, and multiple football fields in length from one end to the other. Stunning!
My favorite formations were these flow patterns that created Tolkein-esque trees. Just amazing!
The cave was amazing. Photos simply will never convey the immensity of the spaces, the real beauty of the formations, and the bone-deep quiet of being deep underground. I found it to be a profound experience.
Adventures to be continued!