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2011 Trip across the US
Trip Index & Page 1
Today is a two for one day - two National Parks. After leaving Balmorhea State Park I eventually got back on I 10 after passing a interesting church on TX 3078, exiting on a pretty but empty road, TX 54 which parallels the Black Mountains, and runs into US 62 which runs past the Guadalupe National Park & into Carlsbad National Park. So, I visited with both. I didn't spend a long time at Guadalupe National Park - it was 95°F and the short hike I took on the Pinery Trail was in full sun. I did get a few photos, including one of an interesting bus conversion that I also saw at Carlsbad. SufariParty.com's web page says they are doing Spring Weekend in April - must be a very long break! An added note - there must be a lot of the busses - I've since seen quite a few different ones. More photos on a Guadalupe National Park page.
After leaving Guadalupe National Park I stopped to photograph the only rest stop I've see that includes Wind Power. A short time later I was in New Mexico & headed to Carlsbad.
Because I had been in Mammoth Cave & was wearing the same boots, I had to have them cleaned to prevent the spread of White Nosed Disease among the bats. They must do a better job here than at Mammoth - at Mammoth we walked through a Lysol foot wash - here they took my boots away & spent 15 minutes cleaning them! I have the brightest soles since they were new.
The cave is interesting, and even larger than I remembered. It is a bit of a letdown after seeing the Caverns of Sonora. Carlsbad is about 95% "dead" that is not actively building surfaces. There is a big difference between it and a live cave like Sonora. The structures are the same, but the live cave looks like crystal while the dead cave looks like rock. Still wonderful formations throughout the cave, and the size of the rooms is amazing. I did notice one interesting bit of political correctness change from the last trip. In 1996 there was a sign identifying the "Breast of Venus," a breast shaped formation. The formation is still there, but the sign is gone.
I took the unguided tour starting at the natural entrance, around the Big Room, Top of the Cross, Mirror Lake, The Crystal Spring Dome, and back to the elevator to get out. A good 2-3 mile workout, although mostly downhill. While there is quite a bit of color in the photographs, it is from the lighting:
Again, there are more photos on my Carlsbad Caverns National Park Page.
After that I stopped & picked up some groceries at the Carlsbad Albertsons, and headed to the Carlsbad KOA, about 15 miles north of the city. I'm is site C4, a nice level pull through with full hookups.
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Last Update: May 20, 2012