Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad Caverns National Parks

Monday, August 22, 2016

Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Again we had an early start for Guadalupe Mountains. This was not on the original plan but last minute my nephew Dylan asked why were we were not going here since it was 45 minutes from Carlsbad. I focused on New Mexico and Arizona, I didn’t think about Texas. It was very shortsighted of me. So, of course, I had to add it to the plan! It was 110 miles from our hotel but like most roads in this area the speed limit was fast so it didn’t take long. Most of the activities at this park require hours of hiking and we didn’t have that much time so we decided to look around the visitor center and do the shorter mile hike on the Pinery Trail. The highlight of the trail is the Old Stage Coach Station. It was used in 1858-1859. It wasn’t that exciting of a trail but we managed to see a Horned Frog. When we got back to the visitor center, I showed the ranger the picture to verify what it was and he was surprised that we saw this guy as he has never seen one at the park. He said we were really lucky. So I guess that was a highlight of the day here.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Eric and I decided to take the Natural Entrance into the “Big Room” of cave. They had warned us beforehand it was long with steep switchbacks. I didn’t think anything of it. The ranger told us it would take 3 hours to hike down to, and explore, the Big Room. Eric heard that and said challenge accepted. He said hour and a half. LOL! Well I will say it was very steep and long to get to the Big Room. But it was so cool but literally (it is like 55 degrees) and visually. I loved it. My knees didn’t like the steep slope but we saw such amazing things along the way it was worth it. I was actually surprised when we got to the Big Room. We walked around the entire Big Room and took the elevator back up. The ranger on the elevator with us was the same one that gave us instructions at the beginning of the hike in. He looked at us with amazement, especially when we said we hiked down and around the big room. It took us an hour and a half. Eric was very proud that we crushed the challenge.

We got into the car and started the long trip to Santa Fe. This was one of our longest stretches of driving. Over 300 miles and about 5 hours. Again the drive was boring. We stopped at Whataburger in Roswell (you know where the aliens landed) and continued on to Santa Fe. There were storms in a distance when we got closer to Santa Fe so it made for some interesting clouds and lightning strikes. 

Day 3 miles driven: approximately 451…very long and boring miles.
More pictures can be found here.

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