We arrived in White City RV Park ($42/night) on February 24th. This is an interesting place with a population of 9 and median income of $61,000. White City, New Mexico is just a few miles from Carlsbad Caverns. Carlsbad was added to our already planned trip after speaking with Tom Woodle, a friend of Ray’s, and I must say it was great advice.
The Park was on the agenda for the full day on the 25th and it did take the full day. The Park is in the Guadalupe Mountains, which is a part of the Chihuahua Desert. Big Bend is also in the Chihuahua Desert.
The caverns were discovered in 1898 by a teenager named Jim White. He explored the caverns with a homemade wire ladder and gave names to the rooms of the caverns that are still used today. The US Congress signed into law the establishment of Carlsbad Caverns National Park on May 14, 1930, after President Calvin Coolidge had signed an executive order requesting the Park be preserved.
We entered the natural entry of the cavern, which has a good walking path that takes you down the equivalent of 80 floors below the service on a 1.5 mile trail. Some places are slippery from water dripping into the caves and the lighting is adequate. Out of respect for other visitors the Rangers ask those entering to only whisper as sound carries about 1/4 mile into the caverns. Luckily, we have been traveling in the off season and having areas mostly to our selves so we can take our time and absorb everything.
I used the flashlight on my cell and noticed many green dots and an occasional red dot on the formations. We were trying to determine if it was some sort of mineral. Near the end of the down cave hike we encountered a ranger and we asked her. She told us that the caverns does 10 year audits of damage by visitors to the park. All those green dots were damage recorded on this audit (which isn’t complete) and the red was from the previous audit 10 years ago. Before entering the caverns rangers tell you not to touch anything as body oils, etc. will damage the formations. Evidently some people visiting just can’t help themselves and they are damaging a real nation treasure. This saddens me.
Carlsbad is a spectacular example of the grandeur of nature. The beauty can not be described adequately and pictures do not do it justice. This place should be on everyone’s bucket list. It took us about an hour and a half to get to the Big Room, which is 4,000 ft long and 357,469 square feet of floor space. This is the largest room but there are about 22 rooms and an underground snack area. Some rooms are off limits due to safety issues. That said, we were in there about 4 hours, not counting the hike down. I’m sure we didn’t see everything.
As I’ve said previously, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
This is a great place to visit. More information: https://www.nps.gov/cave/index.htm Off to our next caper. See you soon.