Carlsbad Caverns NP, New Mexico

October 19; 6,466 miles and 93 days into the trip.
White's City RV Park, White's City, NM

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The drive from Guadalupe Mountains NP to Carlsbad Caverns NP should have been very short. But I wanted to get to a service station and fill the tank above 3/4 in case I needed the motor generator. So we had to drive an extra 18 miles to Carlsbad, NM and then 18 miles back to White's City which is the closest campground to the Caverns. The caverns are actually located in the Guadalupe Mountain chain.

Besides going on a self guided tour, we stayed until dusk to see the Mexican Free-tailed bats exit the cave. Unfortunately you are not allowed to take pictures. They have an amphitheater at the cave entrance so you can wait for the mass exodus of over 300,000 bats. The way the amphitheater is situated, it looks down into a pit which contains the cave entrance. It was very interesting. Before dusk we saw huge numbers of swallows exiting the cave in large groups and flying around feeding on flying insects and then swooping down returning to the cave.

There was a very interesting ranger talk about the swallows and bats, mainly about the bats. There was also a question and answer session. All of a sudden the bats came out of the cave in a flood flying and swirling counter clockwise up from the cave like a swirling tornado. Then they headed out toward the closest water source and a night of feasting on insects. Everything was very quiet except for the whirring or flapping of the bat wings. We watched for about 20 minutes and they just kept coming out of the cave. It was starting to get dark so we left. We did not want to wait until sunrise to see them come back. This is an everyday occurrence.

Starting on the 1.25 mile self guided tour of the "Big Room."
The Golden Age Pass got us in free so we only had to rent the CD players for the audio tour. This tour also got us a free ride down the 720 foot elevator.

A lot of the formations look weird.

When you typed the number into the CD player
it would explain what you are looking at.

The caverns had more formations than any other cave we have viewed.

A rest before heading back up to the surface.

Back to the Summer/Fall 2006 Travel Directory