Well New Mexico redeemed itself with the awesome cave system at Carlsbad. There is an elevator that goes seven hundred and fifty feet down into the caves. We started with the good old fashion hike into the cave instead of taking the elevator. As we descended into the huge opening the kids’ excitement grew. Out came the flashlights even though the National Park has installed lights throughout the caves. Unfortunately the caves are something you have to experience for yourself because pictures don’t turn out well due to the lack of bright lights. We did manage to get some shots that reveal some of the wonders that are spread throughout the entire hike underground. We made it to the elevator around lunch time, so we went back up to have a picnic because you are not allowed to eat in the cave system.
After lunch we went back down to explore the big room. Being in the caves was surreal with new bizarre formations around every bend. We hiked every foot of trail that day and enjoyed every minute of it. The kids were able to finish their junior ranger books and get their badges. They then proceeded to get their cave scientist books to work on and the education about caves continued.
We had been staying in New Mexico at a reservoir, but we decided to move to the Guadalupe National Park in Texas. The camp at the park wasn’t fancy and was just a parking area for RV’s and travel trailers. The mountains were amazing though and it was worth the stop to stay there to get to hike into them. The kids got to learn about the mountains and completed their junior ranger books to get another badge. Everyone was happy to see deer walking right outside of camp. Since it was getting cold the camp was barely occupied too, so we had some nice peaceful nights after hiking.
We went back to the caves at Carlsbad to turn in the cave scientist books and wonder around the caves again. After all that learning, Miles still had questions for a ranger we met hiking on the trail. He questioned him for a good half an hour and the ranger was very knowledgeable and was nice enough to answer every question. I think he was happy because Miles was really interested in the cave system and was getting pretty technical asking about specific bat species and geologic formations. Although New Mexico wasn’t my favorite state, it still has some wonderful things to see and do. Carlsbad is a place everyone should visit once in their lifetime and we have already talked as a family about going back during the summer to see the bats take flight.