Monday, August 29, 2011

Carlsbad Caverns

We drove over 600 miles the first day of our road trip (barely avoiding running out of gas). The time change into Mountain bought us an "extra" hour, so we checked into our hotel and drove around Carlsbad to check out our dining options. We were hoping for some good New Mexican food (different from Tex-Mex), but none of the options looked very promising.

Then we came upon this, and for the story alone, we had to give it a try!

Kyle opted for Chinese, while Terry, Amanda and I tried "the best Mexican food" in town. I will say that the Mexican food was better than the Chinese food. The menu had the restaurant's name, "Where East Meets West."

Bright and early the next morning, we enjoyed the free breakfast in our hotel, then headed to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. We took an hour-long ranger tour first (and believe me our ranger was more capable than the one above!). We love the ranger talks at the National Park. It makes everything a lot more interesting, and one of the things that they do when you are on one of the guided tours is allow you to experience total darkness. We were able to go in parts of the caverns that are closed off to non-guided views, and in one of those places, they turn off all the lights. Very eerie!!

I was particularly impressed with and fascinated by the deep clear pools in the caverns.

After that tour was over, we had lunch in the cafeteria. I went for some local flavor and got this raspberry cider from a local orchard that we ended up seeing throughout the area. It was very very sweet. The kids liked it more than I did.

After lunch, we decided to tour the public areas of the caverns. We walked in instead of taking the elevator. Terry sprung for the audio walking tour.

After hearing the first stop or two, Amanda refused to listen. She said, "It's dumb." Since we were still right outside the visitor center, Terry and Amanda went back and switched hers to the adult version.  I listened to it, and she was right -- the kid version that Terry and gotten for Amanda and Kyle was quite over-done in a juvenile way. There was a song (that haunts me still) that the "bat" that was narrating the tour sang when they were going over the safety rules:

"Stay on the path with mom and dad. . . . "

It was one of those things that gave us lots of laughs throughout the trip.

This was Terry's, Kyle's and Amanda's first visit to Carlsbad (and the Grand Canyon, our next stop). I visited both with my grandparents when I was about Amanda's age and remembered them both as magnificent.

One day was plenty to see everything that we needed to see. Amanda was a little jealous when she saw people selecting gloves and kneepads for the guided tour that goes through some of the smaller crawl spaces. It's more rigorous, and Kyle wasn't old enough anyway. Maybe next time??


Carrie said...

This sounds like an AMAZING trip! I want to do that as a family sometime.

So love the Chinese/Mexican restaurant. That's awesome!

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

Oh wow -- very cool. No "smaller crawl spaces" for me. My mild claustrophobia would likely flare up. :) Love the Chinese/best Mexican restaurant. That sign cracked me up!

Nancy said...

We did a ranger tour at the Wind Caves and he also turned out the lights, so cool. Zach clung tightly to my hand the whole time.

And yeah, the smaller crawl spaces would so not be my thing!