Late morning we return to the Carlsbad Caverns. With a jacket around the hips we start walking down the steep trail. The trail is 1.25 miles and the drop in elevation is 750 feet (230 Meter). This way we experience first hand how deep in the ground these caverns are. The entrance we take is also the way the bats take to get in and out of the caves ever evening. We don’t see them as they are hiding/sleeping in a dark cave away from the publicly accessible parts.
Down in the cave it is 56 Fahrenheit (14 Celsius) and the humidity is 90%. The Carlsbad Caverns are the biggest lime stone caves in the western hemisphere and the “Big Room” has the size of more than 14 football fields. The trail around the Big Room is another mile long and leads past all these different and fascinating formations of lime stone, stalactites and stalagmites in all forms and shapes – some are bright white others are dark, some are pointy others look like popcorn. The history of the caves starts some 250 million years ago and for a long time they were filled with water. The ranger tells us that the water dripping from ceiling increases after a heavy rain, but it can take weeks to do so. The caverns get around 400,000 visitors a year from allover the world.
It is almost 2pm when we leave the caverns with the elevator and drive on towards El Paso. We pass the highest mountain in Texas: Guadalupe Peak, which is 8,749 feet (2,666 Meter). Then we drive through the Salt Flats. A few miles later we take a short detour and stop at an old house, which has probably been empty for years. Looking at the equipment around the house it must once have been a farm.
In El Paso we have a slim dinner at Starbucks and about an hour later we are back at the America’s Best Value Inn in Las Cruces.