http-equiv='refresh'/> Tin TeePee/Log Cabin: Carlsbad Caverns

Monday, December 15, 2014

Carlsbad Caverns

We are all fresh out of adjectives!  The winding road leading to Carlsbad Caverns travels through what our imaginations led us to believe was the landscape of all New Mexico.  Our kind of country—rugged, craggy, hills, cactus and yucca.  It was a beautiful morning when we left the campground and headed down 750 feet into the earth.

IMG_0444-001We’ve never left Emmi any longer than six hours thus our time for getting there, seeing some of the caverns and getting back was limited—so we took the elevator!  You can walk into the caverns through the natural entrance and walk back out—up the equivalent of a 75 story building we were told. 

Stepping off the elevator is a bit of a shock—seeing a dining area and restrooms in the bottom of a cave!!


In 1912 a sixteen year old New Mexico boy named Jim White discovered and begin exploring the caves using candles and kerosene lanterns, ropes and stick ladders.  As you can imagine he had a hard time convincing anyone what was below the surface of the ground.  He finally convinced a photographer to follow him into the cave—the photographer was so impressed he came back and brought assistants with materials (magnesium) to create enough “flashes” for photography.  The photographs were published and in 1923 President Calvin Coolidge declared Carlsbad Caverns a National Monument even if one of the photographs was published upside down.   In 1930 the Caverns became a National Park. 

Can you even imagine exploring something as vast and mystical as Carlsbad Caverns with candles and lanterns???  and on rope ladders hanging 90 feet above a huge hole??? 



Entering the cave is entering another world—eerily quiet, mystically lighted, creature like formations, water dripping, green pools, bottomless pits—a whole other world, full of hang-y down and stick-y up things as Ranger Eric explained it! Smile


We opted to take a self-guided tour of the Big Room and totally lucked out—there were very few people today allowing us to wander at our own pace, stop and take photographs (I took 198 photos) and enjoy the mystical atmosphere of Carlsbad Caverns. 

IMG_0249See the tiny person in the center of the photograph—the Big Room is that big—we were standing on the opposite side when I took this photograph.

We grabbed a quick bite to eat at the cave canteen then joined our ranger led tour of the Kings Palace.  Ranger Eric was passionate about Carlsbad Caverns presenting us with so much information about Jim White and the geology of the cave.  Our group was only 30 people (tours can have as many as 40 people) and it was a quiet, older group of people with only one child—a very pleasant youngster named Michael Smile who had the honor of pushing the button to turn off all lights so we could see how dark it was.  The man sitting on my left said, “oh my, it’s darker than when you have your eyes closed at night!!”  Ranger Eric had left little Michael beside “the button” and had wandered down past the row of people talking as he went—he blew out the candle lantern he carried, let us sit in the dark for a few seconds then said to Michael, “push the button and turn the lights back on.”  This little voice speaks from down the row in the dark, “I can’t find the button!”  We all died laughing, Ranger Eric quickly found his flashlight and helped the kid find the button!



In our humble opinion, Carlsbad Caverns is not to be missed—we made it back to Ms. Emmi with 30 minutes to spare in our allotted six hour time frame!  (Bet you thought you were going to have to look at 198 photos didn’t you?? Winking smile)


  1. That is a cool place alright, we walked down and took the elevator back up. I guess I am just lazy that way!

  2. Yes the caverns are an amazing place. After being in the cave for awhile it begins to look "make believe" to me. Surely a place not to be missed. Becki

  3. I haven't been there since 1988, but I still remember the awe of it all.

  4. looks like you shared the best photos! Carlsbad Caverns has been on our list for while now!

  5. I love caves but haven't gotten here yet! Your photos are great!!

  6. We thoroughly enjoyed the Carlsbad Caverns as well back in 06. It truly is a magical place & I would recommend it to anyone. Glad you enjoyed it as much as we did & I do understand the 198 photos:))

  7. The Carlsbad Caverns appear far more enticing than the Karchner Cavers we were in last December in southeastern Arizona. That is now on our 'to do' list when we get close to the area.

  8. Great pics! We toured Carlsbad several years ago and found it every bit as awe-inspiring as you did, Janna.

  9. After reading this post, I am wondering why we have passed this place by so many times:(

  10. I've heard these are best of all the caves in the country and can't wait to see them myself. That last photo is incredible (and many more of those adjectives!). Love the Michael story - I hope he always remembers that great experience, entertaining all the old folks :-) Admittedly the canteen would throw me off, but it's good to know it's there!


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