We woke up to another chilly and windy day in Carlsbad, just the perfect day to spend in the Cavern. The last time we were here it had snowed and there was about 8 inches on the ground when we pulled into our campground. We toured the cave the next day and the temperature was about 65 degrees when we left the cave, today we had sun and a high of 65 degrees. The temperature in the cavern is a steady 56 degrees with a high humidly.
We were lucky to get in on a ranger lead tour of the Kings Room; this is an area that cannot be visited without a ranger. The tour takes about an hour and forty five minutes and goes through the Kings Room, the Queens Room, and the Green Lake. The pictures Rich took don’t do justice, you just can’t capture the depth and the size of this cavern, and it is just incredible.
We started the tour with a high speed elevator ride down 750 feet (75 stories). We left the elevator and entered an area so large there was a restaurant, restrooms built right into the cave walls, a small gift shop and a waiting area where we met our tour leader. After a few words from him about cave behavior we started our tour with another descend of 8 stories, we are now about 850 feet below ground.
As we walked from area to area we learned about the history of the Caverns, how they were discovered and used in the past, we also had an opportunity to experience total darkness when the tour guide cut the lights. I felt very uncomfortable as I have terrible claustrophobia and that extreme darkness really kicks in the old anxiety. Actually, I haven’t been in darkness like that since our son Jeff turned out the lights on a tour we took of Wind Cave in South Dakota when he was about 10 years old that sure surprised the ranger on that tour. Needless to say Carlsbad Cavern is just unbelievable, it’s like one of the places you have to see before you die, which Richard almost did on the way out. Because the wait to take the elevator back to the surface was over an hour I talked Richard into walking out. The ranger said it was an easy uphill climb; many switch backs, for 750 feet... HE LIED!!!! IT WAS NOT EASY!!! We ended up walking up with the same group of people and all congratulated each other when we finally reached the top. We then treated ourselves to lunch at Chilies and put back all the calories we had just walked off.
In the cave with the lights out