I’m not a big fan of the over-developed National Parks tourist attractions, so while I wanted to see caverns, I also didn’t want a circus like is at the Grand Canyon South Rim, for example. When I pulled into the Carlsbad parking lot, I immediately wanted to turn around and leave. It was Christmas Eve day and I mistakenly assumed most folks would be happily baking Christmas pecan pie for the Eve dinner. I was horribly mistaken. The parking lot was crawling with tourists from in-state, out of state, out of the country… children, adults, dogs unhappily barking from barely cracked car windows. It was a mess.
The tour of the Big Cavern takes about three hours if you walk down the 750 feet, or an hour and a half if you take the elevator down. My knee wasn’t too happy and I was a bit anxious about leaving the dogs in camper in the parking lot for too long, so I opted for the elevator.
When the elevator doors opened and I stepped out, I almost stepped right back in. There’s concessions right there in the caverns. Gross.
I held my nose and walked to the cavern walkway. After letting my eyes adjust, I set out on the “stay on the path” walk through the large ‘room’.
Initially, it felt very Disney with areas lit up for our viewing pleasure, but as I continued I was really astounded by the immensity of the cavern and by the fact that this place I was walking was millions of years old. I felt like I was walking in Ray Bradbury’s “The Butterfly Effect” story where one step off the path, an accidental squashed butterfly, can change the course of history.
It’s too damn slow a connection to post all the pics. Will post some, but publish others later with an update.
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Don’t drop anything in the pools! This water hasn’t been disturbed in a very long time. There are microbes and critters that have never seen sunshine.
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It really is an amazing place. Of course the geek in me thought it was straight out of a Star Trek episode, and it really is otherworldly. Which, it kind of is in that it’s not of the world we normally interact with. That 3-D thing again. I wonder if this multi-dimensional theme will continue for more of my road trip?
It’s odd to say that it initially felt somewhat claustrophobic considering the grandness of the caverns, but too much thinking about how deep underground I was caused a ripple in my reptilian brain. I think the abyss stared back at me