Duane & Jo's U.S. and Canada Tour: 2008 travel blog

Sunset! First night in our campground.

"Bat watching amphitheater at cave entrance. The bats migrated to Mexico in...

You go way down into the ground. The cave floor is 720'...

The entrance itself is a very large hole.

Looking out. Fortunately, the cave path is paved and lit with soft...

A cave column.

Chocolate/vanilla swirl.


Witches' fingers.

Looking up.

Frustrated Lovers -- almost touching.

Column formation up close.

A giant in the hall.


Sunrise at Branton Lake State Park

We had a very interesting visitor.

It's amazing how well he blends in.

Peccaries at the Living Desert Zoo.

Extremely endangered Mexican wolves.

This one was at the Living Desert Zoo but we saw a...

I'm pretty sure these animals roam near our campground.

A view of Carlsbad.

We drove past this park on our way to City of Rocks.

Awesome!!!! Ever since I was a kid I have been intrigued by and wanted to visit Carlsbad Caverns. Duane and I have been lucky enough to have been able to tour several caves and I wondered if Carlsbad could ever live up to my expectations. We spent about 6 hours in the cave and every minute there was something new to see and appreciate. Entering through the natural entrance (instead of going down 720' in the elevator) gave us a real appreciation of how enormous this cave really is. Other caves we have been in were formed when rivers flowed through the rocks. Carlsbad was formed when a shallow sea covered the area and water from the sea entered the rock. As the sea level went down sulfur dioxide, from oil and gas nearby, mixed with the water to form sulfuric acid and broke down the rock. The result is huge vertical spaces in which the seepage of ground water has formed spectacular formations. Carlsbad is really not on the way to anywhere but I recommend it to anyone who enjoys exploring caves.

We camped about 45 miles north of the caverns at Brantley Lake S P. It is a desert campground set on a hill over looking the reservoir. The weather was chilly, it dipped to 26 degrees one night, we stayed warm with a small electric heater. It was a quiet campground with serene desert vistas and crisp, clean air. Close by is the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens SP. It is small with a collection of native animals and plants and a pleasant place to spend an afternoon. As far as we could see, the city of Carlsbad had little to offer.

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