On Sunday, September 19th we left Palo Duro Canyon in Texas and headed to Carlsbad Cavern in New Mexico which was about 300 miles away. We arrived at the Brantley Lake State Park Campground (which is about 30 miles from Carlsbad Caverns) late in the afternoon.
We drove to Carlsbad Cavern on Monday, September 20th and we hiked the 1 ½ mile natural cave opening and the 1 ½ mile Big Room hike. We left Carlsbad Caverns and stopped at the local Laundromat and then returned to Carlsbad Cavern’s natural cave opening for the evening bat exit at sunset. Thousands of bats were still flying out after more than an hour that we watched. A large tarantula greeted us during the walk back to the truck.
We spent another night at Brantley Lake before heading out to White Sands on Tuesday, September 21st.
Brantley Lake Park had Black Ear Jack Rabbits, quail and a few doves. We didn’t try fishing in the lake. Access to the park was interesting since about 5 miles was through Open Range – meaning no fences – and the cattle were not shy about the road.