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March 27: Caverns & Aliens

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<– Day 9 – March 26: Space History and White Sands | Overview | Day 11 – March 28: Petroglyph Rocks and Tent Rocks –>

On Wednesday March 27th we spent the day exploring eastern New Mexico.

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We began the morning with a beautiful drive east up to Cloudcroft, a town that sits at 9000 ft, making it popular destination for folks looking to escape the heat of the Alamogordo valley.  It was early, so not much was open. We continued until we reached the dusty town of Artesia, NM. My oldest son Karson had been ‘stationed’ in Artesia to get his final training for Fema Corps, but left Sunday (only 3  days earlier) for Brooklyn, where he will spend two months helping the Hurricane Sandy clean up process.  So, we just missed him!

From Artesia, we went south on Highway 285 until we reached Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

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After entering the Carlsdbad’s visitor center, we had a choice. We could either take an elevator down or walk down to the caverns themselves. Ann thought it best to take the elevator, but was perfectly happy to let me walk down the winding pathway through a massive cave entrance, which leads to the caverns.

So, I started towards the entrance. At first the switchbacks were relative gentle…

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But soon they got steeper. As the path led into the cave opening, moisture from the walls and ceiling bled onto the path, making it slippery in spots due to the angle of descent. 2013-03-27-carlsbad-cavern4

Eventually, I reached an intersection. I was uncertain which way to go until I spotted a sign I thought would get me to the elevators. So, I turned right, unaware that I was actually heading into the cavern system itself. Once I realized my mistake, I then had to figure out whether it was quicker to head back the way I had come or venture forward until I returned back the the intersection starting point. Poor Ann was left waiting for me. I think it took me about 15 minutes to complete the entire circuit through the caverns at a slight job.

One I found Ann again, we I took my second stroll around the caverns, this time at a much slower pace. My photos of the cavern were mostly blurry, but this was turned out reasonably well.

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After our jaunt through the caverns we took the elevator back to the visitor center, then left the National Park. We turned north on Highway 285 and headed for Roswell.

Of course, Roswell is famous for its aliens. We were pleased that there were plenty of Alien-themed stores and architecture dotting the famous city.  Even the local McDonalds has a space theme.

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After Roswell, we drove west back to Tularosa.

On Thursday we began our trek back home.

<– Day 9 – March 26: Space History and White Sands | Overview | Day 11 – March 28: Petroglyph Rocks and Tent Rocks –>

 

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