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Friday, April 29, 2011

Carlsbad, New Mexico (April 17 - 18, 2011)

Inside Carlsbad Caverns
Living Desert Zoo & Garden
Sitting Bull falls

We camped at Brantley Lake State Park in New Mexico which was pretty nice.  It was very windy during our stay; but Buddy was able to swim in the lake which he hadn't done in a long time.  He just jumped in once Mike gave the word.  On our way from Guadalupe Mountains to Brantley Lake SP, we stopped at the Carlsbad Caverns National Park; it was amazing!!!  They call it a "Journey Underground" and it begins in the Chihauahuan Desert of the Guadalupe Mountains. This is where from mid-May through October, there is a massive Bat Flight where hundreds of thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats fly out of their "Bat Cave" at nightfall in gigantic swarms.  We were there a little too early to experience this, but they say it is pretty neat to see.  There were 8 different cave tours -- some self guided; while some were tour guided with a fee.  We chose the Big Room Self-Guided 1.25 mile route and it was so interesting.  Mike's pictures are amazing; but even so does not do justice to the actual sights we experienced.  We both agreed that these were far more terrific then Mammoth Caves in Kentucky which were the only other caves we have really visited.

Javelina in Desert Zoo
Our 2nd day in Carlsbad, we visited The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens and the Sitting Bull Falls.  The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens was just that.  Here you  could see all the plants and cactures that live in the desert.  Though there was a freezing (unusual) in February and killed many species.  But in addition, were the animals that live in the desert:  snakes, mule deer, bobcats, mountain lions, elk, bison, javelina, prairie dogs, and even tortuises, etc.  There was even a Black Bear -- why he was here we do not know.  We had a picnic lunch after walking through the 1.3 mile guided trail.                                           

Sitting Bull Falls
Sitting Bull Falls was another point of interest.  These falls were derived from underground springs which cascaded over the mountain cliffs over 140 feet high.  Very picturesque and a nice park to visit with picnic shelters and a paved trail to the falls.  We even hiked up the mountain to the top of the falls but could not get too close to the springs.  Since water is very sparse in the desert, this was kind of nice to see.
Inside Carlsbad Caverns N.P.


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