Friday, February 4, 2011

Phew!

Things started out a little shaky this morning. We were on the western end of the central time zone, so it was still dark at 7:00. We decided to wait a bit for daylight as it would not be a good idea to drive on ice in the dark. The first hour or so was like the day before, but then about 25 miles west of Abilene, the ice started to gradually disappear. Free sailing to Carlsbad Caverns from then on.




Carlsbad Caverns was truly awesome. To get to the caverns, you take an elevator down about 750 feet to the entrance to the Big Room. At first it looks fake around the entrance, but then you walk into this immense cavern which is the size of 6 football fields. There is a paved walkway that takes you on mile or so tour. The cavern was "discovered" by a kid named Jim White in the late 1890's. He saw the bats flying out of the natural opening in the ground and decided to take a look inside. Going down into that void in the dark with only a lantern must have been daunting. Not sure if anyone would know anything about it if I had been the first to discover it.

We also took a tour of the King's Palace cavern. This was a great tour and our guide, Mark, was very informative. He was not only a park ranger, but also a caver and a geologist. So, he could cover all the bases. He told a story of when Jim White left his lantern on the ground while he went off to do some investigating. He heard a slight "puff" as his candle went out. He had 3 matches left to use to find the lantern and make sure he could light it. If he failed at relighting the lantern, he would never have been able to find his way out of the cavern. Here is a photo of what Jim's view would have seen without his candle.....

3 comments:

  1. Hey, I know Jim White! I especially like the last picture. Drive safe(ly)! BobC

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  2. Reminds me of the Magic Rocks kids could grow in a fish bowl.

    We toured the Mammouth Caves in Kentucky back it the day. Sure was creepy in the total darkness.

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