Unreal. Awesome. Amazing. Spectacular. Mysterious. Enchanting. These are just a few of the words that come to mind when I think about Carlsbad Caverns.
The caverns were discovered in 1898 by a sixteen year old boy named, Jim White, who noticed a big black whirl in the distance. As he got closer, he realized the black whirl was actually a ton of bats exiting a giant black hole in the mountain. Days later, he returned with supplies to make a ladder that would allow him to descend into the hole. He spent much of his time exploring the cave with homemade torches. After the Caverns were featured in publications like National Geographic and The New York Times, Congress established this area as a national park in 1930, well over 30 years after Jim had first discovered them.
Today, Carlsbad Caverns holds the largest limestone cavern in the Western Hemisphere. We spent most of the morning, touring the caverns and got to see many variations of stalagmites, stalactites, draperies, columns, etc. It literally felt like the caverns went on for forever, and each turn unveiling nature at its best. Can you believe that the Caverns are as big as fourteen football fields?!? These pictures don’t even do the Caverns justice, so you’ll just have to go visit them yourself!
Also, every night there is a ranger program at sunset, where you can see “The Bat Flight”, where you get to experience that same “black whirl” that Jim White once saw. Hundreds of thousands of bats exit the cave in search for food and return at dawn. IT WAS AMAZING! Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photos, but you know we would have been all over it!
Thankfully, there were lights spread out to help with photos and showcase its features because I could not imagine finding my way in complete darkness!
- Allie and Jonathan