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Friday, November 20, 2015

Family Road Trip - Day 6: Carlsbad Caverns

Usually we wake normally and try to get out the door, but not in too much of a rush. Today we needed to get to the cavern sort of early so we made an effort to hustle a little faster than normal. We had our usual hotel free continental smorgish board breakfast in the room again, which by the way makes our mornings so much easier.

Today was going to take a substantial amount of medication. We found out mid-way through our trip that the elevators to the caverns were down. The main one broke down two months ago, and the backup elevator broke down two weeks ago. It was 1.25 miles down a very steep path and then a 1.25 mile cavern loop below and then the 1.25 miles back out. We debated about changing our plan and going to see something else with the day I had set aside to see the caverns but we REALLY wanted to see it. Touted as the Grand Canyon of caves it sounded super fun and well we are crazy anyways.

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We really weren’t sure what to expect, or what was going to happen. Mr. Rogue wore my Little Rose in the baby carrier and I was in charge of making sure my Little Cricket didn’t jump off the path. We figured that my Little Cricket would walk until he dropped and then I would wear the baby and Mr. Rogue would carry the exhausted boy. At its worse, if it wasn’t working, we would just turn around and muck our way back out.

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And man they were NOT KIDDING. When the ranger expressed his concern for us going with two young children he spoke over and over again how steep that path was. HOLY MOLY mother of &#$*#@^$@&#. We walked up to a gaping hole in the otherwise flat land. And leading into that hole were the sharpest switchbacks. And even with those switchbacks the path was still super STEEP.

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Taking a deep breath we descended slowly down into the hole. Curving back and forth, throwing our weight back to offset the slope. The light started to fade, the air started to get much much cooler, which was nice because we were already breaking a sweat. There were so many amazing sights. Everything was lit, although Mr. Rogue being a light guy was critical about how they lit everything. Although it was hard to take photos without a tripod (we had decided to leave ours at home) we did our best with the low light conditions. Having the 5d helped so much, and I was surprised at how well my iPhone 6s did taking photos in such low light.

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TAKEN WITH THE MARK III 5D

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TAKEN WITH THE IPHONE 6S

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I am not going to lie. As we passed from room to room, part of my brain was marveling at the awesomeness of the cavern and the other part of my brain looked down, sometimes straight down, at yet more steep paths. I was so worried about getting out of the cavern without someone breaking down. I voiced my concern a few times but we muscled on.

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When we got down to the bottom, at the food court, we took a little break. I changed both kids diapers, we used the restroom and we sat down for some water. The rules say no food but I brought a few non-crumb snacks for my Little Cricket to eat in the food court. Hello there is a food court! And my Little Cricket is a super picky eater so I figured they would forgive me. Mr. Rogue and I thought that we would just grab something at the food court. AHHHHH no. That food, the measly things that were available didn’t look good at all. Not even a little bit. At that point I REALLY REALLY wish we could have brought snacks down for us too. But we weren’t really super hungry at this point. No biggie right.

It took us 1.5 hours to get down that steep slope, with lots of stopping for photos and some rest breaks. We then had 3 hours left before we have to be out of the cave before it closed for the night. Instead of doing the whole 1.25 loop at the bottom of the cave, with much deliberation and sadness we decided to only do the half loop. We were sad; I would have loved to have seen the whole large cavern, and there was some things in the part we were going to miss that sounded super cool. Mr. Rogue and I love to travel and see new things so I don’t know when we are going to make it back here, if ever. There are just too many other amazing things to see in the world. However with both little kids and with that SUPER STEEP climb out of the cavern we wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to get back out. At least we made it all the way down, and we were seeing half of the cavern, that is something. And you know what, that half loop was just as amazing, and also totally different, then the things we got to see on the way down. This cavern, it’s just incredible.

Nature is awesome.

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Climbing back out of that cavern, 1.25 miles straight out…. totally SUCKED. But seeing that faint light, natural light coming from outside, which means that we were totally almost out of that cavern…. was TOTALLY AMAZING.

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My Little Cricket is a rock star. That kid, he walked the whole way. It took us 4.5 hours to hike 3.25 miles round trip, with 2.5 miles of super steep grade. I was so proud. Sadly we ran out of water in the last hour of our hike. We saved the last of the water for a bottle for my Little Rose and for my Little Cricket. By the time we got out of the cavern Mr. Rogue and I were starving and OH SO thirsty. After getting the kids organized with getting diapers changed, getting them fed snack, and settled in their car seats (where they both immediately passed out) we finally were able to guzzle water and scarf down a bunch of snacks. And then as I was unpacking the backpack I wore in the cavern I found an unopened bottle of water that Mr. Rogue missed. GRRRRRRRRR.

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We didn’t have a set stop for our hotel. It was a 7 hour drive to Medina where my parents were staying, and in the planning phase I knew after hiking all day we weren’t going to be able to make it in one go. So since we had time, and since it was almost twilight, our favorite time to take photos, we decided to take the scenic drive before heading out. The sun got too low before we got to some really beautiful rock formations, by then it was in shadow, pretty to see but not so pretty to photos. Ah well, time to head out!

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After three hours of driving we were tired. We made a good dent in our drive tomorrow. I found a hotel, we picked up some Subway (it’s so much easier with the kids to eat in the room then try to manage them at a restaurant) and we all had NO TROUBLE getting a great night’s sleep tonight.

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1 comment:

paul peggy zeus said...

Best cave on the planet! at least in the USA. If you've never been to Carlsbad Cavern GO! I would recommend October so you can see the flock of bats leaving the bat cave at dusk.

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