19 September 2005

Sitting Bull Falls and the Guadalupe's

Saturday the 17th, Bill and I drove out to Sitting Bull Falls in the Lincoln National Forest, NM. http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/lincoln/. It was really cool to see a waterfall in the middle of the desert. The water bubbles up from underground streams. The Falls themselves are 150 feet tall and incredibly pretty. It’s amazing to look around at the surrounding area and see desert, then you turn around and there’s a waterfall. The area that the water falls into looks like a tropical paradise with a desert twist, it’s really something. The drive out was only long because the falls are about 40 miles from the main road on a road that winds like a snake; it takes about an hour or so from the city of Carlsbad to reach the falls. They have a gorgeous picnic area that Bill and I had lunch at before trekking up to the falls (not a far walk).

Sunday I spent doing laundry and watching football, Bill worked, swam, and watched football. It was nice to have a day to catch up on a few things.

Today (Monday the 19th) we drove to the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. GMNP is really pretty, but caters more to the person who enjoys a day hike in 90+ degrees, blazing desert sun…not my idea of a good time. We pretty much drove to the visitor’s center, poked around, and left. We did come across “The Pinery”, which was really interesting. http://www.guadalupe.mountains.national-park.com/info.htm#butt. It’s the path that was cut across America to get from the East to the West. Prior to this mail was sent via steamship down around South America, this station was the predecessor to the Pony Express, it was really pretty interesting, here is a pic of what’s left of the building.

After the Guadalupe Mtns National Park, we drove back to the Carlsbad Caverns and walked the Natural Entrance. The rangers tell you that if you have back, knee, or hip problems not to walk this trail, likewise if you have breathing problems or any other thing that means you’re not in good health. They call this trail ‘strenuous’. They aren’t kidding really, it’s steep, wet, and really dark. I walked it in baby steps and there were times that it was a little disorienting. It’s really dark in some places, so dark you almost can’t see your own feet, and it’s wet, and steep. It was fun and I’m glad I did it, but I really wouldn’t recommend walking the natural entrance if you have any joint issues, or any issues with the dark, or claustrophobia. For those cases, take the elevator down, walk the Big Room, and take the elevator back up. We didn’t take any pictures this time around because it was so dark, and we didn’t want to carry the cameras knowing it wasn’t going to just be a leisurely walk through the caverns. There were a couple of time I wished we had brought the cameras if for no other reason than to so how steep the walk was with the switchbacks. I actually worked up a sweat. The caverns are a constant 56 degrees (I was wrong when I posted 63) and I wasn’t cold once on the walk down, I almost had to take off my sweatshirt, I was getting so warm.

All in all we had a pretty fun day today. Started out with the Guadalupe’s in Texas and ended with the Caverns in New Mexico again…oh, and I bought a canned bat, I couldn’t help myself.