Today we definitely went from one extreme to the other. We spent the night in Carlsbad, NM, and so of course we had to see the Carlsbad Caverns. Beyond amazing.
There are two ways to see the Caverns. The first is to walk for an hour and a half over a mile stretch of paths that zig and zag as they descend 75 floors onto the “Big Room” of the caverns. There is also an elevator that takes you down to the path to the Big Room, which itself contains another mile of pathways. We are so proud of ourselves for walking down – and living to tell the story.
We also had the extremely good fortune – and not by accident – to be travelling off-season. Imagine the summer, when lines just to the ticket counter evidently stretch for an hour, and people are waiting two and a half hours for the elevators. But that’s not the worst. Those people – and their kids, who didn’t get the memo about whispering in the caverns – are cheek to jowl as they go through their tour. The rangers say it is not a pleasant experience.
And then there was our trip. For most of it, we were absolutely alone on the trails, and when we got to the magnificent Big Room, which seemed to me to be the size of about 100 Radio City Music Halls, we had it all to ourselves. People would be willing to pay hundreds of dollars for that experience, I think. The comparisons to a cathedral are obvious, but the many many side altars were also stunning. The whole thing is beautifully lit in a way that always you to understand its depth and breadth, and to see amazing formations along the way.
Being virtually alone there removed us totally from the western scenery far above. In fact, I fully expected Gollum to come around some bizarre stalagmite and raspingly demand to have his Precious. The feeling was very Lord of the Rings indeed.
I don’t really have the camera equipment to be able to do the caverns justice, but I did manage to get a bit of the drama. The entrance itself is rather awesome. Oh – and talk about good planning, the bats have all flown off to Mexico for the season. Whew.
The view from the Visitors’ Center is also stunning. It’s just hard to imagine you can see that far.
Now for the other side of the story. Our next stop: Roswell, home of the UFO true believers and all because it was the site of a UFO landing in 1947. Of course it was.
Yes, we did go to the UFO Museum (and Research Center). I just have one question, and you probably can’t answer it. Why do people who believe in UFOs have troubling spelling and dealing with plurals, possessives, and plural possessives? Is there some deeper meaning in that juxtaposition of circumstances which would lead me to form a scientific conclusion? (I may not always get them right myself, but I do try,) I have spared you the many examples as most are too hard to read, and I must ponder that question further alone.
In the meanwhile, enjoy this taste of Roswell and its singular focus.
And then just to center ourselves, we went to the Roswell Art Museum. You fans of the Wyeth family probably know that many works of Peter Hurd and his wife Henrietta Wyeth are here, as they lived in the area for many years. Another small gem of a museum, with a focus on the West, and a smattering of some other lovely things.
A funny town, Roswell. And a funny day, from the depths of the bottom of the earth to the E.T.-level heights.