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Published: February 8th 2018
Today's plan included, seeing Carlsbad Caverns, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and Sitting Bull Falls. The in the past few days we have driven about 400 miles and it was starting to tire me more than I had expected, so Mi Hyon insisted on driving today. It was a great help and fun to sit as a passenger just taking in the scenery without having to watch the road. The day amounted to a marathon touring effort that was as rewarding as it was exhausting. We left the RV around 9:30 for Carlsbad Caverns and arrived in about 45 minutes, well ahead of the crowd that started arriving when we were finishing up. Words and pictures can never describe the beauty of the Caverns!! The Park Service has done an amazing job laying out the paths, the lights, and the routes through huge caverns without creating a distraction or taking away from the natural beauty of the caves. There are two options for entering the caverns, a 1.2 mile walk through the natural entrance or an elevator down, for us we chose the elevator. Since we arrived before the crowds, there was no wait for the elevators on either end, the elevators
only hold a few people so on this day they sent elevators down with family groups, so we had our own long ride to the bottom. We were told the wait can be lengthy depending on how busy it is, we were lucky again. Once we arrived at the bottom, the big room trail is a 1.25 miles of amazing caverns and rock formations. Once again, there were very few people in the caves with us so we had plenty of time to take pictures and just take in the views; it took us about 2 hours to walk the path. Once back up in the visitor's center we had a nice lunch, before we headed 25 miles south to Guadalupe Mountains NP. It turns out this National Park is what is referred to as a wilderness park, so beyond the visitors center which has a great display of the plants and animals, there is just the big El Capitan landmark and hiking trails. El Capitan was used as a navigation landmark for Native Americans, Spanish expeditions, US settlers, and US Calvary as they made their way across the expansive southwest deserts on their way west. In an otherwise featureless
desert, El Capitan stands out among the Guadalupe Mountains. After a short stay, we headed off for our final stop of the day, Sitting Bull Falls National Monument. We both doubted the water falls would have water, since it has been abnormally dry in an otherwise dry desert. After a lengthy drive through ranchland with cattle wandering in and through the road, we arrived about 50 minutes before closure. It was an honor system to register and pay the $5 entrance fee so we did that and hit the trail. After about a little less than a .5 mile walk uphill, we arrived at the falls...and there was clear cold water flowing! The crystal clear pools around the base of the falls are open for swimming, but the water was far too cold for that! We spent every minute we had until closing time and were thankful that we did not skip this location. Mi Hyon insisted we stay a week in our next stop Fort Bliss Military Family Camp (El Paso), to recover some energy for the next part of the trip. As always she read me well; I need the rest to recover my sense of humor and
patience for handling traffic! We checked off a few more items on our bucket list, but plan to slow our roll a little the rest of the way.
Tot: 1.836s; Tpl: 0.108s; cc: 15; qc: 60; dbt: 0.0393s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb