|Carlsbad Caverns is my
favorite cave. My family and I have visited this cave many times and
each time I am amazed by the beauty and majesty of it. Below the common everyday chores
dwells a dark place where silence brings to your ears a single drop of
water...then another drop of water to build a monument to the
There are several
tours offered by this cavern. The tours can range from very easy and
clean to strenuous and dirty. Entering the cave is half the fun. One can
purchase the use of a CD system which explains the formations as one
walks through the cave. It is important to remember that touching
formations stops them from growing...so no touching! Also stay on the
paths. When you step off of the path you damage the are around.
The walk-in tour begins with a steep
drop down into the cave. This area between the surface land and the
depths is like being between worlds.
||As one continues to descend
into the cave by a long series of switch-backs, the light begins to
fade. The air becomes more humid and cool. Carlsbad, unlike many other
caves uses differently colored lights to draw your attention to
particular formations. However, the different colored lights are used
sparingly. More on the photography aspects are explained on page
two of Carlsbad Caverns.
|Several stops along the
trail into the cave are provided. It is important to remember to take
your time and enjoy the views around you. The entrance is littered with
large boulders that have fallen many years ago. These huge pieces of
rock are astounding in size. The photograph to the right shows one such
boulder. This boulder is called Iceberg Rock and weighs about 200,000
tons. If you can't imagine how big that is then think of this...it took
30 minutes to walk around it.
Berg Rock and Tunnel
||As in all caves one can
often imagine things in the rocks. The photograph to the left has a
formation that looks like a person's face. The formations hanging from
the ceiling are called stalactites, while those rising from the floor
are called stalagmites. Some remember that stalactites are from the
ceiling and the word contains a 'c'. Stalagmites have the letter 'g' in
the word for ground where it is
||found. Another way to
remember is that stalactites hold TIGHT to the ceiling while,
stalagmites MIGHT reach up to the ceiling one day. There are many
other formations viewed in the cavern including draperies, helictites,
soda straws, pop-corn, cave pearls and cave bacon. One of my favorite
formations are the helictites. These formations defy the laws of gravity
as they grow in any direction. Caverns
of Sonora, in Texas, has some of the most amazing helictites that
I've ever seen.
||Each formation is formed by
tiny droplets of water that deposits calcite one drop at a time. It is
interesting to me to find that each cave has a certain color to the
formations. Color in the formations comes from stains as it passes
through the earth. White formations are pure without any stains. There
were a few places in this cave that had areas of near white color.
Continue to page
two for more information, photographs and links to this cave.