Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 5 - Wow! Look at that!!!

This just in...
Aliens cheat at cards!
Started the day by walking outside and enjoying the weather. Then went alien-geocaching...found some...geocaches, not aliens. Did a little alien-shopping (You can't just pick the first alien you see!) and then hit 285 south for Carlsbad.

Roswell is said to be three hours from anywhere....Carlsbad is even farther! Finally arrived just in time to catch the elevator down 750 feet. We bought the audio self-tour and started out into the dimly lit darkness. Less than 5 minutes later we were both saying, "Wow! Look at that!" Now, from me, that doesn't mean much...I have very little caving experience and am easily impressed. But from Mona (Cave Woman Froman) that's saying a lot! She's been to most every cave I've ever heard of and about ten more. She was in awe of Carlsbad....and so was I. It is virtually impossible to describe what the "decorations" look's just too outer-worldly/fairy tale-ish.

A little geological history. This part of New Mexico was once the coast of an inland sea. Layers upon layers of sea animals died and formed a limestone reef. The sea evaporated, the reef was buried, and then a bubble of sulfuric acid formed the cavity. Add a few million years of drops of water percolating through the soil and then dripping into the cave forming stalactites, stalagmites and columns.  They call the various forms of these “decorations” and they are classified as “popcorn”, “soda straws”, “draperies”, etc. I will post several pictures, but they can never come close to showing the grandeur of this cave. 

Miles of sun, desert and mountains.
After a few hours caving we hit the road for Las Cruces, NM via a two-lane highway through Texas.  No services for 140 miles…luckily the speed limit was 75 so we zipped through there pretty quickly.  More high desert scenery and started seeing these plants which seem to be a blend of a palm tree, Joshua tree and a yucca plant.  Gotta find out what these are!
Palm, Joshua, Yucca Plant
What is it?!?!

 In the middle of this desert we came along a wide expanse of snow!  No, wait…it’s salt!  It’s a salt flat south of the Guadalupe Mountains.  We think this is a result of the inland sea (mentioned about) evaporating.  More research is required!  Come to find out...there was a twelve year war fought over these salt flats, between US and Mexican forces.  A famous part of the war was the surrender of 20 Texas Rangers to a force of 500 Tejuanos.  This is the only time in history that Texas Rangers surrendered. The Rangers were subsequently found to be unfit to be Rangers..because they couldn't beat 500 to 20 odds.  Geeze!

Came into El Paso the back way, just in time for rush hour traffic.  Due to some interesting routing we missed going to Juarez, Mexico by this much!  Got to see the border at the Rio Grande….startling between the buildings on the USA side versus the Mexican side.  Sad that mere separation by a small river  brings such separation in life.

Rolled into Las Cruces about 6:00.  We were still tired from caving so we walked across the highway to a winery/pizza place.  Dumb luck, that!  Fantastic wines and wonderful pizza…very similar to PWs.  Found our way back across the highway, while stargazing, and crashed.

Headed for Tombstone today.  Hoping to pick up a drawl and a bow-legged walk!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome cave pictures! I was born in El Paso, TX but have never been there. My parents went to a bull fight in Juarez.