October 5, 2015 - Carlsbad Caverns

We wake up to the Balloon Fiesta flooding the morning sky,

then head through some gnarly, foggy rain down south towards Carlsbad, NM.

We get there to find some scrubby, hilly land

and the namesake National Park.

Getting ready to walk in.

It is a long way down.

Totally worth it. We see some freaky stuff down there.

Huge stalagmites,

"popcorn ceilings,"

and "soda straw celings."

We're finally in The Big Room, a 600,000 sqft room the size of 14 football fields. Here, we find something that is almost a column. Just a few hundred thousand more years to go...

The Lion's Tail.

Massive, alien pillars.

Death from above.

Similar, but stranger, this ceiling has more veins and draperies.

Back up top, we kill time and wait for the bats.

Back at the amphitheater near the cavern entrance, we get a nature talk and wait for the bats.

Eventually, they come. We see a few hundred (maybe a few thousand) trickle out before it gets too dark.
Then we make the long, darker drive to El Paso for our morning flight home.

We need to grab dinner on the way home from the airport the next day, so hit our favorite Italian restaurant for our favorite chocolate cake.
I hope Ella enjoyed her birthday trip (and treat)!