Below and Beyond

When we arrived in Carlsbad, New Mexico, we were fairly ambivalent about a return visit to Carlsbad Caverns.  We have been there at least twice, the last time just in 2017.  Eventually, we decided we had the parks pass, we were close, it’s a national park, so why not?

We had a mid-morning reservation (required with COVID) so we missed the Brazilian Free-Tailed bats coming or going. It was the tremendous bat activity that led settlers to wonder what was below and to the white man’s discovery of the cave.

The first cave explorer was Jim White.  He initially let cavern visitors down in a bucket used to haul bat guano.

Explorers then were able to use primitive stairs and ladders.

We decided to go down through the natural entrance. Thankfully, it now is a 1.25 mile paved trail.  It is steep as it goes down 750 feet but has a handrail and subtle lighting.  We were surprised at the number of people we saw walking out that way.  Down was fine for us but we planned to take the elevator back up!

At the bottom we connected to the 1.25 mile Big Room Route, basically going around the perimeter of the 8.2 acre room.   Enjoy some pictures!

This was the Lion’s Tail, a stalactite with popcorn.

There were so few people in the cavern that at times we would not see anyone else for five minutes at a time.   That was very different from previous visits but we look for benefits where we can during COVID times.

The Chinese Theater

So that was our adventure below….now for the beyond…..Roswell.   

The town capitalizes on what it is known for!

Our expectations for Roswell were not high, so we were able to have a good time and not take it too seriously.

We missed McDonald’s all lit up like a flying saucer….

Our destination was the UFO Museum and Research Center.

The first exhibit was about the Roswell Incident: the 1947 crash of something that may or may not have been a flying disc.  There may or may not have been three aliens, one of which survived the crash.  Oh, and after first acknowledging the incident, the government later said it was a weather balloon. Surely you’ve heard of it!

The information presented was lengthy, well documented and believable, maybe even compelling.  We spent about 15 minutes in this section of the museum and barely scratched the surface.  If you chose to read every document and view every film clip you could spend fifteen hours in this section alone.

Another area highlighted the media’s portrayal of aliens and the world beyond Earth. Another told about “ancient aliens” – think crop circles.

Still another explained the differences in Close Encounters of the First, Second, Third and Fourth Kinds.   There were several displays telling of alien abductions – a close encounter of the fourth kind.

Overall, if you are an alien believer – this could be your mecca.  If you aren’t (Randy), or aren’t sure (Serene) it was an interesting way to spend a morning.  As I said, our expectations were low so we were not disappointed in our exploration of the beyond!

Speaking of low expectations, in our travels over the years we have had them about KOA campgrounds.  We’ve stayed in a couple that were pretty bad and even picked up mice at the KOA near Seattle.  We’ve not really been fans.

When I was doing campground research for this trip and the next, a number of KOAs came up as the nicest campgrounds in the area. The KOA in Las Cruces was very nice.  The Carlsbad KOA,  fifteen miles north of town, was better.

I splurged for the best site and was glad, although all of the sites were quite large.  We had a covered patio, swing, and table.  We also had a fire-pit and BBQ grill but didn’t use them.   We paid for six nights and got the seventh free.  We also had a very delicious BBQ dinner on-site.  We’d go back.

Next up: We spent several days at Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

About Serene

Former full time RVers, transitioned to homeowners and travelers. We've still got a map to finish! Home is the Phoenix area desert and a small cabin in the White Mountains of Arizona.
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4 Responses to Below and Beyond

  1. I don’t believe in aliens but we’ve visited the UFO Museum a couple of times, the last in 2017. The alien head street lamps and all the other UFO related things in town are fun to find. I don’t remember the spaceship McDonalds. Maybe it’s time to go back and see what’s new!

    I think we’ve always taken the elevator back up in Carlsbad Caverns. It’s a long walk in there!

  2. Thanks for sharing. I definitely need to add Carlsbad Caverns to my list of places to visit.

  3. Mark McClelland says:

    The UFO Museum has definitely upped their game in the past twenty years. When we first visited it was a pretty sad little thing, but they have continued to add to and upgrade the exhibits. We have always enjoyed the long, slow walk down into Carlsbad from the natural entrance. Such an interesting transition from the top to the bottom.

  4. Pingback: Outside Nashville: Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky | Serene Wandering

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