Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Old New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns (Stop A-Day 2)
The Wandering Whitehursts have ventured to one of the largest cavern rooms in the Western Hemisphere.  Carlsbad Caverns sits about 15 miles south of Carlsbad, New Mexico in the Chihuahuan Desert.  We decided to hike the natural entrance to the cavern, a 1.3 mile descent 75 stories underground (750 below the surface).  I, personally, was curious to see how long the kids would last.  But they have hiking in their blood.  Not a complaint from the kids, even during the second hike of 1.3 miles around the "Big Room" of the cavern.  Even Baby A hiked some of it.  The deep drop-offs and steep descents kept her in her carrier on my back for the most part. She even napped for a bit. 
After our cavern adventures last year in Skyline Cavern and Mammoth Cave, this was by far the largest cavern we have experienced.  Each have very unique characteristics, so it's difficult to choose a favorite.  But I think the kids would vote for Carlsbad since we kept them up way beyond their bedtime to watch the bats leave the cave in search of food.  AJ, our 'shy' child, even got up the courage to ask the Ranger questions in front of an audience of about 500 people. (Proud mom moment)  I love how much the kids learn on this journey.  Things that they would normally learn from a great library book they are experiencing in person.  Ask AJ, he's pretty much an expert on the Brazilian Free-Tail Bat now. ;)

Campground comments:  We stayed at Brantly Lake State park.  While a little bit out of the way it was a really neat, clean campground.  It was in the middle of, well, the desert (And apparently the largest oil and natural gas field in the country).  Nothing around for miles.  We had roadrunners, jack rabbits, cottontails and one scorpion in our backyard.  Our stay here was a great opportunity to talk with the kids about being intentional about where you put your feet while walking, what to do if you hear rattling, and how to take care of our environment so these animals have a safe place to live (like conserving water in the desert).

Albuquerque (Stop B)
Oy it was HOT!  Like 104, hot.  And this coming from someone who had just previously spent a week with no air conditioning in Haiti.  We stayed on base in New Mexico which was perfectly located to all the adventures we wanted to hit up in Albuquerque.  We hit up the museum of Natural History, ABQ Biopark, Explora (a children's science museum) and the Sandia Sky Tram.  I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Taos- not really (Stop C)

The original plan was to stay in a State Park outside of Taos, but we had to accelerate our trip to Colorado Springs in order to, once again, get the truck into a shop. So we stayed at the State Park, but we didn't get into Taos.  With that being said, my goodness is New Mexico beautiful!!  What a versatile state.  From White Sands to the Caverns to the northern Mountains, what a cool state.  We took the kids on a very technical hike that they surpassed with pride and amazing agility.  It lead to one of the best views we've experience so far.

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