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Bats are South for the Winter! Carlsbad Caverns Nat'l Park

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

sunny 0 °F

We are planning to camp at Guadalupe National Park the next two nights and they only have about 20 RV sights, so we get an early start and drive an hour to the park. We get to the park around 9am and pass a large motorhome leaving the park, so we know there's at least one sight vacant. (This park does not take reservations). We set up camp and find out the people beside us (less than ten feet away from us; the RV sights are simply two small paved parking lots) are from Dauphin PA, right up the road from our house. So after talking to them for awhile, we walk down to the Visitor's Center to look at the exhibits and get info on the park.
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My back is still not 100% yet, and many of the hikes here are "Strenuous" so we decide to drive to Carlsbad Cavern NP for the day to tour the caverns and then we'll take a long hike tomorrow. By the time we leave for the caverns the campground has all tent sites filled and 2 RV sights left and we pass a tent camper coming into the campground, so we're glad we came early.

The caverns are about 35 miles north of us so we take another drive through the Chihuahuan Desert to get there. The desert in northern Texas has not been near as picturesque as in Big Bend. To be honest I've really seen enough of it and am looking forward to seeing different scenery.

When Jere mentioned coming to Carlsbad, I said yes -- I wanted to see the thousands of bats fly out of the cave in the evening. Well, I learned that the bats at Carlsbad fly south in the winter! You need to visit in the summer to see this phenomenon. Oh well...I'm not a cave person, never been fond of closed in spaces, but the caverns here are huge! And they have lots of formations (steleothems). It took us just over 2 hours to take the self-guided walking tour around the caverns, so I enjoyed the caverns (despite the lack of bats).

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Drove back through the Chihuahuan Desert to the campground and had dinner, turned on the generator til 8pm to watch a DVD on Davy Crockett, read a book and called it a day.

Interesting sidenote: This park has more tentsites (40?) than RV sights (20?) and is the first campground that we stayed at where we have one of the largest rigs (they have a 55' limit and our rig is about 53'), so we get a lot of people looking at our rig, including college students on spring break. I would love to eavesdrop to hear what they're saying when they look at it :-) It gets cold here at night, so I'm glad to be in the RV rather than a tent like the college students. When the cold front came through it yesterday with the bad storms, they had snow in the higher elevations of El Capitan and Guadalupe Peak.

Posted by jengelman 08:04 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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Just checking in to see what was new on the Engelman Road Trip. Joe, want you to know we are on our way to 1 foot of snow. I will take pictures tomorrow and get them off to you, at least hopefully, I have never emailed pictures so be patient with me! We are all getting ready for the Boy Scout spaghetti dinner tomorrow and of course with a foot of snow on its way, should be interesting. Claire, so sorry you missed the bats, must say that would not have ups et me.As always, safe travel and we will check in over the weekend- after the survival of snow and the spaghetti dinner!!!

by imrobin

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