At the start of our adventure, we hadn’t planned on spending so much time in the desert, largely because we were unaware that there was so much of it in this country. As easterners, when we thought of the desert, the image of brown, scrubby and barren came to mind, a waste land. Never did we think that it was colorful, filled with life, delicate with ever changing landscapes and vistas around every bend. Nor did we know that it would attract us, and spark a desire to want to better understand its mysteries.
South Eastern New Mexico is stark and barren. This is desert flat country with large stretches of varying hues of beige punctuated with small shades of green from junipers, desert palms, prickly pear cactus and brown mountains in the distance. In one of these mountains is Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
The National Park, one of the earliest, is remote but once inside it is every bit worthy of its designation and the trek. The National Park Service has out done itself with a fantastic 2.4 mile trail and just the right amount of lighting to accentuate the features. This place is of such uncommon grandeur and so other worldly that its description is defies my vocabulary. On at least two occasions I turned a corner and literally lost my breath, something that has never happened before. I have been in other caverns, so the subterranean world was not completely new, but this was an overwhelming visual overload.