Carlsbad, New Mexico

Day 505

Day 505 Carlsbad NM 7277_Fotor

     Carlsbad is located in the Chihuahuan Desert on the Pecos River at an elevation of 3,295 feet. We came to hike the Carlsbad Caverns which is located eighteen miles southwest of the city, within the Guadalupe Mountains

     In 1866, Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving drove vast herds of cattle along the Pecos River and set up “cow camps” in what is present day Carlsbad. 

     In 1881, Charles B. Eddy came to the area, and developed the Eddy-Bissell Cattle Company.  In 1884 the Eddy brothers and Bissell broke ground on the Halagueno Ranch. The cattleman recognized the value of diverting water from the Pecos River to the grazing lands on their Halagueno Ranch, which included the town of Eddy (guess whom it was named after). In 1899, the town of Eddy decided to change the name to Carlsbad, after the famous European health resort, Karlsbad, Bohemia (now the Czech Republic), as both towns had identical, mineral rich, springs. Many of those residents settled here.

     James Larkin White was born July 11, 1882. He worked as a cowboy on a ranch not far from the town of Eddy. One day while riding his horse through the Chihuahuan Desert looking for stray cattle, he saw a plume of bats rising from the desert hills. Investigation led to the discovery of what today is called Carlsbad Caverns.

     This is the entrance to the cave discovered by Jim White. The drop to the cave is equivalent to an 80 story skyscraper.

Day 505 Carlsbad NM 7294_Fotor

     He began giving cave tours and made this wire ladder to descend the first part to where he could climb down. When the cave became a National Monument in 1923, Jim became a Ranger and continued to give cave tours.

Day 505 Carlsbad NM 7391_Fotor

     He also built this stairway from the entrance.

Day 505 Carlsbad NM 7359_Fotor

     They say this is the largest cave in the United States (don’t they all say that?) and that all of it has not be explored.

Day 505 Carlsbad NM 7317_Fotor

    When we got to the bottom, which took us an hour and fifteen minutes, we entered the vast chambers of the cave.

     The cave formations vary depending on how the water flows and dissolves the minerals, redepositing them as the water drips and evaporates.

     Stalactites, which are formations growing from the ceiling

 Day 505 Carlsbad NM 7416_Fotoru

      Stalagmites, which form from the ground up

Day 505 Carlsbad NM 7416_Fotor

     columns, when they meet

Day 505 Carlsbad NM 7323_Fotor

     This is a view of the cave from the outside

Day 505 Carlsbad NM 7435_Fotor

     and from the inside

 Day 505 Carlsbad NM 7329_Fotor

     It took us about 4 hours to explore the cave.

Technical Stuff:

Las Cruces, New Mexico to Carlsbad, New Mexico 203.5 miles

4 hours 25 minutes

9.2 MPG

Diesel: $2.53

3 thoughts on “Carlsbad, New Mexico

  1. Word can’t describe how big that place is once you get down there. Great pictures! Lighting is tough in the cave. I take it the elevators were finally working? When we were there last year, the elevators had been broken for 6 months and we hiked in and out of the Big Room via the Natural Entrance. That was one of the most brutal hikes we have ever done, It was much worse than Half Dome in Yosemite or Angels Landing in Zion. You are right about the 80 story drop on a very narrow trail and not to forget the distance of the hike in is a mile and a quarter before you even hike the Big Room.

    1. Fortunately, the elevators were working. We hiked down, and then spent hours touring the cave. It was 4:30 when we headed out, and would not have made it out of the cave if we hiked back. They would have found our bones the next morning.

      1. The hike down wasn’t too bad, but coming back up that distance and elevation was brutal. I have never sweat so much in a cold cave in all of my life. We left Carlsbad and drove to the Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino & Resort in Ruidoso 2 hours away. We had planned to do some outdoor stuff in the mountains when we got there but cancelled our plans because our calves and legs hurt so bad. Got an early dinner at a popular steak house and went to bed. ……tough getting old.

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