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.
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.
He also built this stairway from the entrance.
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.
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
Stalagmites, which form from the ground up
columns, when they meet
This is a view of the cave from the outside