Back on the road again we headed off to Carlsbad, New Mexico to find somewhere to park up. On the way we passed Carlsbad Caverns, but by now as it was nearly 6pm, it was closed. We'll have to go back tomorrow. In town we located the local Walmart and sure enough there were a couple of campers there already, so I guess that's home for the night. We then found a place to park, cooked dinner and watched a downloaded episode of Desperate Housewives, as we found some free internet. Then it was off to bed, tucking underneath our lovely blanket and duvet, while surrounded by changing trucks outside.
Up at 7am
. Used the facilities at Walmart and then drove back to Carlsbad Caverns to have breakfast in their carpark while we waited for them to open. At 8.30am we strolled inside, got our tickets (another one covered by our annual pass) and were asked 'Have you been inside a cave in the last 6yrs?' We looked at each other and then said 'Yes'. He then scribbled on our tickets 'WNS' and told us to go and see the Park Rangers. We headed over to their desk and were told we needed to be decontaminated. Decontaminated! Apparently, WNS stands for White-nose Syndrome and is a fungus that kills bats and can be spread on clothes, footwear, etc by people who've been in other caves. We were escorted outside and told to wait by the wall, (almost felt like we were going to be shot), while the Ranger disappeared into a room and then came out with a little spray bottle. We removed our boots and she cleaned the bottoms of them. This process took about 10minutes. We were then allowed to put our boots back on, (by then our feet were very cold) and enter the caverns. At least we were thanked for being honest. We had chosen to use the Natural Entrance rather than the lifts, sorry elevators, which was an hour long steep, winding walk down into the cavern. We then followed the Big Room tour route and was awe struck by the formations that we saw. Stalactites, stalagmites, columns, draperies and popcorn. It was really cool! After around 3hrs, we left the caverns and jumped back on the road to Roswell. We stopped for lunch at a picnic site along the way.
7th Nov. cont.