Sunday, February 3, 2013

Fort Davis, TX



Road to the caverns

An action-packed day today with visits to 2 National Park Sites!  I was able to accomplish this because Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains are a mere 35 miles apart.  And you don’t so much tour Gualdalupe Mountain National Park as drive through it. 



There is a terrific visitor’s center with a small, but interesting, museum.
The El Capitan of Texas

Guadalupe Peak - Texas high point.

I had planned to stay at Davis Mountain State Park Campground but realized, upon arrival, that I had zero wi-fi signal before settling in.  I guess internet access is more important to me than sleeping among the Javalina.  But at least I saw one!

 
I'm parked for the night next to a pretty and historic hotel in the heart of Ft. Davis (pop. 1,071).  Got permission from both the hotel owner and the town sheriff  hisself.  A real-life Marshall Dillon/ Miss Kitty moment! 
I so wanted to get the sheriff's  photo (he had on a black 10-gallon, a badge and everything) but didn’t want to make him feel like a Sea World exhibit or something.  Plus it was getting late. 
The hotel is next to the library and across from the county courthouse.  I was tempted to park in the spot labeled County District Attorney, but ultimately reasoned that the funny story wouldn't make up for the ensuing legal drama. 

Oh, was Carlsbad Caverns worth the trip!
I have been on several cave tours in my life and the last one, in Ireland with John, gave me the willies.  So I wasn’t sure how I would feel about returning to the underworld today. 

Web Photo.  Notice how hell yawns before you?

When pondering my options, a ranger explained that the elevator takes you 750-feet down in less than a minute.  He described it as a free-fall.   My recurring nightmare.  With dry mouth and pounding heart, I elected to walk I far as I could. 



Not sure how far I got, but not even close to the bottom.  By the time I made it back up the steep walk, my calves and thighs were shrieking at me.  I’m sure I’ll be sore tomorrow, but what a show!  Photography is limited, considering there is no natural light. 
Even the great Ansel Adams considered his 1936 photographs of the caverns "unsuccessful".
Agreed.



Exit to daylight.
No, there are no bat fly-overs to attend this time of year.  But I got a good look at the Bat Cave.  Imagine 40 feet of guano! 

More driving on lonely roads today.  You can go ½ hour without seeing another vehicle.  I love it!
Highway 54



7 comments:

  1. Glad to hear that you walked down into the caverns, but I can't believe you walked out. I took the elevator back up.

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    1. Oh, I need to go back and clarify that! I didn't make it to the bottom - not even close. Though half-way thru the hike back up, I wised I had.

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  2. just now catchung up with you again. You are giving me a lot of options for our return trip.

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  3. I don't know about going into deep caverns, I'm not sure I could do that. I think I'm going to have to take your word for it that it's beautiful down there. :(

    Great shot of the Javalina. :)

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  4. I really enjoyed my hike down to the bottom when I was there. Of course that was 25 years ago and I was a bit sprier. :)

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  5. Omigosh the memories!! When we were in Carlsbad, I had just had knee surgery several months prior to that trip so I had to take the elevator and then took the short tour from the bottom. It was totally awesome. And we got to see the bats too. It was breathtaking but for some who there, not in a good way! LOL I guess they didn't know they had a bat phobia until the very moment all the bats came out. The sky turned black, literally, from all the bats in the air. And I'll never forget one lady hitting the deck. Glad you got to see the caverns.

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  6. My favorite picture is the exit to daylight! :)

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