When we were at Carlsbad Caverns, we went on a ranger guided tour into an undeveloped area of the cave called the Left Hand Tunnel. Before this tour, everywhere we went had paved pathways, handrails and lighting. The Left Hand Tunnel had none of these things. Because it isn’t lighted, it’s necessary to carry a candle lantern. The walkway is rough with deep ravines and it’s hard to see. I clearly didn’t understand the nature of this tour when I booked it.
Going into the tunnel, the ranger walked slowly. At one point, we had to traverse a steep decline. The ranger guided us with lanterns providing as much light as possible. When my turn came, she commented how graceful I was. Thanking her, I added that I wasn’t accustomed to being described that way. Cursed by her compliment, I fell a few minutes later, dropping my lantern and extinguishing the flame within. I popped back up, losing no time at all.
On the way out, we moved faster and I fell a second time, tripping on a rock. This time I laid on the ground stunned at my predicament; my greatest fear being I would roll over and disappear into the endless crevasse at my side. Fortunately, my candle stayed lit so all the other people in the group could witness my reverie.
With only minor scrapes and bruises, I walked out of the cave with little difficulty. Once in the light, I was proud to discover I had cave dust all over my clothes. Stephen offered to brush it off, but I refused, basking in the evidence held only by true cavers.
I now know why it’s called the Left Hand Tunnel – both times I fell on my left hand. I can only imagine the horrors that would have befallen me had I booked tours to Slaughter or Spider caves!
May the farce be with you!
We recently took a trip to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. The nearest airport was in El Paso, Texas, so we had to rent a car and drive.
1. New Mexico IS part of the United States
Not long after leaving El Paso, we were forced to take a small detour where the highway diverted into a Border Patrol Station.
At first I wondered if there had been a mix-up and authorities thought New Mexico wasn’t part of the United States. Then I panicked because I thought we had taken a wrong turn and were driving to the Mexican border. Upon realizing we were headed north, I continued to panic because we didn’t have our passports. I knew our vacation was over before it had begun. We were going to be arrested.
Arriving at Border Patrol, the officer asked where we were headed and if we were American citizens. He then told us to have a good time and sent us on our way. Wow – very…tight…security…
2. Aliens, Bigfoot and Body Swapping
Situated directly outside Carlsbad Caverns is a small town (population 7) called White’s City. It has a hotel, restaurant and shopping area with photo ops.
Because of the novelties, it turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip.
3. Time Warp
On our second day exploring the caverns, we spent the morning on a self-guided tour after which we trekked to the visitor center for lunch before a scheduled afternoon tour with a guide. Thinking we had more than an hour to enjoy our meal and relax, I checked the time on my phone and discovered our tour was scheduled to depart in less than 10 minutes. We inhaled a few more bites, gathered our belongings and took off running. When we arrived at our destination, no one was there. Checking my phone again, I found it read an hour earlier. From one end of the visitor center to the other, my phone showed a one hour time difference. Must have been the effect of the aliens in White’s City.
In spite of the oddities we experienced, the trip was fantastic. More stories to come!
May the farce be with you!