Carlsbad, New Mexico – the Chihuahuan Desert

Back in the land of static electricity!  I’m getting shocked by everything I touch.  At least there is some scenery here; which is welcome after that stretch from Big Spring to Carlsbad.  Carlsbad Caverns National Park does not have campgrounds. We stayed in the RV Park in Whites City, which is the closest to the NP. $30/night for full hookups.  The cacti (plural for cactus) are starting to bloom. What looks like yellow flowers, on the first one, are actually  new growth. 
Blooming Cactus
Blooming Cactus
Blooming Yucca
Blooming Yucca
They are doing some road improvements to the parking areas and road near the Cavern entrance so they asked us to leave our utility trailer behind and take the shuttle van. They are running every 15 minutes. We didn’t have to wait either direction. We decided we only had time to take one of the 2 free, self-guided tours. We took the elevator down 800 feet, to skip the first mile tour through the natural entrance. Our tour was through the “Big Room”.  These pictures are of Stalactites (remember “tite” – holds tight to the ceiling) and Stalagmites (remember “mite” – grows mighty from the ground) and all their variations.  I’m going to need to take a photography class just for night time photos!  It was difficult to capture the beauty of this 600,000 sq ft room. The paved trail was 1.5 miles and had 2 shortcuts if you decide that’s too long to wait for a bathroom 🙂  The first pic is the Lion’s Tail formation – you can see why.
Lions Tail Stalactite
The formations on the end of the tail are called PopcornStalactites and Drapery - hang from the ceilingStalagmite - rises from the ground

 We decided to drive, about 45 miles, over to Sitting Bull Falls for our lunch.  The CCC built some picnic shelters here in the early 1900’s. They have added more in the same style. We paid $5 for Day Use, ate our lunch in the camper because the wind was gusting about 70mph!  We only had to walk, up the paved path, about 100 yards to view the falls. We didn’t see any water on our drive here so it’s hard to imagine where all this water comes from.

Sitting Bull Falls
Sitting Bull Fals
As  we walked back to our camper we got to see some pretty exciting wildlife!  This prairie dog and the havelina were just chillin’.  They didn’t even get excited when we got close enough to take a picture.
 
Prairie Dog
Prairie Dog
Havelina
Havelina

And Mr. Mexican Grey Wolf didn’t care much about us either. He just wanted to take his siesta in the shade.  Oops, I guess the fence in the background gave me away?  You caught me, we actually saw these animals in the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park, just north of the town of Carlsbad.  $5/person entrance fee was worth it.  They had a couple mountain lions and bobcats too.

Mexican Grey Wolf
Meixcan Grey Wolf
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