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John Tangney | profile | all galleries >> Southwest Parks, 2004 >> Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico, USA, July 2004 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico, USA, July 2004

This was my first time ever at Carlsbad Caverns. I got there in time to take the last elevator down at just before 5:00 PM on July 11th, 2004. After spending a little over an hour photographing part of the "Big Room" area, I went back to the surface and got ready for the evening bat flight. The rangers provided lots of interesting info about the bats, then about 20 minutes before they were expected, the bats started streaming out of the cave! Over the next 15-20 minutes around 375,000 bats exited the cave for the night's feeding. It was amazing! The next morning I again went down into the cavern and photographed the rest of the "Big Room" area, then went on the "King's Palace" ranger guided tour. Overall, it is like a totally different world down in the caverns. Admittedly, the areas I toured are nothing like a true 'caving' experience since there were paved trails with railings, and electric lighting throughout (both incandescent and florescent, which gives the green look in some of my photos). At one point on the guided tour they turn all the lights out in the area you are in and its pitch black. You cannot see your hand in front of your face. Then they light a single candle and it is amazing how much you could then see, but still nothing like lanterns and electric lights! I would encourage anyone who has the chance to go there to do it! They also offer other tours that give you more of the true caving experience, but unfortunately this was only a quick trip so I did not have time for one of those. Maybe at some future date!
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