As we left Santa Fe and headed back towards Austin, we passed through Roswell. Roswell's claim to fame is that aliens landed there nearly 70 years ago. My impression of Roswell is that they really, really want the aliens to come back. A very alien-friendly town.
Even the street lights are alien heads.
The final stop on our trip was Carlsbad Caverns.
We decided that we wouldn't try to hike out with Jackson and Olivia in tow. Instead, we opted for the "Big Room" tour. I had it in my head that we would take the elevator down, look around in some sort of large cavern (i.e. big room) and come back up. Actually, the tour involved much more than that -- an hour and a half walk through seemingly endless underground limestone caves.
I'd never seen anything like this. There was a field trip to the salt mines when I was in grade school, but really, I'm not much of a "spend large amounts of time underground" person. Anyway, this was so much more than I could've imagined.
The formations (speleothems, if you want to use the
big science word correct term) ranged from towering to miniature. Nature at its most amazing.
Hats off to whoever designed the lighting, by the way. Obviously there's no natural light 750 feet underground, yet our path was well-lit, and the dramatic areas of light and dark created a greater visual impact each time we wandered into a new area.
Jackson and Olivia thought the cavern was super cool. I see a Natural Bridge field trip in our future.
We finished our tour just as the cavern was about to close for the day. I wished we had more time to hike around outdoors, because the Guadalupe Mountains are a really beautiful part of a state with many beautiful areas.
But we had a long drive ahead of us, so we said goodbye to New Mexico and headed home. I can't wait to go back again.
Although I didn't get my Christmas enchiladas that my guidebook went on about, once back in Austin, I discovered that Serranos will happily douse their cheese enchiladas in half red chile, half green chile. Voila! Christmas in Texas.