Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Carlsbd Caverns Spring Break

We took a trip to Carlsbad Caverns and enjoyed some family time. We stopped in Roswell and availed ourselves of their wonderful FREE museum. The picture above is of the actual launching pad that Goddard used to set off his liquid fuel rockets. It was fascinating.
Since its initial emergence, the Roswell Museum and Art Center has grown into a 50,000 square foot facility that includes twelve galleries dedicated to the exhibition of art and history, the Patricia Lubben Bassett Art Education Center, and the Robert H. Goddard Planetarium. The Museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums and is southern New Mexico’s preeminent museum, lauded for the quality of its exhibitions, programs, and collections.
They have artifacts from the Conquistadors to the most amazing Native American beaded clothing
Georgia O'Keeffe...sigh
Ocotillo plant outside the visitor center in Carlsbad.
Our little familia
Jim White, age 16, explored the cavern with his homemade wire ladder. When he grew older, most people did not even believe such caves existed. He gave many of the rooms their names, including the Big Room, New Mexico Room, Kings Palace, Queens Chamber, Papoose Room, and Green Lake Room. He also named many of the cave's more prominent formations, such as the Totem Pole, Witch's Finger, Giant Dome, Bottomless Pit, Fairyland, Iceberg Rock, Temple of the Sun, and Rock of Ages.
Until 1932, visitors to the cavern had to walk down a switch back ramp-sidewalk that took them 750 feet below the surface. The walk back up was tiring for a lot of visitors. In 1932 the National Park opened up a large visitor center building that contained two elevators that would take visitors to the caverns below. The new center included a cafeteria, waiting room, museum and first aid area.
We walked more than three miles of steep switchback trails...kinda glad we didn't have to CLIMB back out and got to use the elevator. We spent a good five hours on the tour. It was awesome and don't forget your sweater. It's cold ;)

Whale's Mouth
Lighted formations
Looking through an arch of stone to the opening of the Big Room
In 1985 a very distinctive method of exploration was invented. In a dome area 255 feet (78 m) above the Big Room floor not far from the Bottomless Pit, a stalagmite leaned out. Using a balsa wood loop with helium-filled balloons attached, the explorers—after several tries over several years—floated a lightweight cord that snagged the target stalagmite. Once the cord was in position up, over, and back to the ground, a climbing rope was pulled into position, and the explorers ascended into what they named The Spirit World. A similar, smaller room was found in the main entrance corridor, and was named Balloon Ballroom in honor of this technique.

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