14 October 2006

Bats & Sand!

New Mexico is pretty y'all. Our first stop in this state was Carlsbad Caverns. Now, i've been to Mammoth Cave and others so I didnt expect much, but man, was I surprised. The caverns are simply beautiful. Stalagtite and stalagmite formations all over; some huge and some so thin and delicate. It was amazing.

Even more amazing at Carlsbad was the nightly bat flight. Mexican Freetail Bats make their home in Carlsbad Caverns during the summer. They migrate back to Mexico sometime in late October - early November. Every night they come pouring out of the cave to go hunting for insects and drink some water. It was spectacular, the bats flying out of the cave against a backdrop of beautiful New Mexico sunset. They were estimating that there were over 800,000 bats coming out of the cave, but I think the guess was a bit conservative.

After a quick stop to the International UFO Museum in Roswell (which wasn't as kitchy as I thought it would be), we headed to White Sands National Monument. We had another spectacular sunset over the sand dunes and I got some nice photos of the yucca plants, dunes, and sunset. It would have been a better experience without the fighter jets from nearby Holloman AFB roaring in the skies above.

Also, the last 3 miles of the road into the dunes were flooded. It appears it rained quite a bit in this valley, which has no drainage. Thus they have to wait for the water to evaporate. Unfortunately, they dont expect all the rain to finally evaporate until Jan or Feb.

Well, gotta move on to the next attraction. When I finally get some time, I do hope to post some photos from the trip.

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