We got up, grabbed some breakfast at the hotel, and headed towards Carlsbad. We got going a little earlier than we thought, and made good time on the drive, so we decided to stop at Living Desert State Park. It’s a small park, and was undergoing some maintenance. While we couldn’t do everything there, we did get to enjoy some of the walking tour. On it we got to see lots of plants and animals from the area, as well as learning about the local geology.
After finishing up there, we went over to Red Chimney Barbecue for lunch. The food was amazing, even Reese liked it. If you’re in the area, you should check them out. It probably won’t be a wasted trip.
With full bellies, we made our way out to Carlsbad Caverns. This was the highlight of the trip and Reese was really looking forward to it. We had reserved the King’s Palace tour, a ranger lead tour of parts of the cave that aren’t available if you just pay for the the general admission ticket. With all of the rain they’ve been getting, there was more dripping than I remember from the last time. Reese really enjoyed the tour, and we spent a lot of time taking pictures, both on the tour and afterwards in the main cavern. When we were done underground, we took the elevator back up and did a little shopping and grabbed some dinner before heading over to the amphitheater to watch the bats come out. We had a short wait there, but were treated to quite a few bats emerging. A number of them even flew over our seats, instead of just heading out in their usual direction.
We then hopped back in the car and returned to Artesia, stopping at Kaleidoscoops in Carlsbad for some ice cream. It was a long day, and we’re all beat, but we had a really good time. Tomorrow we’re heading to Alamogordo and White Sands…