Day 9: Carlsbad Caverns National Park, to Abilene, Texas

Community Highlights North America Day 9: Carlsbad Caverns National Park, to Abilene, Texas

Today was earmarked as a "bookend's" day. We started the day visiting Carlsbad Caverns and ended with a steakhouse dinner at the famed Perini Ranch Steakhouse. In between the two, was a 5+ hour drive across the plains of Texas. But before all that, we were greeted with a big ol' Texas sunrise.

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We had an 8:30 AM admittance reservation time to the caverns. Apparently, folks show up without a reservation only to be turned away, especially at peak season. We were lucky, as we only called a few days before and got the early start time.

It is a 7-mile drive to the national park entrance from the main road out of Carlsbad.

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There are several options to do the cavern. One is to do a ranger walk, another is to take the elevator down to the bottom of the cavern and walk the 750 ft back up to the entrance (nope!), and the other is to walk down to the lower level of the cavern and take the elevator back to the visitor center (yup!). After gaining our tickets at the visitor center, we proceeded down a winding path to meet a park ranger who gave instructions (and warnings-no touchy!) and sent us off to the entrance of the cave.

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The journey downward or "The Descent" is through a series of switchbacks that begins passing an amphitheater. As you go lower and lower into the cave, the pathway becomes steeper and steeper.

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The transition at the beginning of the cavern is mainly rocks and boulders but as you go lower, you begin to see the stalagmites and stalactites and a variety of interesting formations. I have depicted a variety of formations in the pictures below.

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Eventually you reach the bottom of the pathway which leads to the "The Big Room", simply a spectacular exhibit of formations. In speaking with a park ranger, there is a level below this that they occasionally offer spelunking lessons (again, a nope after having watched the movie "The Descent").

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Having spent most of the morning in the caverns, we headed up top via the elevator. One could easily spend a full day exploring this national park, but we needed to get to Abelene, Texas for our dinner reservation. So, after a visit to the gift shop, we headed on our way. There is no easy way to get from Carlsbad, New Mexico to Abelene, Texas. We chose the least "painful" way which is still about 5-hours of driving viewing "Pumpjacks" and Wind Turbines.

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We made it to the hotel at 5:00 PM and after we freshened up, we headed out for the 20-minute drive to the ranch. Perini's Steakhouse came highly rated, so I had to make reservations weeks in advance.

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Our meals started with a couple of salads (and some wine),

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followed with a couple of steaks,

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and ended with us splitting a "Jalapeno Cheesecake".

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Overall, the meal lived up to the online hype. We drove back to the hotel and called it a day. Tomorrow we are off to Dallas! We will likely combine the two days in Dallas into one blog entry as tomorrow will be primarily a travel day.

This featured blog entry was written by Argenti Travel from the blog Texas 2024.
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By Argenti Travel

Posted Mon, Apr 01, 2024 | USA | Comments