Carlsbad Caverns NP, NM & Hueco Tanks SP, TX
Left the Roswell area after a second visit to Bitter Lake NWR, this time on a socked in early morning. Drove to the Carlsbad Cavern NP area. Stayed in the least expensive private RV park which also happened to be the closest to the Park. We don’t need nor appreciate all the ‘extras’ that justify the price that comes with a KOA . If we are going to spend that kind of money we will get ‘off the road’ so to speak and stay in a motel. Stayed in White City just down the entrance road to the Park. This whole area including the above ground portion of the NP was burned over very recently (past 3 months). The fire in and around White City which caused the residents to be evacuated was a ‘back fire’.
Photography without a tripod in Carlsbad Caverns put both the technology and myself through our paces. Super high ISO and the ‘noise’ that comes with it.
Whoever did the lighting in Carlsbad Caverns should be hired back when they revamp and upgrade which is happening soon: LEDs.
Left Carlsbad Caverns NP via 62/180 past the Guadalupe Mountains with an approaching storm front.
The Guadalupes are some rugged lookin’ mountains!
Dropped down out of the mountains onto the Chihuahuan Desert and the salt flats basin.
One can see both approaching and departing traffic and weather for miles.
There was more weather than there was traffic.
On to Hueco Tanks SP west Texas.
Hueco Tanks SP, Texas
Popular place: climbers, birders and archeology/ethnology types.
Once the State of Texas realized what they had and the use and beating it was taking they instituted a tight use and access policy that seems to be working for all. We were required to watch an orientation movie and speak with an interpretive ranger. They only allow 70 people (climbers, birders, hikers, bikers and photographers) at a time onto the public access portion of the park (maybe 25%). The remaining portions of the park have limited access and have to be accessed with an approved guide.
We were most intrigued by the pictograph history left by all sorts of peoples. The tanks portion of Hueco Tanks are water containing and storing depressions, in the synite granite,of various size and depth. This being the Chihuahuan Desert water is at a premium for all living things. Water brings animal life which brings man, ancient and current. Archaic hunter gatherers inhabited this area as did the Jornada Mogollon as did the Spanish/Mexicans and native American tribes, then ranchers and settlers: all seemed to have left there mark: pictographically.
These images are from the area referred to as newspaper rock.
Mescalero Canyon where the Apache held off the Mexicans and then all but one vanished up a tree and away.
Sometimes it’s all about the people.
We were greeted by down to earth friendly types behind the counter. They were willing to engage in some humor and conversation even given the lateness of the afternoon. Nancy the interpretive lady was a fount of info and energy. She referred us to John the campground host. John in turn, after his morning duties the next day, guided us to Kiva Cave for a very special viewing of well preserved pictograph masks from the Jornada Mogollon period. Once we got to the cave site we shared John and his knowledge with some folks up from Mexico City.
Thank you John Rutherford.
At 82 years he spanked my behind up and down and back again on the rocks and trails. Must be the difference in our low backs.
If you are in Hueco Tanks SP TX (and you should be some day) look up John Rutherford: say Hi to one good guy!