Our next stop took us straight to outer-space.  That's right, we landed in the alien capital of the world--Roswell, New Mexico.  Everywhere you look in this town there are pictures and statues of aliens. Our journey took us to the International UFO Museum where everything you need to know about aliens and the "Roswell Incident" are available.

     Apparently, in 1947 an alien spacecraft crashed on a farm near Roswell. As the story goes, there was substantial evidence of the the crash and heaps of alien debris spread throughout the farm and another nearby area in the desert.  To this day our government has covered-up the incident and refuses to acknowledge the existence of evidence of an alien crash in Roswell.  I was able to talk to a few locals who claim to have lived in Roswell at the time of the incident. Some stand by the alien crash story and some claim it to be a bunch of hooey.  Whatever you end up believing, the whole thing makes for a lot of fun in this otherwise nondescript desert town.  Further, we were there on Halloween, so we even got to watch a Roswell "Zombie Walk."

     Since we were in the area, we decided to get back to reality and headed off to Carlsbad Caverns National Park.  What a fantastic experience.  The cavern rooms are massive equalling the length of several football fields all filled with weird formations and shapes.  Unlike most caves which were formed by the flow of a subterranean river, Carlsbad was formed by the dripping of acidic water as it seeped through the ground.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park
     We took a guided tour through the "King's Palace" and I ventured into 2 other areas where I was allowed to explore several rooms on my own.  This was a full day adventure 800' below the surface of the earth.  We even stayed through the evening "bat flight" performance.  It turns out that the cave is the home of millions of bats.  Every night at dusk all the bats leave the cavern for their evening activities.  The park has an amphitheater at the mouth of the cavern to witness this unusual event.  As the bats rise up to exit the cavern you hear a low pitched whirring sound approaching.  Then the bats emerge from the cave.  Upon emerging, thousands of bats circle the cave's mouth to get organized, then they depart as a large group toward their evening haunts.  This dance goes on for hours as a steady stream of thousands of groups organize to depart and all the time the whirring sound continues.  As the bats became more embolden by the deepening darkness they circled immediately above our heads before departing.  Bats are wicked cool!

Carlsbad Caverns National Park
     One day we decided to take a trip to Sitting Bull Falls in Lincoln National Forest.  The place is truly an oasis in the desert.  The falls cascade into a pool surrounded by lush greenery.  Strangely, the river below the falls disappeared downstream after a mile or 2.
Sitting Bull Falls
Sitting Bull Falls.
I set my camera on "creative" mode
and this is what I got.  
     The return trip from the falls to our campsite got a little weird.  On the drive to the falls we noticed a sign in the middle of the desert stating that if the red light (attached to the sign) was flashing there was poisonous gas in the area and cars must turn around.  Since no light was flashing, we proceeded along without incident.  However, on our return, although the light was not flashing, we got a big brief whiff of something horrible which burned our throats and eyes.  YIKES!!!  We made it through unscathed.  However, for the next 24 hours I kept wondering if my skin was going to burn off or I would turn into a Zombie!  We survived, but I guess this is just another normal day in the Roswell area.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park
     Next we finally made it to Texas, our new home state for the next 2 months.  Our first stop was Guadalupe Mountains National Park.  The park encompasses the Guadeloupe Mountain Range which features desert mountains that are green with vegetation, instead of the typical brown. The park experiences more precipitation than the surrounding desert so all the slopes are full of green grasses, cacti and shrubs.  Weirdly, the park also featured maple trees in many of its sheltered canyons and we were right their to experience the yellow and red fall colors of the maples mixed into the desert foliage of prickly pear, yucca, sotol, and aloe cacti.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
     The national park does not offer a lot to causal visitors as it is primarily a hikers paradise.  I was able to take an 8-14 mile hike every day of our 3 day stay while Nancy enjoyed our scenic campsite, rode her bike and worked in the studio.  I even hiked Guadalupe Peak, the highest peak in Texas. Although my hike exceeded 3,000' of elevation gain to the summit at 8,749', the switchbacks on the trail made the climb seem painless.  What a great hike and what a beautiful view of the Chihuahuan Desert unfolding at my feet.
Guadalupe Peak
     Next we will be moving deep into the heart of Texas.


  1. Love, love love the cave pictures! And the bat experience sounds like it would be really cool to see. Glad to hear you guys survived the gas encounter, that sounds really weird.


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