Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Carlsbad New Mexico

We left Texas today and drove into New Mexico to Carlsbad and stayed at the KOA Campground just north of Carlsbad. Our first time visiting the Carlsbad Cavern National Park and we were very impressed. We were lucky because the elevator wasn’t working so there were not as many tourists going down into the cavern. It is an incomparable realm of gigantic subterranean chambers, fantastic cave formations, and extraordinary features. We did the Natural Entrance Route, a 1.25-mile, self-guided tour that follows the traditional explorer’s route. We entered the cavern through the large historic natural entrance and descended 750 feet into the Earth, following steep and narrow trails through a tall spacious trunk passage called the Main Corridor. As we descended this route we saw the Bat Cave, Devil’s Spring, Green Lake Overlook and the Boneyard, a complex maze of dissolved, Swiss cheese-like limestone rock. We continued on the Big Room Route and passed many large features like the Bottomless Pit, Giant Dome, and Painted Grotto. The 8.2 acre Big Room is a must-see. Then it was time to ascend back up through the Main Corridor and up the switchbacks to the large natural entrance. What an impressive work of nature’s underground beauty, that began around 15-20 million years ago. Click on thumbnail to view image Continue reading

Big Bend NP, Texas

On April 9th, we left Alpine and drove south toward Big Bend National Park. We stayed for a week at the 5 star, Maverick Ranch RV Park in Lajitas, Texas, tucked between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend State Park. Lajitas is a remote vacation  destination, with an onsite spa, zip line course and an 18-hole championship golf course, equestrian trail rides, plus restaurants. In 1977 the town was purchased by the Houston entrepreneur, Walter Mischer, who restored and developed the community to a western-themed  resort that it is today, and the mayor of this West Texas town is Clay Henry III, a beer-drinking goat. After we settled into our site we went to visit Big Bend National Park. Continue reading

Alpine, Marfa and Fort Davis, Texas

We arrived in Alpine, Texas, on April 6th, staying at the Lost Alaskan RV Park for 3 nights. We explored the town of Alpine, at 4,600 feet and perfectly situated between the Davis, Glass and Del Norte Mountains, its history goes back to the late 1800s. It was a town of tents for cattlemen, the town’s name was changed to Alpine from Murphyville on Feb. 3, 1888. It’s a quaint small town, with its tree-lined streets and university, Sul Ross State University established in 1920. While exploring the town we stopped in at The Holland Hotel for a beer, built during a mining boom and today, it helps to anchor a traditional downtown of early 20th century buildings. Alpine boasts a growing collection of colorful murals celebrating regional themes, decorating the walls of downtown businesses. We walked along historic Murphy Street, which has gone through a revitalization, visiting the shops along the way. The opening of Big Bend National Park in the 1940s further helped the town to grow, it is considered the gateway to Big Bend. Click on thumbnail to view image Continue reading