(Our southwest trip started May 1. All of my posts were written as the trip went along but were not posted live until we returned. If you want to read all the posts related to the trip, click on "southwest" in the label section below).
On the agenda was Carlsbad Caverns National Park. When I looked carefully at the map, I saw that Guadalupe Mountains National Park was just south of the Caverns. So of course we had to go there also.
The Guadalupe Mountains are beautiful, a former submerged reef now rising out of the ground. It was very hot (97 degrees) and very windy (with gusts to 50 mph). We learned that nearby was a stop on the Butterfield Overland Express, a cross country mail route that ran for about a year. A short walk took us to the only original Butterfield building that is remaining and also near a major highway.
After our visit to this park, we headed towards Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Construction on the road slowed our travel in both directions so we arrived at Whites City a bit later than we anticipated. Whites City is just outside the entrance to the caverns and we looked for a restaurant (there is one) and it was closed, like everything else in the very small town.
A narrow, windy road took us up to the visitor's center. We learned that, Yes, the bats were back and the ranger led program would start at 6:30 p.m. It was now about 3, we were hungry, we were tired. We had a small bite to eat at the restaurant there, browsed through the gift shop and displays, and then decided to move on. For one, I didn't want to drive the narrow road down the mountain as it was getting dark. And second, our original route had been changed because of forest fires in the area and to continue on our planned itinerary meant driving the long way around. We had visited caverns at Mammoth Caves National Park and decided that one set of caves was enough for us.