Greetings from Carlsbad Caverns National Park

It was August, 1945. My parents and I were listening to the radio. It was true, war was finally over. After my semi-retired father turned off the radio, he looked at my mom and me and said, “Let’s go to California next summer.” So after my fourth year of teaching, the three of us left the farm the morning of June 17, 1946, to begin what would be a 10 week vacation trip. Our first major stop was in Carlsbad, New Mexico, to spend a few days with my mother’s cousin and his family. They insisted that we should visit the Carlsbad Caverns which were not too far from them. Dad and I drove down there one morning to see it. We joined the tour group and started out by walking downhill to enter the cave. The guide led us through many walkways, explaining the stalagmites and stalactites as we walked along. Now and then he led us into a “room” large enough to amply hold the 20 or so of us in the group. All was lighted with electric lights which the guide turned on and off as we advanced. At one point when we were in one of their “rooms,” he turned off the light and we were in total darkness. Then he said, “Just think how dark it would be here at midnight.” Eventually, at about noon, we were led into a huge room, probably the size of a basketball court. There we were each given a box lunch and sat at tables to eat them. After lunch, we explored more of the cave, still led by the guide, of course. It was probably early afternoon when we returned to the huge room. There we boarded elevators which took us to the surface, not too far from the parking lot, and our great adventure had come to a close.

Ruth Anne

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Deep beneath the Chihuahuan Desert in southern New Mexico is a labyrinth of more than 300 limestone caves, carved over 250 million years ago.

State(s): New Mexico

Established: 1923

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