Trip:Earth:USA:Carlsbad Caverns:Day 1

Why start with this kind of title? I hope that at some point in my life, long or short that it may be, i will have the opportunity for space travel and specifying that i wrote this from earth might actually mean something.

Day 1

I woke up late and then got a late start to the drive. I had hoped to get a very early start to not only make it to the visitor center for a backcountry camping permit, free by the way, but to also check out the two main public caves and the city itself. As expected, and thankfully, i got 0 out 0 bars on my phone most of the trip. I was ‘forced’ to take the time to write in my journal instead of just typing away each day. I felt good writing down on paper my thoughts, like i was releasing, pardon the imagery, the spiritual constipation within me.

The drive was fairly uneventful except for the highway construction, the tiny towns causing speeds to crawl almost to a stop, and the afternoon traffic in Roswell. Slowly, minute by minute of the drive i was working my way to a safe margin to make it to the center. First mistake and greatest was thinking the caverns were about 30 miles from the town. As i got closer i realized that i would need to pick up gas. I could make it to the center but probably wouldn’t have enough gas to make it back to town. Even if i had brought a spare gas can with a few gallons i could have just pushed ahead. It turns out that those few minutes spent filling the tank were just the minutes i needed. I missed the visitor center by about 5 minutes. Seriously, 5 minutes. And i had tried to make up time on the drive down. I was eeking those minutes out little by little but those small towns just sucked them right away.

I was thankful at least that the restrooms were open even if the water fountains weren’t. That done, I took some pictures at the center and on my way out to find some place to sleep. Right outside of the park is White City and the White City campground is literally right there. $22 for the night. Nothing spectacular but a place to crash and bathrooms to use. I had read reviews that it was horrible and smelly and others that were good. No bad smells for me. Mostly quiet people except for the barking dogs. Why do i have such like with people and their barking dogs? There was some light pollution but the night sky was still beautiful. I used a small micro lantern from UCO that uses a tea candle. Just enough to read from and a backup headlamp that stayed off but there in case i needed it. It was a little chilly but i have my solo Alps tent and a +45 Alps sleeping bag. Should be good enough. Since i’m car camping i wish i had brought the larger tent.

Good Backpacker Pantry meals. They state 2 servings but it almost always seems like one. Tazo chai and slow (only 15 seconds allowed) shots at 2.8 appeture of the sky. Now i wish i had my dSLR on a tripod for some better pictures. One day i’ll have a telescope with camera mount.. one day… Geekgasm thinking about a long exposure shot of the sky like you see in a magazine. I read for a little longer on the eink kindle. I do need to be up early so the phone is staying on as an alarm. I still need to get my tickets and park admission in the morning for my guided tours, another thing i had hoped to get done at the center today. Back to reading and chai drinking then off to bed for hopefully an early night. If it gets warm enough, maybe i’ll pull off the fly and just enjoy the night sky.

-SFA

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