Last month, I had the pleasure of heading out to Santa Fe, New Mexico for a business trip. I have lots of photos. This was my first trip to NM (well … I was there when I was four with my family but I’m not sure that counts). I spent a couple of nights in Santa Fe, staying at the wonderful and reasonable Old Santa Fe Inn right in town, which was very nice. Given it was the “desert”, it was quite cool as it’s at 7000 feet. (They had had snow the day before.) Fortuitously, our very good friend Paul Murphy now lives “nearby” in Carlsbad. Friday morning, after dropping off a colleague at the Albuquerque airport, I took the four-and-half hour drive down to southeast NM. It was quite the rural drive with not much between the two. (I did drive around Roswell, site of Area 51 of UFO fame.)
Of course, being in Carlsbad, I had to visit Carlsbad Caverns. It turns out, the elevator which normally takes visitors from the visitors center down 750 ft to the main cavern was out. We had to walk down from the Natural Entrance. This was an excellent way to head in. The trek down wasn’t too bad, but the trek up was a bit tougher. We did do the King’s Palace tour which was excellent. At one point, the guide turns off the lights and it was dark. After spending several hours down below and trekking back up, we did lunch at the center, did a short walk up above, got locked in (they had locked the gate without realizing someone was still there), and stuck around for sunset. (Luckily, Paul, being a former NPS employee, has friends who work there that we could call.)
On Sunday, we did the 45 minute drive down to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, with a brief stop on the way at an abandoned potash mine. This was my first time in Texas which was cool. The park itself was very scenic. We spent a good chunk of the day doing the 4.2 mile (roundtrip) Devil’s Hall trail. This was a good walk and the end, Devil’s Hall itself, was definitely worth it. After a brief stop at Frijole Ranch, we headed back to Carlsbad, stopping at Rattlesnake Spring and the BLM Pecos River Recreation Area on the way.
Monday morning, we had breakfast at Denny’s before I headed back to Albuquerque for my noon-ish time flight back home. I got to see Paul M again after several years, saw some great natural scenery, ate some great New Mexican food, and put on a decent workshop (it was a work trip after all). All in all, a great trip.