Friday, August 14, 2015
Our kids got their first taste of camping and loved it. I mean, red hammer? Charlie is sold. The kids slept about as terribly as you'd imagine in a new place (tents are so exciting and have pockets and zippers) but we loved seeing them so intrigued by new surroundings and experiences.
We drove out to Carlsbad after lunch one day, arriving in time for the bat flight program that starts around dusk at the park. Truthfully, this wasn't the right activity for our family. Because the bats are easily startled, the audience had to be perfectly silent. You can imagine how well that went over with our family. A ranger had to ask us to keep it down. A few minutes later, Lucy, still sticky from the ketchup she smeared everywhere during dinner, attracted a few bees. One got near her nose, and she cupped her hands over it instinctively. It stung her, of course, so we made tracks as her howls filled the cavern entry amphitheater. Woops! Lucy wasn't allergic (one of my sisters is very allergic to stings, so I was a little worried we were about to have a major medical emergency on our hands), so we called it a night, drove back to the KOA between Carlsbad and Artesia, and settled in to bed.
The next morning, we woke up and found some bunnies frolicking outside our tent. Charlie loved their antics. Lucy just wanted some breakfast already. We drove back to Carlsbad for breakfast at the Pecos River Cafe. Seriously good breakfast burritos if that's your thing. And it is totally my thing.
We continued out to the caves hiked down the natural entrance with the kids in packs. The steepest, slipperiest part of the trail was the very beginning. For a few minutes I wondered if we had gotten ourselves in over our heads. But the trail leveled to pretty steady switchbacks, and we had a nice time hiking down. Great workout for me and Mike, and Charlie discovered echos. Lucy napped. And it was 56 degrees down there, which was my favorite part. As impressive as the natural formations are, and truly, they are fascinating, I was blown away by the gall that led someone to pave miles of trails underground. Braver, more determined folks than I, that's for sure.
We wrapped up the quick trip with lunch at the No Whiner Diner. Pretty basic diner food, but tasty. We had sandwiches and soup and salads, which was perfect after hiking for a few hours. And then home! We were glad to sneak away for a quick vacation before Mike went back to work.