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Terra Australis Incognita

Three days to Carlsbad

USA | Tuesday, 16 September 2008 | Views [371] | Comments [1]

We set out on Saturday morning, and didn't see anything of interest until sunday when we crossed the Mississippi River. The landscape never changed until we got to central Texas...really remarkable how it looked the same, nothing but flat pine forest, until then. We could've just as easily been in Florida. Texas was better - the trees got shorter and less numerous, hills started rolling, wind farms started showing up on distant plateaus - and then there was nothing, just scrubby desert marked by the occasional dying town. Having made excellent time, we went to nearby Guadalupe Mountains NP and hiked a canyon trail (the canyon is below) which was just a small indentation in an enormous escarpment stretching thru both Guadalupe and Carlsbad NPs and across the Texas and New Mexico borders. Beautiful desert trail, very "lush" with a variety of plants and struggling trees, with occaisional stream crossings. Caves in the bare sides of the cliffs. After leaving Guadalupe, we went to Carlsbad for the evening bat emergence. The entrance to the cave is on the top of the same escarpment, and looking out over it east it's just this vast savannah, reminded me of Africa. Profound for a Florida forest dweller like me. Then the bats flew out - too about 45-50 minutes, and at least a hundred, probably more, bats per second. So half a million bats total? Easily. They flew out, circled, and flew with their "group" north toward food. Especially the first bats were split into "flocks" over 200 or so. I peaked over the edge of the cave - you could smell them, it was strong. Just looked like a gray and brown flood, the flaps of the wings almost like a waterfall, but otherwise very quiet. I wonder if they were squeaking sounds beyond our hearing. Then the moon rose, full orange moon. With thousands of bats flying in the foreground, magical. Spelunking tommorrow.

Comments

1

Oh, MY !!!! Your ARE in Oz ! What fabulous descriptions, Blake, of your sites, impressions, thoughts, opinions. Your choice of words really provide me w/ visual images beyond the fantastic photos. I may never get your experience, but you've give me a vicarious journey already. TY, I l u, and happy trails, your auntie

  AUNTIE Lavinia Sep 26, 2008 3:23 AM

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