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Caverns, Wupatki pueblo ruins, Vegas, the Grand Canyon! - from Carlsbad to LA

USA | Monday, 22 September 2008 | Views [1765]

Here I am in LA, seven hours away from takeoff. It's been an incredible week, just one amazing sight after the next. Tuesday we caved in Carlsbad. It's absurdly huge, each chamber like an underground cathedral. In the "big room" some of the stalagmites are like hills. Everything is massively larger than any cave I've ever been in, and it's truly amazing, especially for a cave enthusiast like me. Then we did a tour of an undeveloped section, lit only by our helmets. We had to climb from the big room down a rope and ladder into this cave, which was much smaller, and very rugged - no path, so lots of crouching, crawling, and climbing, and banging my knees and elbows. But it satisfied the adventure bug.

Roswell was a bust. They seem to be trying to forget the whole alien thing.

Wednesday was the Petrified forest NP. Let the pictures speak for themselves - the painted desert views were so beautiful. And what a diverse park - the blue mesas landscape was different from the surrounding desert and so alien. The petroglyphs, carved drawings by natives on rocks, were also just so...beautiful, thought-provoking, amazing - words fail me. It was ancient graffiti, and it was all over these rocks, and was just all kinds of pictures. I think I saw one large one of a man playing a flute that has become iconic - this picture is in gift shops, etc. I wonder if it started with this petroglyph. Then there was the petrified wood, literally coming out of the ground for the first time since dinosaurs. And it looked like real wood, freshly chopped into slices, and the minerals that have replaced the wood are even colored like wood! So you pick up this ancient stuff thinking it'll weigh as much as wood, but it's heavy as rock, because that's what it is.

That night we stayed at a great historic hotel, La Posada, with incredible food and weird paintings of presidents and first ladies, painted by the vain owner.

I don't have much time left to update this, since we have to leave the hotel. So we also saw:

- An enormous meteor crater, over 500 feet deep

- Ancient pueblo ruins, houses built by natives, 900 years old and still standing. The oldest human structurres I personally have ever seen. These were spiritual.

- Volcanic crater in the mountains

- The grand canyon! It lives up to all the hype. It's less a canyon and more a vast landscape of rivers cutting cliffs into the rock thousands of feet deep. Check out the pictures.

- Las Vegas, where I won $10.78 with just $2, then won another $10 off of just $1 on the slot machines. YES I am so lucky. Vegas is incredible, each hotel has its own theme, casino, MALL, and there are monorails connecting them. It's adult disneyland, just pure decadence and sin. You just have to give in to it!

- Venice Beach in LA, with this crazy outdoor market. There was a guy on rollerskates playing electric guitar (amp in backpack). You can buy anything, and see anyone do anything. We walked all the way to the Santa Monica pier. LA in general sucks, but what awesome weather.

Once again, look at the pictures, (link to the right) for a better idea!



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