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Paria River Valley, Utah

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Carlsbad Caverns Part 2

Tuesday morning and off to the Carlsbad Visitor's Centre for our tour starting at 11:30 am. The elevator takes about one minute to drop 750 feet into a wonderland. Today's tour is the Kings Palace.
Our tour is 1 1/2 hours long. The original tour in 1924 used to take 5 hours!


Carlsbad Cavern is one of over 300 limestone caves in a fossil reef laid down by an inland sea 250 to 280 million years ago.

Carlsbad Cavern Timeline:

1915-1918 – First photographs in cavern’s Scenic Rooms and Big Room taken by Ray V. Davis. His photographs stimulate interest in the cavern. Davis’ photos appear in the New York Times in 1923. 1923 –April 6 to May 8, Robert Holley, General Land Office, surveys and maps the cavern, guided by Jim White and photographed by Ray V. Davis. Recommends establishment as national monument.On October 25, Carlsbad Cave National Monument was established. 
1923 to 1927 – W.F. McIlvain serves as first custodian (superintendent), overseeing first trails, stairs and lights. He supervises Jim White, works with Willis T. Lee, coordinates with city officials, including the Chamber of Commerce, and makes $12 a year. 
1924 – March 20 to September 15, Dr. Willis T. Lee, sponsored by National Geographic Society and assisted by Jim White, extensively explores cavern. NPS Director Mather visits in April. 
1925 – Staircase from natural entrance to Bat Cave installed, eliminating use of guano bucket to enter cave. Donated by Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce. 
1926 – First trail by NPS—dirt path and wooden stairways through Main Corridor, Kings Palace, Queens Chamber, and three quarters of the Big Room. Installation of first electric lighting system via Main Corridor and Kings Palace. 
1927 – Trail past Bottomless Pit opened. School for employees’ children established in park. Cavern Supply Company is established as the park concessioner. Entry fee – $2.00 per person.

What is most amazing is these formations have never seen any light for thousands of years until 1915. Most of the Stalagmites and Stalactites have ceased to grow and are stagnant with the drier conditions of the desert although they still have a some growing today with the dripping water.

Fabulous walk through time. Here is a UTube Video that describes it beautifully.



Here are Ray's pictures of the day.





















A fantastic adventure. We will always remember this and definitely worth seeing again and again. With 2 days of trekking through the cavern, Ray will have to take a couple of days off other than moving to our next destination, a state park where we can relax.

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