Carlsbad Caverns National Park has a lot of acreage.
I have already walked up Slaughter Canyon, also located in this national park, which also has a cave, a year after a major fire gutted that canyon.
Now I will do the same thing following the Old Guano Mine Road Trail, and the drainage that follows below and beside it.
Here is the sign that starts the trail, near the Visitor Center:
So, the trail is named after a Bat Poop mine? Yes, here is the explanation:
So the natural entrance was used at first, and this shaft was blasted later:
But now I am ahead of the story of these two 'bat-poop' trail walks.
The first walk actually begins down below near White's City (named after James White, who first explored the caves and drew national attention to their beauty. White was instrumental in having the caverns preserved for posterity by having them made into a US National Park. The wider world also took notice, and it is also a UNESCO "World Heritage Site."
This first walk is in February of 2012 about 8 months after a great fire swept through this area
It entails walking up the drainage just west of White's City, climbing up the ridge at about the halfway point to the Carlsbad Caverns National Park Visitor Center, and taking the 'improved' trail back to White's City.
The second walk, on the next page, comes a month later.
Fire authorities determined this particular fire, which burned from 13-15 June 2011, started in the valley below, to the east, that it was a human-caused fire, and that it moved westward denuding not just national park lands but also moving westward across some of the connected Guadalupe Range and several private properties to the west.
A year before, another park situated on these fossil ocean reefs named Sitting Bull Falls also burned out. At this writing (Spring 2012) is still closed because the entire park infrastructure went up in flames. (A link to Sitting Bull Falls, a spectacularly colorful place, is provided at the end of the third page.)
Go to first 'bat-poop-trail' walk: up from White's City.
Go to second 'bat-poop-trail' walk: down from the Visitor Center (in two parts. part 1).
Go to second 'bat-poop-trail' walk: down from the Visitor Center (in two parts, part 2).
Go back to 2012 Yearbook
Go back to New Mexico home page
Go back to ThoughtsandPlaces.Org home page