Carlsbad Caverns N.P. is an incredible place. For most people it's about the caves and the bats. For us, it's about ALL OF IT !
The Chihuahuan Desert subtly cloaks a fascinating landscape - the largest exposed Permian reef on the planet. The reef's past is complex but suffice it to say that it's been altered a bit since it was home to marine creatures and on the edge of a sea. A bit of tectonic uplift coupled with physical and chemical (solution) weathering and here we are today:
For scale notice the road in the center of the photo. There is a car on that road. While this is by no means the Tetons or the Alps it is big country, expansive skies and magical canyons:
While most of the park is designated wilderness is does not take much of a hike to observe signs of the area's cultural past. Here's an old road that has been reclaimed by a variety of native grasses:
The road leads to an old quarry that was...
...worked by some hard labor, apparently:
Miners gotta eat:
Maybe the miners, like me, admired some even older artifacts:
How many folks in the past have taken shelter from the sun in this very spot, just like me?:
How many have strolled across this wonderful Grama grassland just like me?:
Did they, like me, notice the stockpiles of native grass seed collected by Harvester Ants?:
One thing is for sure - these ants will be here, doing there thing, long after our culture has played itself out and when some future culture wanders this land pondering the thoughts and puzzling over the artifacts of those that came before.