Friday afternoon. Carlsbad, New Mexico. Home of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Which is home to thousands of bats.
This was our first official day of camping (can you believe hotels don't count?!). We arrived in the area around 4pm and headed straight to Brantley Lake State Park, about 22 miles north of Carlsbad. We were really trying to hurry and, for our first set up, we did very well, getting set up in well under 2 hours. Not bad for 3 tents plus kitchen set up. By the end of this trip, we'll have it down to less than 45 minutes.
Both Team Alpha's (parents), and Team Gamma's (girls) were set up next to each other. YoManBob's (Team Me!) however.... Let's just say that hespent the night away from us. Not very far away. Just far enough to make it interesting.
Why were we in such a hurry, though? To get to the bat cave on time! Every evening, right around sunset, thousands of bats come flying out of this huge cave, swirling much like a tornado, then heading off in search of a tasty insect meal.
For the bat flight, spectators get to sit in the amphitheater area just above the cave's entrance and hope we don't get pooped on (YoManBob didn't hope hard enough....). No electronics, including cameras, cellphones, video cameras, etc, are allowed during the bat flight because it interferes with their sonar. Hence, we have no pictures to show of the actual flight. It is well worth the trip, tough. And not just for the bat flight, but more on that in a later post.
By the time we headed to our campsite, it was already dark. No biggie, since we have plenty of flashlights. The campsite sits above a lake and the wind had picked up a LOT. Having camped here a few years back, we knew to tie all tents securely. Again, no biggie.
Our "biggie" was the dry lightning nearby. Let's just say we were concerned. Very concerned. Fortunately, it seemed to be moving away from us so we were able to go to sleep. Or try. Did I mention that the temperature has been above 100°? Up until now, we had stayed in sweet, blessed, air conditioned rooms. Even with the strong wind, we were HOT. It just so happens that the wind was blowing perpendicular to our tents' vents. All three tents. No cool air for us. *sigh*