Monday, March 5, 2012

Carlsbad Caverns National Park: Old Guano Road Trail

Today Noelle and I decided to go back to Whites City and give the hike up the Old Guano Road another try. Last week we were turned back early into the hike by some strong, cold winds. Today, however, weather conditions were much different. It was calm and warm.

And so we set out hiking into the park and amongst the earliest of the spring wildflowers. The lower elevation areas were covered in a small yellow flower that I am unfortunately unable to identify.
Yellow Flower
Fendler's Bladderpod
As we climbed up higher onto the escarpment we got some great views of the distant high Guadalupes.
Noelle and the Guads
Soon we started to see a lot of purple flowers of some type.
Purple Flowers
Desert Verbena
Again I was unable to identify them. Much of the area we hiked through burned in the Loop Fire last June. The evidence of the fire was everywhere in the form of charred plants and trail signs that had melted into a substance that looked like blonde hair.
Post Melted Like Hair
Eventually we arrived at the site of the old Guano Camp dump.
Noelle in the Dump
It's interesting that I find modern garbage so repulsive and disgusting, yet am so eager to find trash when its over 60 years old.
Old Pot
We found a lot of rusty metal in the dump along with some broken ceramics and China.

Perhaps the most interesting artifacts were the glass bottles we found. We found some old Coca-Cola bottles
Coke Bottle
and a beverage bottle that featured a picture of an Indian man on it.
Indian Head Bottle
After exploring the dump for a while, we moved further up the old road and passed the second natural entrance to Carlsbad Cavern.
2nd Natural Entrance
At this point we were hungry, and so we headed over to the Bat Flight Amphitheater where we ate some snacks and rested.
Noelle Resting

After basking in the sun for a bit, we started back to Whites City. We saw a few more wildflowers on the hike down.
Pink Flower in Crack
Shaggy Stenandrium
A distant wildfire that was burning this morning was still burning and now the smell of the smoke lingered in the air.
Hiking to Smoke
I think its going to be another bad fire summer in the southwest. As we approached the end of the hike we saw our first lizard of the spring, a little eastern fence lizard that sat on a rock in his natural camouflage. It was a great hike.
Camoflauged Lizard

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