What makes caving in New Mexico so interesting and fun? The Land of Enchantment is just that - enchanting! We have breathtaking beauty in all parts of the state. In the Southeast, where I'm at, I tend to find most of my enchantment underground.
The caves in and around the Guadalupe Mountains are "world class." They are diverse in so many ways and they offer a wide variety of caving experiences. Novice cavers can explore massive decorated walking passage in horizontal caves. More experienced cavers can test their skills in complex vertical caves. Researchers have found interesting Science in the caves and photographers come from all over the world to capture their beauty.
Contrary to popular belief, desert caves are not bone dry. We have active caves, pools of water and mud. There's also the excitement of rappelling down to the sound of a rattlesnake rattling and trying to figure out where it is! We have ring tail cats in some caves, bats, tiger salamanders, birds, spiders, diplurans and microbes that are studied extensively. Some of our caves provide spotted owl habitat, probably an adaptation for lack of trees. The hikes to the caves provide amazing scenery that allows the viewer to see for miles. Each cave offers a unique experience and that's what keeps cavers coming back.
As a child, I did the usual commercial cave visits with the family. My first experience was Luray Caverns in Virginia. I have been wild caving since 1988.
In 2000, I went to work for the Forest Service as a cave guide at Blanchard Springs Caverns in Arkansas (the only Forest Service managed commercial cave). I was a guide for the commercialized trails as well as a wild cave guide, algae sprayer, etc. I moved to Carlsbad in August, 2004 after applying on-line and getting hired as Cave Manager/Recreation Assistant with the Lincoln National Forest. I was able to transfer over to the Bureau of Land Management in Carlsbad and remain as a cave volunteer and cave trip leader for the Forest Service.
I was also a leader for the Speleo Venture Crew in Carlsbad for a couple of years. I have worked with many youth groups throughout my caving career. I enjoy teaching them to cave safely and to respect the cave while they're doing it.
If you have any question about youth group caving in New Mexico, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.