Expedition Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller, Matt Miller, Jacque Miller, Holly Miller, Shane Miller
Date: July 8, 2005
Our first National Park stop on our 13 state 5,500 mile trip. We camped at the local KOA campground where we videotaped a tarantula which crawled over my shoe while filming. The kids also chased lizards, jack rabbits and found a giant black beetle. The NP has over 100 known caves including Lechuguilla Cave, the deepest limestone cave in the USA at 1,567 ft. We sat on bleachers at sunset and I videotaped 500,000 bats (Photo #6 & #7) exit the cave right before dusk at feed on moths and beetles as they are important insect exterminators. They would come out as a continuous giant swirling mass, gain altitude to clear the cliffs and then fly off to search for food. I gave Shane $5 to adopt a bat and he came back in tears as he thought he would get a real bat to take home. Instead it was an adoption certificate and photo of a bat & our money was to help maintain the cave site. We hiked a one mile trail where we saw some lizards and an iguana.
Leaving the KOA the next day, Shane’s suitcase fell out the pop-up campers door so we had to retrace 15 miles until we found it. Lunch was hot Mexican burritos. Heading north we drove through 12,000 ft. mountains and the brakes got hot. We pulled over to let them cool off before heading down to White Sands. Along the way on a peak we stopped at the real Smokey the Bear statue/site. Later we stopped at the Malpais Lava Flow & did a one mile hike.