There was a time in my early 20's when, on occasion, I'd go with a group of friends spelunking. I can't remember who I went with, but I do remember Jack Daniels, a spirit I'm not particularly partial to, and how dark it became when all our lights were turned off. My hand directly in front of my face was..., not there. Total darkness.
Melanie and I checked out Carlsbad Caverns on a self-guided tour that lasted for hours. We walked in the Natural Entrance, made our way down to the Big Room area and around and exited via the elevator (755 feet below ground). It's a walk of about 2.5 miles total.
While the cavern is selectively lit, it took walking a while before I could get my bearings. Old eyes getting used to dim light, I suppose. Walking down into the caverns was slow going and relatively steep in the beginning and by the time we reached the Big Room, I'd worked up a bit of sweat even though the cavern was relatively cool.
The other worldly Stalactites, Stalagmites, Soda Straws, Draperies, Flowstones, Columns, Lily Pads, Cave Pearls, Popcorn, Helictites, Aragonite Crystals, and Rimstone Dams were worth the effort.
All photos were made using the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Steven and Melanie