When we realized that we some time off, we decided to go camping. As the time neared, we watched the weather forecasts and saw the forecasts for crazy record-breaking heat coming to the southwest. I'm pretty hardcore and don't require much pampering. Even still, camping in 110* heat just isn't my cup of tea. So we decided to escape the heat by going underground. Deep underground. Like 750' underground.
We arrived in Carlsbad fairly late in the afternoon so going into the caverns were out of the question for that day. But we decided to go to the park and get a game plan for the following day. Smart move! We got some great advice from the man working the desk and purchased our tickets for the ranger tour. The ranger tours sell out very quickly on summer holiday weekends!
The visitor center overlooks the Permian Basin. The Permian Basin was once a shallow sea and was the final resting place of a great many things that eventually turned into black gold. I have driven through the basin on many occasions but have never really been able to see the geologic features that make it a basin. It just seemed really flat (and dotted with oil rigs). But seeing it from above, you can picture it.
The views were hindered by blowing dust and smoke from forest fires but still a cool view.