Tagged: Carlsbad Caverns National Park

There and back again

Hello again and welcome back.  As stated at the beginning of my last entry, I had some computer issues that prevented me from posting my previous entry, but seeing as how I had already written it out I figured I would share it rather than relegate it to the recycle bin.  In any event, the entry is there if you should choose to read it.  Recent events in the Texas League South have created a jumbled mess in the standings.  We with the Midland RockHounds have had a difficult stretch, going 4-7 over our last eleven games.  In that time the standings have been compressed significantly, going from a five game lead over second place to currently being only five games in front of the last place team.  The good news is that we are still in first place and for the next two weeks we are playing the other division so we should have a good opportunity to put some distance between ourselves and the rest of the division if we are able to play with a bit more consistency.  I myself have seen the end to my recent hot streak.  I had a couple outings where I gave up some cheap hits, but Monday I had one of the worst outings of my professional career and gave up four runs in less than an inning.  I bounced back with a solid outing last night, throwing 2-plus innings of scoreless baseball, and we as a team bounced back as well with a much needed victory over Tulsa.  Hopefully this will be a harbinger of things to come for both me and my teammates.


Away from the field, I have spent the better portion of my time during this homestand putting my affairs in Midland in order in preparation for the end of the season.  While the main focus certainly remains firmly on winning games and making a push towards the playoffs, it is inevitable that we as players face situations in which we also have to plan against a premature end to the season.  Because we have to set up residences in the same way we would have to if we expected them to be permanent–despite the extremely temporary nature of our actual habitation–at the end of the season we as players are left trying to tie off the loose ends of our housing arrangements while still leaving us a roof over our heads.  So with that in mind, I have been making all of the final arrangements for our current apartment and setting us up at the hotel for the duration of our stay in Midland, which will hopefully include a long run through the playoffs.  In addition to mundane tasks such as this, I finally got to take my trip to Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks on our off day this past Tuesday.  I love being out in the middle of nature with no sounds but those of nature filling my ears and nobody to intrude upon my solitude, which is exactly what I got from this trip.  I started off early enough Tuesday morning to arrive at the Slaughter Canyon trailhead in Carlsbad Caverns N.P. at dawn and spent about three hours hiking Slaughter Canyon trail–encountering two rattlesnakes, various insects, a multitude of spiders and seeing numerous deer and elk prints–before making the strenuous ˝ mile hike up to the entrance of Slaughter Canyon Cave.  The cave itself was an amazing experience.  While it lacks for some of Carlsbad’s grandeur, the lack of trails or lighting made for an amazing experience, especially once we got into the pristine portion of the cave.  After finishing the cave tour, I hiked back to my car, drove 25 miles down the highway to Guadalupe Mountains N.P. and spent the remainder of my afternoon hiking the El Capitan trail, sweating profusely and taking in the beautiful scenery.  The most interesting wildlife experience I took in on the day was on this trail and wasn’t even an encounter with an actual animal (although I did see a couple more rattlesnakes and a few deer), but instead was seeing some mountain lion tracks in dried mud a few feet off the trail.  Pretty cool and a definite incentive to be back before dark.  In any event, it was a much needed break and I would strongly recommend both parks, but I’ll stop myself there before I bore everyone to death.  Until next time, please enjoy the customary poem.


Wood’s Edge

by Brenda Hillman


Infinity lifted:

a gasp of emeralds.


I thought I felt

the tall night trees

between them,


no exactitude,

a wait not even

known yet.


I held my violet up;

no smell.

It made a signal squeak

inside, bats,


lisps of pride;


ah, their little things,

their breath: lungs of a painting,


they swept me

in four ways, their square

plans, as I have made

a good square saying,


you I

you not-I

not-you I

not-you not-I,


ritual of hope

whose weight

has not been measured–


Down in a hole

Hello again and welcome back.  Last time I checked in the all-star break was looming and I was eagerly awaiting a trip to Carlsbad Caverns National Park for some back country camping and cave tours with my fiancé.  Well, the break has come and gone and so has my trip to Carlsbad.  Unfortunately for my fiancé and me, American Airlines continues struggling with the mechanics of running an airline so instead of my fiancé getting into Midland at 1 pm, driving to Carlsbad and hiking out to a campsite in the park, my fiancé had her connecting flight cancelled, rode in with a couple strangers from Dallas, got in much later than scheduled and we ended up camping the night at some roadside RV park and campground.  Not exactly what we’d hoped for, but at least we got there and the cave tours were well worth the hassle.  For those of you who haven’t seen it, the natural entrance to Carlsbad Caverns is quite a sight to see in its own right, and the mile long hike down into the cave is well worth the hour or so it takes.  Much better than the elevator ride down.  Once below ground we took in the cave’s signature room, The Big Room, as well as guided tours of King’s Palace and, my personal favorite, the Lower Cave.  Everything in the caves is interesting and very enjoyable, but the Lower Cave tour was a little bit more strenuous, starting in a “secret location,” descending through a crevice by ladder, no floodlights like most of the rest of the cave, and some actual crawling.  Overall it was a great experience and depending on the status of my minor back injury and the weather I am strongly considering heading back to Carlsbad in August to tour Slaughter Canyon Cave, one of the many wild, backcountry caves in the park.  Speaking of my back, it has been a bit sore for the past few days after my last appearance but should get a test off the mound today, be it in the game or the bullpen and I’m fairly optimistic that it will be a non-issue.  Other than that I have just been enjoying the time with my fiancé and dodging raindrops at the field.  On a final note, regarding the questions about the off-field situation that has been reported involving the Akron Aeros, I don’t know or haven’t heard anything that hasn’t been reported publicly.  Given that and the nature of the situation, I feel it would be inappropriate for me to comment or speculate on it so this will be the last time I mention it.  I hope everybody had a good 4th of July and as always I will leave you with a poem.


27,000 Miles

by Albert Goldbarth


These two asleep . . . so indrawn and compact,

like lavish origami animals returned


to slips of paper once again; and then

the paper once again become a string


of pith, a secret that the plant hums to itself . . . .

You see? — so often we envy the grandiose, the way


those small toy things of Leonardo’s want to be

the great, air-conquering and miles-eating


living wings

they’re modeled on.  And the bird flight is


amazing: simultaneously strength,

escape, caprice: the Artic tern completes


its trip of nearly 27,000 miles every year;

a swan will frighten bears away


by angry aerial display of flapping wingspan.

But it isn’t all flight; they also


fold; and at night on the water or in the eaves

they package their bodies


into their bodies, smaller, and deeply

smaller yet: migrating a similar distance


in the opposite direction.