Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico:  14 June 2004

You ascend by car a couple hundred feet to overlook the surrounding desert, then descend into the earth for several hundred to reach the Caverns themsleves.  It is cool and damp inside, and voices are muffled by swirling echoes.  The backlighting of the formations within the cavern walls give a fireplace effect, while the tall columns stand like melted statuary.  [20 photos]