By Simon Ambit
I’m not exactly sure when the dimensional warp took place, but somewhere between the highway and the visitor’s center, we stepped into a whole new world. A world formed on the surface of the earth but generated deep beneath her crust. With the top of the mountain blown clear off, there sits a giant crater where there should be a tall peak! And as you gaze upon the hardened magma flows, you can see the molten fluid ripples that cooled in place forever. It is eerie and inspiring at the same time.
After making the 4.5 hour drive northbound on I-15, we reached the town of Blackfoot, Idaho. After fueling the vehicle and obtaining some famous Reed’s Gourmet Chocolate Milk (made of course with potato flakes), we faded west onto Highway 26 and drove to our anticipated destination: Craters of the Moon National Monument. Upon obtaining a map of the park at the visitor’s center, we ventured out on a self-guided tour of the facility. Each stop along the way brought new hikes, strange sights and inspiring views. It seemed as though the attractions were getting better and better with each consecutive stop.
The day was filled with first-time sights for the entire family as we saw things that we’d only read about in books. There were volcanic domes, craters, calderas and shields. We saw spires, ripples, fissures and more. But the icing on the dreary wonderland cake was the lava tube caves. Some of the caves are so large you could drive a house through their bellies without touching the top or sides; and yet others were so small that we had to worm and wriggle into their mouths on our stomachs.
The series of caves were dark and cool inside, though the temperature up top was in the 90s. And though we’d been going for hours, no sooner would we come spelunking out of one subterranean corridor, then the kids wanted to run to the next cavernous adventure. It took a lot of hiking, and at times, some courage to crawl down into a worm hole of an entrance with only a small headlamp to light the path in front of your feet. But once inside, the caves would each open up into their unique inner splendors and refreshing characteristics and temperatures. It was an amazing adventure and great family experience.
I suppose that sometimes in life we have to get off the beaten path, muster up some courage and wriggle down in with a little faith and trust in order to see the best parts of the journey. In the words of Ellie (from Disney Pixar’s “UP”) “Adventure is out there!” Whether near or far, take your family or friends and go create wholesome adventures. Life is a great place, enjoy the journey!