2024 Road Trip: Part 6 – One Small Step

I’m at the point in my trip where I’m getting worn out, and I’m ready to be home. Home is still very far away, though, but I’m gradually making my way closer.

I decided to take a minor detour while passing through Idaho. There is a neat volcanic landscape in South central Idaho called ‘Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve‘ and I wanted to check it out. There was no way I was making it home today, so I figured I may as well make the trip a little more interesting.

I had to take Highway 20 to get there. It’s a long, winding 2-lane highway through the Idaho desert. It’s a scenic drive, but there was one part of the drive that was, uh, messy.

A Mormon Cricket Massacre

You see all of that stuff in my wheel well? This is what happens when literally millions of giant crickets, known as “Mormon Crickets,” choose to use an entire section of highway as their fuck pit. This cricket orgy was so massive, that you couldn’t even see a speck of highway underneath it. I had no choice but to drive through it, with crickets getting smashed in more ways than one. It was slippery, like driving through slushy snow. I had to slow down so I wouldn’t slide off the road. And the smell. Yeah, it had a smell. My car is going to need about 69 car washes after this.

Nature is fascinating.

After several hours of driving, I finally arrived at Craters of the Moon. I had intended to camp here. There is a first come, first served campground on site, and I had assumed it should be fairly easy to grab a spot on a random Tuesday. My expectations cratered (heh) as soon as I saw the campground, though. I slowly drove all around the campground, and the only spot that appeared to be open was Campsite 13. I pulled in, thinking I’d claim it, but then I noticed that someone had already paid for that site (the #13 post in the front has a spot to display your receipt when you pay for a site.) Damn, they’re probably out exploring the monument and just haven’t set up camp yet. Ok, so I guess I’m not camping here tonight. That’s fine.

I explored the area for a while, but I was completely exhausted, so I only stuck to easy hikes. I also left my camera gear in the car, because I was tired of lugging it around for nearly two weeks straight. My five-year-old smartphone has a camera, so I thought I’d just make do with that this time around.

This place really is otherworldly

There’s an area where you can hike some easy paths that lead to some caves created by lava tubes. You’ll need a permit to enter the caves. You can pick one up for free at the visitor center at the entrance of the park. I found my way to the entrance of Indian Tunnel, which is less than a mile from the parking lot. There were no other people around, and it was dead silent in the area.

That was when I heard the cooing.

From inside the tunnels, you could hear the soft, gentle “coos” of pigeons echoing throughout the caves. I’m not sure what I expected when I came upon a lava tube, but one thing I was not expecting was for it to be home of several very large pigeons.

“coo… coo…”

The trail seemed to end at the Indian Tunnel, so I turned around and made my way back towards the parking lot. The sun was starting to set, so obviously I snapped a sunset photo with my smartphone along the way.

I like the mountainous backdrop that surrounds the area

I got back in my car, then made my way out of the park. I noticed on my way out that Campsite #13 was still empty. Did somebody really pay for it, then just leave, or were they still exploring the park? I guess I’ll never know.

This would be my last official stop of this road trip. Everything else from here on out would be rest stops, fuel stops, and hotel stays. I had my fun, I did a lot of exploring, but I was exhausted, and it was time to go home.

I made it home two days later. It felt good to be in my own home again. I still have about four days off of work, though, so now begins my vacation from my vacation.

With that, this concludes Road Trip 2024. Thanks for following along with my journey!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *