Saturday, April 16, 2016

Fire Of Volcanoes - Part 1

The weather forecast for yesterday afternoon was calling for overcast, cold and very windy.
As is usual for this time of year weather is still all over the map.
Cold.  Sun. Snow and rain.  Wind.  Sometimes all in the same day.
We have it all.  All the way through the begrudging Idaho spring.
When I got up yesterday morning it was already windy and cold, but the sky was endlessly blue.
And on this day I was endlessly restless.
I hadn't explored lava fields since last fall.
We had so much snow this past winter that we couldn't get out that far.
As I quickly drank coffee in an effort to quickly wake up, I decided that I wanted to take my pup and explore one of my favorite lava fields.
It is located about seven miles from town.
Just before the tracks. 
Only a mile from Cedar Butte.
I have to smile when I look at the pictures immediately above and below.
Over the past few years we have lived in Tennessee, Wyoming, Alaska and Idaho, and have traveled across the country a couple of times.
We have seen these bullet ridden signs all over the country.
When I see them I smile.  And in my mind I can hear the good natured laughing of the guys invariably in their trucks, doing their guy things and engaging in big game sign hunting................
There are lava fields scattered throughout the desert.
The unmistakable sign of the hot and violent land that this used to be eons ago.
Some of the lava fields are small and sporadic, but others are huge.
This was one of those.
A lava field that takes hours to explore.
Where hills of buckled and bowed rock, that spewed across the desert and then cooled into tortured shapes, rise all around you.
The ground is uneven, tough underfoot and when I explore these lava fields I wear sturdy boots.
I have lived in five different countries, have never experienced terrain like this, and it is rugged and compelling................
After parking the Tahoe in a wide open area across the road from this lava field, Kory and I crossed over the gravel road and headed for the rocky lava hills.
Quickly we veered to the right, worked our way around to the back side of the first hill and picked up a natural trail that wanders and meanders (as I found out last year) for hours.
This natural trail is surrounded on one (and sometimes both sides) by more rocky hills that seem to continue forever.
Within five minutes of hitting the natural trail something colorful caught my attention.
Curious, I walked towards the unexpected color and found this arrow laying on the ground.
Smiling at my unexpected find, I picked it up and carried it with me for the entire trip..................
I probably walked five miles during this trip.
Kory (who climbed every rocky hill in our travels) probably probably walked 10..............
One section of the lava field..........
At the top of one more hill.................
The desert is getting greener and greener by the day.
Plenty of snow and ice through the winter.
Regular periods of rain through the spring.
In a couple of months the desert will be brown again.  Endless beige and endless heat and little (if any) rain.
I'll enjoy this while it lasts.
Throughout the lava field were small bushes with fragile yellow flowers, and these lush and green bushes, all growing up through the cracks in the rocks......................
When you first delve into the lave fields everything looks bland and boring and monochromatic.
But if you look closely there is intrigue everywhere you turn.
As I continued to follow the natural trail in and around, up and over lava rocks I could hear the explosions, and see the smoke and molten lava that created this place in a distant time in our history.
And as I continued to wander I found the bright green bushes and the bright yellow flowers, the skeletons of trees that burned during a wild fire back in the 80s, wide rock crevices, the snow capped mountains in the distance, the buckled and bowed and twisted lava rocks, the animal caves, the rocks with colored fungi, and the brief sighing of an antelope that quickly ran across a field in front of me and then disappeared almost before I had realized what happened.....................
And one more unexpected find.
30 minutes after finding the arrow laying on the ground, I found this metal bar.
And for the rest of the trip I carried the bar with the arrow........................
A dead end.
Kory and I ended up climbing up to the right and picking the trail back up on higher ground...............
Looking back the way we had come.................
Looking towards the direction we were headed.
At the end of this box canyon we climbed the hill to the left and continued on with our journey..............
Remind me that the most fertile lands were built by the fires of volcanoes..........Andrea Gibson, The Madness Vase

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