05 October 2009


I visited the best known of our 3 or 4 local lavatubes* with my brothers and some of their kids this weekend. The older boys came up from Scottsdale with their Jr. High church youth group and met up with the rest of us out in the woods on Saturday afternnon. Phoenix, apparently bored after a morning of leaf-peeping, was out at the lavatube in-force, too, so there was quite a crowd all along the tube's 3800' distance. One group of out-of-towners even managed to crawl out of the cave only to find one of their party missing-in-action, necessitating an urgent call to the county Search and Rescue crew, helicopter and all [Update 07 October: they found her safe and sound]. Exciting. Crowded. A bona fide natural wonder.

* Other local lavatubes and caves that come to mind:
  • The much-shorter, way-harder-to-find but very awesome Slate Lake Cave north of Kendrick Peak near Slate Mountain.

  • The otherwise nameless but still quite legitimate and somewhat tricky-to-find Ice Cave (a collapsed lavatube) near the Sycamore Rim Trail.

  • The closed-to-the-public Ice Cave at Sunset Crater.

  • Any and all of the truly uncountable, thoroughly unmapped volcanic caves, tunnels, and cracks along the base of Mount Elden


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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Ed Abbey