Last month I went on an epic trip to Arizona. I went there to visit Larry, who was taking classes at ASU. The trip started when I drove Peter, Eric, and Andy to where Larry was staying in Chandler, Arizona. I left Orange County around 10 on a Thursday night.
Lava River Cave
On Friday morning we woke up and drove to Flagstaff, which was 150 miles away. A few miles outside of Flagstaff I turned onto a dirt road. After a few miles of a bumpy drive including potholes, rocks in the road, and having to drive off the road so I would not get stuck, we arrived at the Lava River Cave.
There were some rocks around a hole in the ground. We descended into the hole and started our trip down the 3/4 mile long cave. At first it was difficult. I had to climb down rocks that were sometimes covered with ice. However, I quickly reached the floor of the cave and the rocks leveled out.
The cave was cold. It averaged 35-40 degrees, even though it was 80+ degrees above ground. We had hats and gloves to keep us warm. After a short distance it was very dark in the cave. Nothing could be seen. This is what it looked like without our flashlights.
The cave was a very scary place. There were random ice patches on the rocks and small puddles of water hidden on the floor. There were sharp rocks all over and many outcroppings hanging from the ceiling. It was a place darker and lonelier than the most deserted night. Just ask Eric.
The cave varied in height. Most of the time I could walk upright without hitting anything. At times the cave was over 30 feet high and even wider.
As we walked along, Larry said we should be sure to take the left path when the cave branched. He had researched the cave beforehand and knew the right route was only 2 or 3 feet high at one point. Since Peter was in the lead, we put him in charge of leading us down the left path. However, Peter missed the fork in the cave and lead us down the wrong side. We had to crawl to get through the opening. For most of the cave the floor looked like a river of lava that had hardened in the middle of flowing. (Actually, that is exactly what the floor was.) There were sharp points all over the floor. My hands were not happy.
Eventually we got to the end of the cave. After some pictures and spending some time in complete darkness, we started back out to the entrance. This time we were careful to take the other side which was taller.
Climbing back to the entrance I slipped on one of the icy rocks. I instantly reached for the nearest thing and cut my hand grabbing a jagged rock. There was only a little blood, but it was enough to get on my pants. You can also check out Eric's Cave Time, Lava River that is...album.
After going to a Chinese restaurant in Flagstaff, I drove to Slide Rock. It is a stream that flows through a rock filled area. There were a lot of people there in the water. Aside from the opportunity to get into the water, the place was unremarkable. Here we have Larry and me sitting on a ledge. Larry is eating some ice cream, while I am using a hat and towel to keep the sun off of me.
At Slide Rock a theme was started. Peter was sitting on a rock and we started calling it Bui's rock. After that, every big rock that anyone could climb on top of was called Bui's rock.
Another theme was Larry had to jump on every big rock and demand pictures be taken. Eric's album FINALLY...Slide Rock has come back? only has half of the pictures we took on the rock above. My camera was borrowed and a bunch more were taken that did not make it online. While many of the pictures were great, after you have seen a few you get the idea.
Check back tomorrow for the second part of my Arizona trip. I visited the second largest dam on the Colorado River and a city named for me.