The Lost World

The great rift; that's a person to the left.

We spent two days trying to secure permission to rappel into the the great rift, one of the largest and deepest volcanic rifts in the world, formed over 2000 years ago by the Yellowstone caldera. The Idaho backcountry was filled with signs warning visitors to watch their step, as hidden cracks fill the snake river valley, some hundreds of feet deep.

It was just one of these cracks we came to seek out, an access point into the world's deepest dormant volcano. Finally with the necessary permits firmly in hand we drove almost a hundred miles out on a dirt road to the great rift itself. The drive was an adventure in itself and when we finally stood at the edge of the rift it seemed small in comparison to the enormous sky and country that surrounded us. It wasn't until later looking at pictures that I could fully comprehend the sprawling void.

The first leg of our journey followed a narrow path the spiralled down the edge of the 'King's Bowl'. As we descended the temperature and light began to drop. We had entered an underground landscape as foreign as the moon. High above on the surface the weather had been warm and dry, but soon we began to encounter dripping water, and before long, a neon green lake with soft, mossy shores.

We made our final descent into the heart of the rift on rope, a sheer drop of 200 feet. As I slowly slid down the final passage, the temperature plummeted and day seemed to turn into night; sunlight was barely visble through a crack high overhead. I finally came to rest at the top of a huge underground snowbank surrounded by another lake, one that had long since iced over. In just a moment my partner landed nearby, we could go no deeper.

As the cold crept in, I reflected on how 2000 years ago this quiet, twilight world of ice and snow had been an inferno fed by the planet's radioactive core; a furnace whose fires would be stoked again someday. A different kind of chill hastened my climb out of the rift.

Down the rift, on rope.


See the world, they
told me...

bayou goula towhead

the sea test

the circumnavigator pt5
the circumnavigator pt4
the circumnavigator pt3
the circumnavigator pt2
the circumnavigator pt1
falling dream
the darkness
one hell of a mile 3&4
he will return
the believers
the horror pt2
the horror pt1
death valley

paradise of outlaws
the mountain climbers 1&2
brought to surface
one hell of a mile 3
the lost world
inner gorge
a ghost story
the riddle
slaying the minotaur
heart of darkness
public lands
organ music
two sought adventure
the virgin river
the road north

steal the world
the end of the world
el dorado
the valley of the kings 2
the valley of the kings 1
one hell of a mile 2
one hell of a mile 1
the mountain climbers rr4
heroes rr3
rainy roadtrip 2
rainy roadtrip 1
the transgression
sinister 2
sinister 1
new chapter

like sedona?
torn in two
bridge to nowhere
the door
hitting the wall
elusive 2
elusive 1
pick up lines

revisited 2
revisited 1
which way?
lost mines
in their footsteps
a dance with death

casting the bones
mountain thief
the deer hunter
strange temple
burial pt. 3
burial pt. 2
burial pt. 1
the apparition
return to hell
the lower depths
underground lake
stretch sewer
the hidden lab
shadow movements
meager rations
sw8: the conclusion
sw7: lost gold mines
sw6: the big tubes
sw5: gold!
sw4: el calderon
sw3: redondo
sw2: ghosts
sw1: westward bound
formaldehyde dreams
the underdark
in the beginning