Day Adventure, Family Fun

June Adventure: Minnetonka Caves


There’s a poem by William Wordsworth that contains these lines:

“When from our better selves we have too long
Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop–”

I know all too well the feeling. It is for that reason that I’ve been trying hard to fit more adventure and exploration into our lives, especially now that I don’t have to teach during the summer. Perhaps some couples can make it out more often, but I’ve set a goal this summer to go on one “day adventure” per month with Matt. If we end up going on more, great, but I worry if I don’t set some kind of plan, we’ll just sit at home watching reruns like we do most days.

Last Thursday, our adventure took us to the Minnetonka Caves, which are located about an hour and a half away from Logan (in a tiny Idaho town by Bear Lake).

Luckily for us, even the drive was refreshing–big, expansive views of lake and forest and country lanes, and the temperature was a cool 65. While Matt wound our car through canyon and town, I hung out the window trying to capture the views outside (all in manual mode on my camera, which I’ve been trying hard to master all summer). There were a lot of duds that were overexposed or too blurry, but occasionally I seemed to get the settings just right as we drove along at speeds exceeding sixty miles an hour:


And when we reached the caves themselves, the smoky smell of campfires nearby and the tangy smell of pine trees brought me back to every summer spent camping as a teenager and even left me nostalgic for my time in El Salvador, where everyone out in the campo (boonies) cooked their food over campfire and hung their underwear out on clotheslines for everyone to see.


On our 90-minute guided tour of the caves, we learned that they had been discovered in the 1900’s by a grouse hunter, and that they had been turned into a tourist spot by workers paid under the government-sponsored Works Progress Administration. Unfortunately, many of the features of the cave had been destroyed or damaged by people touching the formations (which I didn’t know basically “die” if the oil from humans touches them).

Luckily for us, it was still a pretty cool place to take a stroll, and our tour guide had a pretty nerdy sense of humor, which is always pleasing to us Meidells. We liked how each room of the cave had its own special name, like how “hell” was located beneath and between two “heavens,” and how the final chamber is called “The Wedding” because in a few million years, a stalagmite (the groom) and the stalactite (the bride) will finally meet in the middle.

But what you really want to see is the pictures, right? So I’ll stop talking already.

 Our tour guide, in silhouette
 Me, in “hell”


After the tour, we drove over to Garden City (about fifteen minutes away) and stopped by the Home Town Drive-In, which is famous for their raspberry shakes (and for good reason—I’ve been craving one ever since!).


Things to Know When Visiting Minnetonka:
*Bring a jacket. The cave is about 40 degrees (even in summer), so you WILL want to layer up.
*Don’t wear sandals, like I did. Not only will your toes be numb by the end, the floor in the caves can be kind of slick, so sandals usually mean a higher chance of slipping.
*The admission fee for each adult is $8.
*You can only go through the caves on a guided tour–you can’t explore them solo.
*If you have visited other caves, you cannot wear the same clothes/jewelry or even bring the same items (like cameras or phones) that were in previous caves due to them possibly harboring a disease that has already killed huge populations of the cave’s bats already.
*There are over 400 steps you have to climb up and down in the cave. Be warned.

Seriously, every time we go on an adventure like this, I feel like a brand-new person and think, “Why on earth do we not do this all the time?!” So, note to my home-comforts-loving self:

Get out more often.

We’re currently on the lookout for our next little getaway—anyone know of a great little adventure spot that’s within about a two-hour drive of Logan, Utah that we can visit?

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