Hell’s Half Acre
Strolling the Lava Trails
By Bruce Bash
I stood on the observation deck of the Interstate I-15 rest area cleaning my camera lenses and watching cars, semis, and motor homes come and go. Behind me acres and acres of Hell’s Half Acre lava rock spread toward the north and out of sight.
My plan had been simple: arrive early, hike two trails snaking through the southern tip of the lava flow, and photograph the rock and June vegetation. But my twenty-mile drive south from Idaho Falls appeared to be for naught. It seemed old man sun didn’t get my memo about meeting me at the trailhead and was now peacefully sleeping behind a small bank of dark clouds in the eastern sky. Without the sun, there were no shadows, and without shadows, the lava landscape looked dull and featureless.
I counted vehicles and ate a forgotten granola bar I found jammed into the bottom of my camera bag. But soon I grew antsy and wandered over to the trail to begin my hike. It wasn’t long before the sun, curious to see what I was doing, peeked out from between thinning clouds and sprayed the landscape with morning shadows.