Exploring the Kuna Caves

In the middle of a farm field 15 minutes southeast of Nampa is a stone circle with a hole in the middle of it.

Take a peek into the hole and you will see a 50-foot drop into an underground cavern.

A long, caged ladder descends to the floor and for those brave enough to climb down the ladder a lava tube system awaits.

I’d been to the Kuna Caves – there is only one cave, however – once as a freshman in college. It was an excursion with my dorm wing and a girls’ dorm wing.

That outing featured a car being messed up and my RA inexplicably lighting a fire near the base of the ladder which quickly filled the cave with smoke and we all got to climb up the ladder while inhaling large quantities of smoke.

Before the smoke show, we explored deep into the cave and even crawled on our bellies to reach a deep portion. I did this ostensibly to impress a girl. She later become my girlfriend and I’m sure it was because of my spelunking abilities.

At any rate, Veronica and I were out for a spin recently and I decided to drive her and our daughter, Catarina, out to the cave on a whim.

I braved the rutted, dirt road for as far as I could in our Honda Accord and then we walked to the cave mouth.

One look at that ladder and we took a photo and went back to the car and drove home.

I’ve been married 10 years now, so I’m less inclined to risk my well-being to impress a girl.

A week later, however, with my brother, Mick, and his kids in town for New Year’s, we wanted to get the cousins out of the house. So off to Kuna Caves we went.

I took my dad’s Ford Excursion so I was able to drive right up to it. We all bounded out and after my brother and a nephew went down, it became a game of who else would brave the ladder.

Eventually, all but one of the cousins made it into the cave – including my 6-year-old daughter, who my brother helped down the ladder.

The cave runs a quarter mile under the ground and is about 50 feet deep. There is graffiti covering nearly every inch of the walls, plus a lot of garbage and remnants of fires. We saw a group of college-aged boys coming out and one was open carrying a handgun. So, either there is something in the cave to be afraid of or that guy has little man’s disease.

We didn’t go deep enough to crawl on our bellies, though I’d like to go back in the summer when it’s not 33 degrees out and explore more.

Based on YouTube videos the cave goes a long, long way underground. Legend has it that a large portion of the cave was cut off by a dynamite explosion. There are also rumors of stolen treasure, dead bodies and more.

That sounds like my kind of adventure.

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