Story Contest

Do you have an interesting tale from a trip? A traveling experience gone wrong? A humorous or never-to-be-forgotten travel memory? Tell us about it!

We are now accepting submissions for the Winter 2016 issue of Stowaway.


To enter the contest:

  • Submit your own article of 400 words or less
  • Include your name, hometown, and if possible, accompanying photography with descriptions
  • Email your article by midnight, Monday, October 5, 2015, to

Check out this winning submission from one of our recent issues:


In the Heart of the Volcano

Volcanic Cave
“All right, it looks like everyone wants to try the upper cave,” said my mother. Her voice echoed discomfortingly off of the dank subterranean walls.

Great, I thought, knowing that meant we would be taking the longer, more treacherous course. I, the younger sister, didn’t get to participate in the vote because I was simply tagging along with my brother’s Scout troop to the Ape Caves at Mount St. Helens, a dormant volcano in Washington. Of course my older brother and his friends would pick the harder, scarier course.

The pamphlet we had picked up on the way into the 2,000-year-old lava tubes boasted of several grim-sounding obstacles in the mile-and-a-half-long cave. While the shorter course had boulders to hike over and narrow parts of the cave to deal with, the longer course sounded like the big leagues to me. Although the upper cave would begin as a large, auditorium-sized space, we would quickly encounter a path so narrowed by rock piles that scooting on hands and knees would be the only option. At one point, there would even be hardened lava falls—eight feet high—and scaling them would be our only option forward. To my timid mind and short body, this path sounded like Mt. Everest.

Sure enough, soon after we passed the beautiful, wonderful open space of the chamber, the walls narrowed and we came upon a towering mound of rocks. Fighting back the panic and gritting my teeth, I slithered through the first of several long, bumpy crawl spaces.

When we reached the lava fall, eight feet seemed a lot taller than I had expected. My brother and his friends were goofing off at the top, having already scaled the slick rock face. One of them reached down and helped me struggle to the top.

After what seemed like an eternity, we neared the end of the cave, and I finally caught a glimpse of daylight. Looking up, all I could see was bright blue. Though we weren’t quite to the exit ladder yet, the sight of birds flying in and out of the hole several feet above me was immensely calming.

I suddenly became aware of the sheer magnificence of where I was. Millennia earlier, nature had violently rampaged through these tubes, and here I was, tramping through her wake—tiny, safe, and empowered.

Although it had been a nerve-racking journey, I had done it. As I stepped off the final rung of the ladder and emerged into the fresh air, I was truly, blissfully, exhilaratingly free.

Jill Hacking
Orem, Utah