Limbert was the man who explored what we now know as Craters of the Moon, and wrote the 25-page article that appeared in National Geographic in 1924 that intrigued the nation enough for Calvin Coolidge to proclaim it a national monument later that year. The article is available online and includes many of Lambert’s pictures that are still stunning today.
The National Geographic article documented a trip he and a friend took across the forbidding black desert. Here’s the cavalier way he described it:
“One morning in May W. L. Cole and I, both of Boise, Idaho, left Minidoka, packing on our backs bedding. an aluminum cook outfit, a 5 x 7 camera and tripod, binoculars, and supplies sufficient for two weeks, making a total pack each of 55 pounds.”
And now, to the footnote:
“We also took with us an Airedale terrier for a camp dog. This was a mistake, for after three days' travel his feet were worn raw and bleeding. In some places it was necessary to carry him or sit and wait while he picked his way across.”
The dog of the adventure was not named Scout, or Hercules, or Intrepid. He was named Teddy. He was mentioned once more in the article: “The dog was in terrible shape also: it was pitiful to watch him as he hobbled after us.”
Left at what Limbert wrote for National Geographic you might think he just watched his companion animal suffer. He did much more than that for the Airedale. He cut up clothing to make booties for the dog, then did it again when they wore out.
The three of them—two men and a dog—covered 80 miles in 17 days.
The picture below, which appeared in National Geographic, is “a lava spout in Vermilion Canyon.” Teddy is resting to the right while Limbert and Cole pose for the picture. Limbert was the photographer. He was in most of the pictures he took of the expedition, which were apparently shot using a timer or remote shutter release. Limbert was a tireless promoter of Idaho, and of Robert Limbert, for which we should be glad. The photo comes from the Robert Limbert papers, Boise State University Library, Special Collections and Archives.