Friday, August 7, 2015

Craters of the Moon

We were pretty excited to visit another volcano-related area, this time the Craters of the Moon National Monument.  We had seen it on the map - it covers quite a large area in the middle of Idaho.  What could that be, we asked?  Craters?  Related to the moon?  It turns out to be a huge (over 50 miles long) lava field that has been used by astronauts training to go to the moon.

Well, that's pretty cool.  A land of cinders!  With our trailer parked in the middle of it:

We thoroughly enjoyed running through it and seeing different views every time we turned a corner.

Fun trails!

My silly smiling face:

The trail goes right across this flow:

And the stairs up the other side:

Not much growing in this landscape, just some stark trees:

Including one over the trail:

Heading up one of the craters:

View from the top:

Love the colorful craters:

Hey, it's John running uphill!  Go John!

Little keyhole in the side of a spatter cone:

Stark landscape with a spatter cone (and trail leading up so you can look inside):

John's cousin Colin joined us for a couple days, cool!  I spent the day biking around the park roads to the various trails while the guys met me at different places to explore everything.

Serpentine path through the lava:

A bit of pahoehoe up close:

Cinder blocks:

A "witches broom" effect due to some kind of parasite on the trees:

Tiny flowers somehow managing to survive on this stuff:

Colin and John descending from the Inferno Cone:

Me with spatter cones in the background:

Cinder pebbles everywhere (we swept a few out of the trailer each evening):

A bit of yellow in the middle of the black and red:

A tree mold - the outline of a tree that got overrun by lava:

The "big sink" area where there was a lava lake - that would have been cool to see when it happened:

Little blue flowers for a bit more color:

Another set of lava tree molds:

Funny cairn I found on the Wilderness Trail:

The crater at the end of the trail, and actual grass starting to take back over:

Fun in the caves with Colin!  We found an "adventure route" that involved a bit of crawling, that was memorable, and Colin was a good sport:

More ridiculous volcanic landscape:

Not a normal bike ride:

Thank you to John for capturing a shot of the full moon at Craters of the Moon!  He even set up his little scope so we could see actual "craters of the moon" that night.  Too funny.

Awesome place!

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