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.
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:
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.