The Craters of the Moon National Monument

Just the name makes you want to visit. It kind of proves my point about Americans giving things great names, don't you think?

The Craters of the Moon National Monument is a vast landscape of dried lava flows. Surreal and eerie - I loved it. David, being more of a bucolic countryside person, thought it could have done with a good landscape gardener - level the whole lot off, bring in a couple of thousand truckloads of soil and plant a nice lawn with neat rows of flowers.

Climbing an ash cone - it's a lot further to the top than it looks.

Life on the edge - at the top of the ash cone.

Once again the National Park Service has struck a balance between preserving the landscape and encouraging people to visit. There is a seven mile scenic road winding its way through the monument with lots of places to get out of the car and walk across the lava.  D and I found struggling fields of wildflowers, climbed ancient ash cones and explored a lava tube cave. The cave was especially fun. It wasn't very deep but was about 800 yards (or metres - take your pick they're much the same) long.  Even with our map and $1.50 torch (flashlight) purchased at Walmart we weren't at all sure that we could find our way out without re-tracing our steps.  After half an hour of scrabbling over rocks we finally discovered the tiny exit.

The exit to our cave from the inside.

The exit to our cave from the outside.

It does look a bit like the surface of the moon.

In case anyone is wondering, we still have our bikes. It has been a bit hot lately to do any serious biking although we have done a few short cycles.   Today we cycled along the rim of the Snake River Canyon. Remember Evel Knievel?  In 1974 he tried to jump the 3/4 mile (1.2 km) canyon in a steam powered rocket. He failed but landed with only minor injuries. You can still see the take-off ramp at the jump site.

Snake River Canyon

Shoshone Falls - Snake River Canyon

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For the next post in this series click - here

For all my posts on this road trip click - here

25 June 2013

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