I know you have seen fire..

Craters of the Moon National Monument Travel Blog

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The intense sun..

This visit took several months before it finally transpired!!

Dad and I were delivering Tower bases to Idaho Falls last Spring when I first learned of this interesting national monument. I saw the road signs for it all along the Interstate and noticed the rough lava terrain throughout the area. My interests were definitely seized by what little I had seen and read online. Unfortunately the state of Idaho requires my father to need a pilot car escort, me, while running on two lane roads, even when empty. I was then unable to take a full day off to explore the park as I had wished. Instead I would painfully pass by evidence of the park/ lava landscape along Interstate 15, feeling somewhat annoyed with work. Grrrr!

Now we are delivering towers to a little wind farm located South of the Craters of the Moon Park, not to far from Twin Falls! And, due to our permitted route, we pass by the park itself! From the Highway the view was amazing!!  Never had I had such trouble staying on the road.

Indian Tunnel
I was practically jumping out of my seat. 

Imagine this!  The blues of distant mountains juxtaposed against a foreground of rich black lava fields crashing into gentle golden hills. Could you see yourself sitting still for even a lone moment with this magnificent view in front of you?  I doubt it! :P

When we delivered the next morning, I quickly said my goodbyes to my father, with promises to meet him in Idaho Falls, and head immediately back to the Park.

I expected more of a museum from the Information center, but I was still satisfied with the display and learned all about the various types of basalt lava rocks that could be found in the park. My favorite were the tree molds! I saw a few from a scenic pull over prior to my visit and noticed that they had a tree like textures.

They were amazing! Preserved forever in fields of basalt lava rocks! 

Inside the park I visited three of the seven trails. The two I wanted most to visit were closed due to construction of new roads, but found the other footpaths to satisfy my craving for the time being.

The first path was a simple loop around a beautiful and young flow of lava rocks.  Easy for people with physical limitations to navigate and perfect for young children.. The path was a good introduction to the various types of lava that will be found at the park. I quickly walked the path and then immediately set out for a more advance trail.

The second trail was a short but steep hike up Inferno Cone, a volcanic cinder cone made of black basalt fragments, or cinders, that were ejected from a single vent.

Lava Flow
From the top of Inferno Cone was a magnificent view of the park and several other nearby volcanic cones including Paisley Cone and the Spatter Cones. Once up there I went to reach for my sketchbook only to sadly realize that I had stupidly left it in the car at the base of the cone.... I stood there for a few minutes looking down at Simone, my car, with an unhappy expression..  The unhappy expression quickly changed back to one of awe and wonder when a gentle breeze help me readjusted my visual focus from Simone back to the amazing landscape..  Amazing!!!  

-- so Amazing that I made the hike twice!! Yep thats right twice! After seeing the rest of the park I decided that Inferno Cone was where I wanted to be for the Sunset!! It was a good choice! :):) -- 

I was tempted to remain where I was until nightfall, but there were two other trails that I really wanted to check out as well.

Shadow inside the Indian Tunnel
Sadly, as was mentioned earlier, the Devil Orchard trail was closed do to some road construction. Next time! But what was open was the Cave trails!!

The trail looked so simple when you first step onto it.  A paved path through a field of impressive sculptural lava rocks. It looked like a larger version of the first trail in the loop. But it was more!! Beneath the surface were several caves and one large tunnel!

I explored one small cave called "Dew Drop Cave" located with in a circler shaped crater.  Above was kinda warm for a November day but peacefully cool inside a light din of water drops.. It was a simple little cave and it gave me simple joy.

Not too far away was an even more impressive cave or what is referred to as Indian Tunnel.

Shadow on top of the Inferno Cone
Indian Tunnel is a Lava Tube located 60 feet below the surface and about 800 feet long.. A Lava Tube is a hollowed channel where lava once flowed through beneath the surface.. The entire park is filled with them. Many collapsed tubes can be easily seen from above. :) 

This tunnel/ Lava Tube had significant spiritual meaning for the ancient Shoshone Tribe. There isn't much known about what the Shoshone community used the tunnel for in the sense of ceremonial practices. Most of THAT knowledge has been lost over the past few centuries. 

Inside the tunnel was cool, much like the Dew Drop Cave, and well lit from the circler holes in the ceiling. I don't know if the ceiling holes were natural or man made.  They were impressive to look up into.

. I stood under one, trying to imagine myself as everyone who has stood in my exact place looking at their own sky through the same gap..  I wonder if members of the Shoshone tribe also connected themselves with the past inside this tunnel? Or did they connect themselves with the future? Either way it is a special place..

At the end of the day, after the sunset, I ventured out of the park and headed East to Idaho Falls to meet up with my father.. We thought we were heading to Fargo for another tower; but according to rumors work is halting for a couple of weeks due to quality issues of some towers...  

 

Looks like I am heading to Baton Rouge soon! :) 

 

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The intense sun..
The intense sun..
Indian Tunnel
Indian Tunnel
Lava Flow
Lava Flow
Shadow inside the Indian Tunnel
Shadow inside the Indian Tunnel
Shadow on top of the Inferno Cone
Shadow on top of the Inferno Cone
Lava fields
Lava fields
View from the top of Inferno Cone
View from the top of Inferno Cone
Inferno Cone
Inferno Cone
Tree lava rocks
Tree lava rocks
Inferno tree and view
Inferno tree and view
View from Inferno Cone.. Spatter c…
View from Inferno Cone.. Spatter …
Inferno View
Inferno View
Dew drop cave
Dew drop cave
Dew drop cave
Dew drop cave
Lava tubes
Lava tubes
Inside the dew drop cave
Inside the dew drop cave
Inside the dew drop cave
Inside the dew drop cave
dew drop cave from above
dew drop cave from above
dew drop cave
dew drop cave
dew drop cave
dew drop cave
Indian cave
Indian cave
Indian Tunnel
Indian Tunnel
Standing on lava chunks
Standing on lava chunks
THe way out of Indian cave...
THe way out of Indian cave...
Craters of the Moon National Monument Sights & Attractions review
Craters of the Moon
Craters of the Moon is one of the most interesting landscapes in America and well worth a trip!! It is a fantastic place to visit either alone, with f… read entire review
Craters of the Moon National Monument
photo by: Hummingbird