Saturday, September 6, 2014

Craters of the Moon National Monument September 5, 2015

Scratch another one off of my bucket list!  I have wanted to see Craters of the Moon National Park ever since Steve told me about it even before we were married.  It did not disappoint!

The lava in this park came from a series of deep fissures known as The Great Rift which crosses the Snake River Plain.   Beginning 15,000 years ago lava welled up to produce this vast ocean of rock.   The most recent eruption occurred  only 2,000 years ago, and it is believed that future events are likely.  There is so much to see here:  Spatter Cones, Cinder Cones, Lava Tunnels and Caves to name a few.  

We took the 7 mile long loop road through the park, stopping to view the North Crater Flow and hike a trail that led to some monoliths of crater fragments rafted here by lava flows.

At North Crater Flow
Monoliths at North Crater Flow

Going up the Inferno Cone.
Steve and I hiked to the top of Inferno Cone to see cinder cones lined up along the Great Rift.  Cinder Butte, towering above the lava plain to the south, is one of the world's largest basaltic cinder cones.  This was a steep hike, but well worth the effort.    
Cinder Butte

View from the top of Inferno Cone.

Sarah coming down Inferno Cone.

The highlight of the visit to Craters of the Moon was the Cave Area.  We arrived as a ranger was giving an informative talk about the caves and tunnels and surrounding areas.  He then accompanied the group to Indian Tunnel.   The hike to the tunnel was about 1/2 mile and was fairly level and easy.  Then we got to the entrance!  First there was a steep flight of steps going down into the cave area.  That was the easy part!  

Come on down, Bonnie!

Larry, just resting.  

Cave walls.  

Where the ceiling collapsed.

Once we reached the bottom, it was a matter of climbing over rocks and walking on very uneven lava on the floor of the cave and tunnel.  Again, it was worth it to make the effort to get there.  Of course, we still had to get back up to the surface, but we made it!  What a great experience.  All 4 of us were tired when we got back to the RV's but we were all very glad that we had seen this phenomenon. 

After leaving the park, we made it to Wells, NV and are now in the Pacific Daylight Time Zone. 

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