To The Moon and Back ... In A Day

Trip Start Jun 19, 2013
Trip End Jul 07, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Idaho
Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Today we hit the road to go visit Craters of the Moon which is a national monument about 3 hours to the west of our cabin. I can remember visiting this place as a kid almost 40 years ago, being left with the impression of how bizarre the area was.

The route took us through the Caribou-Targhee National Forest as we follow the Snake River for about 30 miles. After that, we are back into the rolling hills and flat plains covered with miles and miles of grass. I know Idaho is known for their potatoes but it sure seems that grass/hay is the biggest product. After Idaho Falls, the biggest city in the region, we start crossing plains of sagebrush ... totally different from what we've just been through. We pass through the Idaho National Laboratory which according to the signs have produced more nuclear reactors than anywhere else.

Finally we reach Craters of the Moon which is an enormous lava field with scattered islands of cinder cones. There is a loop trail you follow that lets you out at different viewpoints of lava flow. You can see plenty of cinder cones, splatter cones, and lava tube caves within the park. We climbed up a huge cinder cone called the Inferno Cone to get a bird's eye view of the park. We visited a couple of the splatter cones ... one even had snow in its hole still!!! There are caves you can go down into but we didn't have any flashlights with us plus it had begun to pour down rain. Even though it's a park way out of the way, I highly recommend it.

Had a little excitement on the way back to the cabin. We saw a couple of antelopes with their fawns in the sagebrush plains and then as we passing back through the National Forest, a moose started out across the road.  Couldn't grab the camera quick enough as she hightailed it back into the woods. I thought she was a donkey at first ... then I realize she was a moose. I was so excited. You don't often get to see one. After that, we saw about 7 deer along the road. Overall it was a great day.
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