Splunking on the moon in Idaho?
Trip Start Jul 04, 2012
40Trip End Jun 04, 2013
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Where I stayed
Craters of the Moon/Arco KOA
What I did
We all very ignorantly assumed that Idaho was flat, with lots of potatoes - well that it does have, along with some very cool volcanic features from volcanic fissures that were active not that long ago. Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve covers some of the 750000 square miles of lava fields, and we got up close and personal with (and down into) the features that were created! Our favorite was the Ranger-led hike through pahoehoe and 'a'a lava and a climb down into a cave (tunnel) created by lava tubes.
As the park is really out by itself, the sky is very dark at night and star gazing is at its finest. Late one evening we enjoyed an astronomy party, looking through some very cool telescopes to view globular & planetary nubulei, Polaris and the Andromeda Galaxy. Made us oh and ah, and feel very insignificant! Thank you to the members of the Idaho Falls Astronomy Society for patiently and enthusiastically explaining the night sky to us nubees!
Our campground was located in Arco, whose claim to fame is the first town in the free world to be powered by electricity created from nuclear power (Nuclear Test Breeder Reactor at the Idaho National Laboratory). The area was first settled to mine out ore, zinc, lead, copper, gold and silver, but once those were no longer viable some of the towns and settlements were deserted, leaving ghost towns. We enjoyed an afternoon exploring the MacKay Mining Tour, creeping about long-abandoned settlements, mines and homesteads
After 5 days of unexpected rest, relaxation and enjoyment of some good old-fashioned Midwestern hospitality at our KOA homebase (Zak was sad to say goodbye to the resident dog Jackie), we headed westward once more. Armed with homemade cookies from our host, we made the very scenic drive to Boise (to yet again have trailer repairs done). Professional service from Dennis Dillon RV had us on our way in short order (but leaving Carolyn not impressed with the trailer - that's another story however!) Idaho was a pleasant surprise with all of its diversity: buttes, arid sagebrush areas, lava fields, mountains, white water rivers and mining ghost towns. A hidden gem in the U.S - we didn't check out all the things it has to offer but we were impressed!