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Craters of the Moon National Monument

Katarina and I spent two full days at Craters of the Moon National Monument in south central Idaho. The park established in the 20’s and recently expanded is setup around 2100 year old volcanic flows (think Hawaii type of lava flows). The landscape is comprised of rolling cinder cone hills, cracked lava fields, and fine volcanic gravel. Some highlights of the park include: Tree Molds, Inferno Cone, and the Caves.

The Caves

The caves are actually the remnants of lava tubes. When the lava was flowing in significant volume the outer shell cooled while the inner channel remained warm and flowing. In some cases a cave remained. We ventured into the more tame cave, Indian Cave, on Monday with Mark’s mom (Sharon) and Dusty. The cave was enormous inside, as you can see below.

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Craters of the Moon Caves

Kat and I returned a second day and ventured into the smaller and technically more challenging caves. The temperatures in these caves was at or below freezing (compared to 90 degrees outside) with the floors covered in ice. They also had no light source meaning it was DARK. To be honest it was a frightening experience navigating inside the caves.

Boy Scout Cave Illimunated with a Bright Light (yes it is still incredibly dark)

Boy Scout Cave Illuminated with a Bright Light (yes it is still incredibly dark)

Inferno Cone

Located immediately off the loop road this cinder cone is unique in that it has no foliage on the slopes. It is a solid black lava stone hill with a trail to the top. The 360 degree panorama view was amazing.

Mark Practicing the Moon Jump on Inferno Cone

Mark Practicing the Moon Jump on Inferno Cone

Tree Molds

Tree Molds are vertical holes left in the lava from an ancient forest that was destroyed by the flow. These trees burned up leaving their mark in the lava. They are located 2 miles up a trail where Kat and I sat a spell and took in the strange scenery of the place.

Tree Molds

Tree Molds

Craters of the Moon National Monument is another example of the unique and amazing right here in US.

The following slide show is a compilation of our other photos from the park.

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