Idaho & Craters of the Moon

Somewhere along the line before we reached Ontario, we’d passed from Pacific into Mountain Time, so when we got going the next morning it was an hour later than we were thinking.  Our phones, our computers, all the technology we so mindlessly rely on seemed to be indicating a different time.  Very disorienting.  It’s odd – what difference does the time make… especially when you’re on a road trip?  But we were actually on a schedule at this point because Georgia had booked a room for us in Idaho Falls where we were headed to visit our brother, David.  Anyway, all this to say ‘we got a late start.’

Within about 10 minutes after leaving Ontario, Oregon we crossed the border into Idaho….

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…..where the speed limit is 80mph.  First time I’ve seen that.

 

 

 

Boise is not far from the Oregon border and though we’d barely got going that morning, I wanted to see a little of it – at least the old downtown section – so that’s where we headed.

3Here are a couple of pics of the capitol building.

4We just strolled around for a while.  I didn’t take many pictures.  Honestly, I think I was still waking up.  But Boise gave the impression of being a city in flux.  A city in the process of updating itself.  Progressive, even.  As cities go, I kinda liked it.

But, wow, outside of Boise, it is nothing short of desolate.

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Desert….

 

 

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…..desert…..

 

 

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….desert…..

 

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….desert.

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But then…..

 

 

 

… gradually, the landscape began to change.  We’d drop down into these pockets of greenery and life.

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Once again, we were within view of the Snake River.  After all that desert, it was a refreshing sight.

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I’d been driving all morning on Highway 84 and it is a busy, fast and wind-gust prone road.  Not my idea of a fun ride.  But it was pretty much unavoidable in getting to Idaho Falls.  Fortunately, after a while there was an option.  I turned off 84 and onto Highway 20 which also just happened to run past Craters of the Moon National Park….which also happened to be why I chose that route.

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We really didn’t know what to expect from a National Park called Craters of the Moon.  Maybe….craters?  But as we drove closer to the entrance of the park we saw miles of dark lava rock….

15….and beautiful blue sky.

1617Upon entering the park, we were frankly blown away.  So beautiful and quiet. 18The geology of the park is fascinating.  I couldn’t possibly describe everything we saw but a brief description I found online states that the park encompasses “….three major lava fields and about 400 square miles (1,000 km2) of sagebrush steppe grasslands to cover a total area of 1,117 square miles (2,893 km2). All three lava fields lie along the Great Rift of Idaho, with some of the best examples of open rift cracks in the world, including the deepest known on Earth at 800 feet (240 m). There are excellent examples of almost every variety of basaltic lava as well as tree molds (cavities left by lava-incinerated trees), lava tubes…. and many other volcanic features.”

I parked Murphy to give her a rest, put on my hiking boots and Georgia and I went for a walk…..

19….and here’s what we saw…..

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This (I think) is called Blue Dragon lava, though I’m sure there’s a more accurate name for it.  I just don’t know it.  But it looked like a jewel.

 

 

27 Here is a large lava field showing both pahoehoe lava and a’ a’ lava.  Pahoehoe lava is also called ‘ropy lava’ because it does resemble ropes.  Years ago my geology teacher told me a’ a’ lava got its name because it’s so jagged and sharp that when you walk on it barefoot, you say, “Ah!  Ah!”  I’ve been doing a little research about it and have read that the word a’a’ in Hawaiian not only means “to blaze or glow” but also “to dare or challenge.”  So, I don’t know – maybe he was teasing us.  All I know is that I surely wouldn’t walk on it barefoot.

28Here’s a closer look.

2930Craters of the Moon National Park is a stunning and peaceful place.  If you’re ever in southeastern Idaho, I highly recommend a visit.

33From there we drove on to Idaho Falls to visit with our brother, David for a couple of days.  It had been an insanely ridiculously long time since all three of us were together.  Way too long.  It was absolutely wonderful spending time with my brother and sister.  And it was hard to go.  I hope to loop back through on my way back.

34Family.  (:

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