Day 410: Craters of the Moon National Monument

Today we reluctantly left our amazing Shabbos camping location at Magic Reservoir and drove North and East to Craters of the Moon National Monument.  The monument preserves a number of lava flows, the youngest of which are about 2,000 years old.  We first visited the spatter cones:

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Looking down into the spatter cone:

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The terrain is other-worldly, and was used for lunar surface training for the Apollo astronauts:

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We hiked up to view a couple larger cinder cones:

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Pumice is highly aerated, so it’s much lighter than you might expect.  Some pumice even floats!

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Looking into another spatter cone:

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Next we drove out to the trailhead for a lava cave:

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We explored a short section.  The kids are off to the left exploring a tight little side passage:

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In the visitor center parking lot, Trish befriended our neighbor:

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The kids completed their Junior Ranger books and received their patches:

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While Trish made a late lunch, I took the kids to another trailhead for a short hike:

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It’s easy to imagine the lava flowing across the land:

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Eventually, wind-borne soils settle into crevasses and plants begin to grow:

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This 3” long praying mantis blended right in:

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After leaving the monument, we drove South and West to overnight at a truck stop in Bliss, Idaho.  See the trip map for driving details.

Update: The kids produced a podcast for today’s adventure:

Day 408: Low Density Housing at Magic Reservoir
Day 411: Hagerman Fossil Beds NM and Minidoka NHS

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