Craters of the Moon...

We read about Idaho's amazing National Monument and Preserve and made it our next destination.

But first we had to play in the potato fields. Idaho is the top US potato producer (sorry Maine). With the planting season underway, we saw many of the 320,000 acres of America's favorite vegetable.
We even learned some history, with a stop at Goodale's Cutoff, a spur of the Oregon Trail.
Craters of the Moon is a vast ocean of lava flows, with scattered islands of cinder cones and sagebrush. It is officially described as a "weird and scenic landscape" where yesterday's volcanic events are likely to continue tomorrow. We found it absolutely fascinating!
This unique place formed during eight major eruptive periods between 15,000 and 2000 years ago. Lava erupted from the Great Rift, a series of deep cracks that stretch 52 miles to the southeast. During this time the Craters of the Moon lava field grew to cover 618 square miles.
We meandered on various trails learning about this intriguing geology. Lavas, particularly basaltic ones, come in two primary types: pahoehoe and a'a. Both names, like a number of volcanological terms, are of Hawaiian origin. As a matter of fact, besides Idaho, Hawaii is the only US state with this magnitude of lava lands.

In order to get a better view of this vast volcanic landscape, we walked to the top of Inferno Cone. Here we were able to see cinder cones lined up along the Great Rift. Wow!

We then learned about Spatter cones or miniature volcanoes.
This one is called Snow Cone because of its ability to house unmelted snow, long into the summer.
Now I'm going to share a lot of wildflowers. Having missed the last few SUPER blooms in California, we really lucked out on our timing at Craters of the Moon. It truly was erupting with life.

Although much of Craters of the Moon National Monument is covered by young lava flows, it supports a surprising diversity of plant communities. Uniquely adapted plants and a variety of abundant vegetation was found here.

Over 661 different types of plants (taxa) have been identified in the Monument. Vegetation in different successional stages can be found on lava flows, in cinder areas, on kipukas, and in mountain and riparian areas. Many unique plants have developed ways to adapt and to survive the extreme conditions they face here.

Everywhere we were we enjoyed the Cinder gardens  which produced spectacular spring wildflower displays. WOW.

After exploring, discovering and delighting, we called it a night, right in the park's Campground. Quiet surroundings with a sky illuminated by millions and millions of stars!

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Aquí Ahí Allá said...

I would tell you to slow down so you don't get a ticket, but speeding tickets are inexpensive in Idaho (yes, I know this from personal experience) so just keep on keeping on! :)
The sights look gorgeous! Enjoy, I have been by Craters of the Moon, but have just stopped on the side of the road. Love it all! Enjoy!

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