Friday, June 19, 2009

June 14 & 15

We left Hagerman and drove to Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve near Arco, Idaho. This is an area where lava welled up from the Great Rift to produce a vast ocean of rock. These eruptions occurred between 15,000 years ago and 2,000 years ago. Formations in the park include lava flows, spatter cones, cinder cones and lava tubes. We got set up just in time to go to a Ranger led hike of Indian Cave. This is a lava tube cave created by underground flowing molten lava. Then we went to Beauty Cave by ourselves. This cave had one entrance and was very dark -- we used flashlights. This cave also had ice on the floor and walls.

The next morning we got up and went to see the rest of the park and hike various trails. The North Crater Flow trail was an interpretive trail that explained a lot of the formations. We hiked Devil’s Orchard trail. Then we hiked to the top of Inferno Cone. From this trail you could see Cinder Cones lined up along the Great Rift. Then we went to see the Spatter Cones and off that trail there was another trail called North Crater Trail. This was a steep, narrow trail along the edge of a huge crater (some of these trails were 94% grade, almost a 45 degree angle). After that we hiked Broke Top Loop which had Buffalo Cave that I went into but not Jim. Then the last hike was to Tree Molds. This was a place where you could view the imprints of lava charred trees. This 2 mile trail we walked very quickly and barely made it back to the Pathfinder before it started to rain. We went back to the Casita and took a nap. We walked about 6 miles altogether.

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