Sunday, May 24, 2009

Road Trip: Craters of the Moon

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Just a few hours from Bozeman, deep in a weird corner that is southeast Idaho, just down the road from the benign-sounding Idaho National Laboratory, lies Craters of the Moon National Monument. Black lava flows, cinder cones, shied volcanoes and, well..not much else dot the bizarre landscape.
After a generous lube of SPF 30 sunscreen is applied we head out for a short hike to the top of Inferno Cone. The cone itself is a perfect dome of pulverized lava bits; the view of a landscape covered with twisted, contorted, and fractured lava flows looks otherworldly - outside of Hawaii, at least. More than once I think that this would be a crappy place to go barefoot.
Another highlight of this stop - lava tubes. Little subway tunnels of lava frozen in time are fun (sort of) to explore. Sort of, because I think that I learned that I am not a huge fan of tight spaces. Nor am I a huge fan of scratching my noggin’ on a low ceiling of jagged lava. Another challenging component of lava-tube exploration in Idaho - ice. Despite the 70-degree May temps outside, the floors of a few of the tubes are still coated in thin, slide-your-ass-down-the-cave, ice. Fun - AND scary.
Tomorrow...Ketchum, Idaho and Sun Valley. Is there such a thing as something just too fabulous? I don’t know, but I think Ketchum just might be a candidate....

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