Craters of the Moon National Monument

Saturday May 27th 2017

It was a dry and partly cloudy day in the 60s perfect weather for visiting the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. The only down side was the holiday weekend crowds.

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Part of the crater wall broken loose in the North Crater area.

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Lava formations beside the trail in the north crater.

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Flacking lava with rust colored interior layers.

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Craters of the Moon is a large area of lava that spewed from the a series of fissures known as the great rift. The last eruption is thought to have occurred about 2000 years ago with more possible in the future. It is just one of a series of volcanic feature that stretch from Yellowstone in northwest Wyoming across the Snake River plain of southern Idaho into southeastern Oregon. The Yellowstone end is the most active and the Oregon end is the oldest most dormant.

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One of may dead trees in the Devils Orchard part of the park. The dead trees are apparently the impact of man, but I didn’t understand how.

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Path up to the top of a spatter cone which is like a miniture volcano.

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Crater area of the spatter cone.

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Snow at the bottom of a spatter cone crater.

The park consists of 750,000 acres of land south and east of US routes 20, 26, and 93. A paved loop road navigates the lava around a small portion of the park. Turn outs along the road and dedicated parking areas provide access to paved trails through the lava. The holiday weekend made it difficult to impossible to find parking in some of the smaller parking lots. There are plenty of helpful display signs to describe the lava formations. Unfortunately, there are also many display signs that preach ecology and the catastrophe it would be to damage what you are looking at. It was probably intended to be educational, but I got the impression that the sign author didn’t want you to be able to see what nature has made available.

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Mountains across the broken lava.

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Wild flowers on growing in the lava.

Scattered through out the lava beds are trees, bushes and ground flowers that grow in the dirt that accumulates in the cracks and crevices of the lava. I heard some birds, but the only animal life I saw was a chipmunk.

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Indian Paintbrush

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Closeup from a field of white, purple and lava color.

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