Another Visit to Craters of the Moon

Tuesday May 30th 2017

This morning was very calm and sunny. It was the type of morning that leads to a beautiful warm day. It was sunny all day with the temperature topping out around 80.

Today was the wrap up day for my stay in Arco ID. I went back up to the Craters of the Moon National Monument to see some of the things that the busy holiday weekend made difficult to get near. Specifically, I got to check out the displays and movie in the visitors center. On Saturday it was four rows deep around every exhibit. Today it was possible to spend as much time as I wanted at each exhibit.

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View from the top of the Inferno Cone. The parking lot can be seen below.

My next stop was the Inferno Cone. The parking lot for this 164 foot high pile of cinders was full on Saturday. Today I was the only one there when I started up the cone. The walk up is along a path that has from an eight percent to 28 percent grade. I needed to pause a couple of times on the way up to catch my breath. This is one of the first times I’ve actually felt the effects of the altitude. It was a little over six thousand feet at the base of the cone. The view from the top of the cone was worth the climb. In one direction you can see the snow capped mountains. In the other directions you can see other cinder cones and buttes rising out of the Snake River Plain.

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View to the Southeast from the top of the Inferno Cone.

I also stopped at a couple of other viewing areas that were full on Saturday. They weren’t that different from the stops I was able to visit. I had considered going into one of the lava caves, but only one was open today. I was warned off at the visitors center when I inquired about a cave entrance permit that the cave would be very busy. That cave area proved to be the only area of the park that was crowded. I don’t feel like I missed anything by not going into a dark hole in the ground. I much prefer caves with colorful limestone or gypsum formations.

After my visit to the Craters of the Moon National Monument I returned to my RV home. I started preparations for tomorrows move to West Yellowstone MT. It is around 180 miles with the last few over the continental divide. My research says I will only encounter 3 percent grades, but I’m still learning about all of these mountain passes.

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