Road Trip – Day 2- Craters of the Moon

NOTE: As I was writing this I realized that I am back-tracking over yesterday’s post. Oh well. Just like the book that I read on the trip–jumping around from generation to generation.

On Day 2 we awoke at the rest stop to trucks rumbling out and millions (it seemed) of moths folded up in the truck. We shooed out as many as we could and packed up. As we followed the California Trail east we pulled off at the CA Trail Interpretive Center about 10 miles west of Elko. This looks like a brand new facility and is probably worth a stop on another trip, but it was closed at that hour.

At the town of Wells, NV (population about 1300) we turned north towards Twin Falls, ID and there we saw a marker for a CA Trail historical site. It showed a view of the route of the pioneers–dry, desolate, rough terrain, sagebrush. The town wasn’t much. There were many abandoned old brick buildings but there was one in use and it showed a sign for the Wells Society for the Preservation of Western Heritage. Their CA Trail Museum was open. We were shown around by a young woman who grew up in Wells and told us that most of those abandoned brick buildings were in use until 2008 when the town was devastated by a 6.0 magnitude earthquake. DSC_4192 - Version 3DSC_4192 - Version 2DSC_4193

Now we catch up to the photos of lunch and “Welcome to Idaho” in the previous post. Driving past Twin Falls to Shoshone and beyond we were awed by the green landscape. I am used to California’s huge agricultural landscape but there was something different about this. Maybe because of the miles of wheat with huge pivot irrigation systems. DSC_4202Unfortunately I didn’t take many photos and although this photo shows the huge pivot it doesn’t give the feel of the landscape. Deep, deep green over rolling hills to the distant horizon. We read later that this area is fed from aquifers that are a result of the volcanic landscape north of us. And of course there is the Snake River and the dams up the river, including the 15-mile long Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park which was dammed in 1911 for irrigation in Idaho.

But Idaho isn’t all green landscape. We stopped at Craters of the Moon National Monument. DSC_0420There was a short trail to the top of Inferno Cone.DSC_4215Can you tell it was windy? So windy that Dan’s sunglasses blew off and he had to chase them down the slope. We gave up on wearing hats.DSC_4218This is the view from the top of Inferno Cone. The Visitor’s Center is just right of center. Notice the plume of smoke on the horizon at the left. That continued to grow and drift across the whole landscape through the afternoon.DSC_0437 This is on the trail around Broken Top, a cinder cone. Still windy.IMG_9929There are caves to explore. This is the path to three caves.DSC_0446 Getting out of the wind to the quiet of the cave was a relief. This is Indian Tunnel, a cave with areas in which the roof has collapsed.IMG_9936Most of the time it’s too dark in a cave for photos. The beauty of this area is in texture, color, and shape. (Hey, weavers, substitute  structure for shape and we’re describing cloth.)DSC_0451      DSC_4233DSC_4234DSC_4235DSC_4254 Craters was not our primary destination so after seeing what we wanted to see (and being tired of the wind) we got back on the road. The evening was spent driving through more beautiful ag land in Idaho, following the Snake River. DSC_0454At dusk we found an almost empty campground along the Snake River. After a meal of beans and popcorn we went to bed. No moths. No wind. Perfect.

Next installment: Grand Tetons.


4 thoughts on “Road Trip – Day 2- Craters of the Moon

  1. I stayed at the Motel 6 in Wells last summer when driving back from Colorado. It was such a good stop (given the alternatives) that I will stay there again this year – economical, clean, and a big grassy area for dogs. Great pics of Craters of the Moon – I really like that park, but am waiting for beauty of the Tetons!

  2. I love Craters of the Moon National Park! Add a beach and you’d be in Hawaii. Am really enjoying your vacation, looking over your shoulders Robin. : )

  3. Oh thank you Robin for your posts. Great pictures, and so enjoyable hearing about my stomping grounds through visitors’ eyes.

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