|We thought this looked like a moonscape until later!|
Then we headed over to the Visitor Center where we checked out the exhibits and watched a short video about the formation of the National Monument.
|Exhibit inside the Visitor Center|
|The start of the path|
|It is cold and super windy|
|North Crater Lava Flow|
|Closeup of some of the lava|
|Rough Jagged Lava called aa (ah ah)|
|Pahookua Lava Flow (pe-hoy-hoy)|
|I wonder how long that little one will last!|
|Lee heading back up the trail|
|Closeup of the Dwarf Buckwheat blooming all over the hillside|
|All those small white flowers are Dwarf Buckwheats.|
|Another flower at the edges of the road|
|Our truck parked across from the hill of small flowers|
After we took a few pictures, we headed for the next stop which was Devil's Orchard. At this stop island-like lave fragments stand in a sea of cinders. We took the .5 mile hike through other weird features of lava. There were a lot of information signs along the path that talked about the human impact on this landmark and also how the park is being protected today.
The first thing we came across was a spot where visitors had broken through a lava flow by walking on it. It left a cave of sorts under the break.
We ran across an iridescent grasshopper so Lee took a picture of him.
Then we saw patches of lichen on various rocks as we walked and signs told us that lichen is the first to come to life and the first to die from air pollution. There were signs of some air pollution that killed some lichen which is amazing since there really isn't any factories around the area.
|Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel|
We went back to the truck again and drove to the Inferno Cone. We parked the truck right in front of a really nice view and right next to the Inferno Cone so we decided it was a good place to have lunch. I packed some egg salad sandwiches and peach yogurt for lunch. We were both starving by the time we ate. We decided not to climb the Inferno Cone as you walked up and down on cinders. It wasn't really a path. We decided to save our energy for the next hike.
|Inferno Cone is the black hill on the right (all cinders)|
|Round Knoll Kepuka|
We then drove on to the Tree Molds Wilderness area but the only thing we did there was to use the rest room stop.
Then we are onto the Spatter Cones and Big Craters Area. The spatters are like miniature volcanoes. We walked up to one of them and looked down into the huge hole that it left. We took a few pictures of the Spatter Cones in the area.
|Hole formed in the lava|
|Inside of the Splatter Cone|
|The first part of the hike was paved but straight up|
|Lee on top of the mountain|
|Inside the Volcano|
|The ground is all cinder|
|Inside the Volcano|
|View from the top of the volcano|
|Closeup of lava|
|Another closeup of lava|
|Okay, this may be a moonscape!|
|Looks like wood|
We jumped back into the truck and headed for the Cave Area where we took a longer trail that led to Dewdrop Cave.
and then we hiked over to Indian Tunnel.
|Warning at the Indian Tunnel|
|Roof of Indian Tunnel|
We were hiking across a lava field and the wind was just ripping across the area. We had our hiking sticks and I was glad because sometimes it was the only thing that kept me on the path because the wind was so strong. We decided not to hike over to Boy Scout and Beauty caves. We kind of feel like if you aren't going to explore the cave, the entrances look pretty much the same. Here you need a permit to explore the caves but since neither Lee or I like confined dark spaces, it just isn't our thing!
|Not sure what kind of bird he is - he is really little|
Once we fought the wind for about 45 minutes, we were ready to call it a day so we headed back to Arco. Again today we were watching storm clouds over the mountains on the way home but we just went through a few drops of rain. There was one area where we could see snow falling on the mountain tops. Glad it was up there and not where we were!
Once we got to Arco, Lee filled up with fuel. Then we saw Pickle's Place which was close to the filling station. Someone told us to stop there and we can't remember who now, but we can thank them because it was really quite good. Lee had a hamburger and onion rings and I had patty melt and potato salad. The potato salad was the best restaurant potato salad that I've ever eaten. Then they had these huge cinnamon rolls in their display case so we ended up taking two of those home for breakfast tomorrow. Oh, I am being bad. Hope the scale doesn't show it. I'm hoping all the hiking helps!!
|Closeup of the Mountain Above Arco|
As we drove through downtown Arco, we saw a building that has a huge sign on it "ARCO, IDAHO - THE FIRST CITY IN THE WORLD TO BE LIT BY ATOMIC POWER" so we had to get a picture of that.
Then it was back to the campground to try to pick from Lee's 208 pictures and my 204 pictures that were taken today. Yikes!