Posts Tagged ‘Craters of the Moon National Monument’

Craters of the Moon, Pioneer Fire, and Redfish Lake, Idaho

September 3, 2016

A couple weeks ago (August 21-24, 2016) our family made a trip to Redfish Lake Lodge in the Sawtooth mountains near Stanley, Idaho. Our group of 7 included David, Megan, and me, son Adam and wife Meredith from New York, and David’s siblings – Paul from Kenosha, WI, Pauline from Arizona. My brother, Eric, a.k.a ‘mountain goat’ met us at the lodge.

Redfish Lake is about a 4-hour drive from Idaho Falls. Traveling west on Highway 20 past Arco you come to Craters of the Moon National Monument. Craters of the Moon is one of the best-preserved flood basalt areas in the continental United States. We had to stop. Five of our group climbed to the top of Inferno Cone. A short but steep trail up the cinder cone leads to an overlook of the entire monument. Five of our group hiked to the top. I snapped a photo of them on their way back down.

Family portrait on Inferno Cinder Cone

Family portrait on Inferno Cinder Cone

Bottom left is Paul, then David, Pauline behind, and Adam and Meredith on top.

Next we walked the 1/2-mile trail to Indian Tunnel.

Megan leads the way

Megan leads the way

Craters of the Moon

Craters of the Moon

We all made it to the tunnel but only Adam and Meredith went through it. I met them at the exit and captured photos as they emerged. First Meredith’s head pops through

Meredith is reborn

Meredith is reborn

Then Adam

Adam emerges

Adam emerges

This Indian tunnel link gives you a photo of the tunnel opening just before you find your way back out.

Adam and Meredith scramble up


and we follow the cairns imbedded in the molten rock surfaces to get us back to the trail.

Heading back

Heading back

An hour later we lunch in Ketchum and then head toward Galena Summit. Beautiful day! We keep an eye on the car in our rear view mirror – it’s Paul driving my blue Avalon with Adam and Meredith

toward Galena Summit

toward Galena Summit

Check out the Galena Summit view! What?

Galena Summit

Galena Summit

The far peaks, by Redfish Lake, are socked in with smoke. Oh well. We had already heard about the Pioneer Fire in the Boise National Forest, northeast of Boise, that had started on July 28 and was working its way toward Stanley. The fire is still burning today (Sept 3, 2016) and will likely keep burning into October. Check out this link to the Pioneer Fire – published two days ago, on Sept. 1. It shows a video of the Pioneer Fire taken from a helicopter four days ago, on August 30. Hot, dry weather this week caused the wildfire to grow much larger. There are more than 1,100 people working to contain the fire, and as of August 31, it was 58 percent contained. It has grown 13 times larger since July 28.

There are multiple fires in Idaho this summer due to a considerably long dry period combined with excessive amounts of old dead timber. This summer has been one of the driest summers on record in Idaho.

Onward to Redfish Lake, those aren’t rain clouds ahead!

smoky ahead!

smoky ahead!

We’ve reached the blanket of smoke now


Pioneer Fire near Stanley and Redfish

Pioneer Fire near Stanley and Redfish

The Sawtooths are coming into view. Mount Heyburn is the jagged peak on the left.



5:30 PM. We’ve pulled into Redfish Lodge – time to check in, in what should be broad daylight. Eerie.

Check out the sun, Megan!

Check out the sun, Megan!

(We made a trip to Redfish August of last year as well, during beautiful weather. I took lots of photos of the Sawtooths and blogged about it exactly a year ago. – click on the link here to see clear photos of Redfish Lake Lodge and the magnificent Sawtooths in late August 2015…)

We check in at our cabin. Then gather for dinner at the Lodge. “Hey Paul, Adam, Meredith – pose for a photo!”

Bloggers are annoying

Bloggers are annoying

That’s better :0 :


Eat, rest, and be merry, all, but mostly, build up strength, because tomorrow we’re doing the 10-mile round trip hike to Hell Roaring Lake. Yeah, I guess we are. My brother Eric met us at Red Fish Lake Lodge for dinner and somehow talked us into it.

Adam, Meredith, Pauline, Eric, Megan at dinner (David, Jody and Paul missing from photo).  Meredith loves to be photographed

Adam, Meredith, Pauline, Eric, Megan at dinner (David, Jody and Paul missing from photo). Meredith loves to be photographed

Sure, Eric. We’ll do it. Does that sound like a potential death march to you?

April Skies, Moonscapes and Albino Rock Stars

May 3, 2014


“Uh, let me guess … you’re still blogging about your April 11-13 weekend get-away.”

Why, yes!! Could I really NOT share my photos of Idaho’s magnificent April skies?


Behold divine inspiration and energy exploding before your eyes.

Sunday, April 13, 2014. We are headed on Highway 20 toward Idaho Falls now after our stop at Shoshone Falls. David is driving, Eric is navigating, and I’m in the back seat mesmerized by the sky.



Good-bye Magic Valley! I snap this photo:


“Uh, let me guess. You’ve maneuvered your way into a cattle feed lot and captured a close-up of a gargantuan pile of manure.”

No, actually! … we’re at the Craters of the Moon National Monument, which lies along highway 20 between Arco and Carey, Idaho, or, if, perchance, you haven’t heard of the tiny towns of Arco and Carey, halfway between Boise and Yellowstone Park.

Craters of the Moon is the spot along Idaho’s Snake River plain where the earth had one of it’s biggest bowel movements from 15,000 to just 2000 years ago. Well, or actually, one early traveler called it “Devil’s vomit.”


The lava field spreads across 618 square miles, southeastward from the Pioneer Mountains. It is part of the Great Rift volcanic zone that extends across almost the entire Snake River Plain. The rugged landscape is still remote and undeveloped with only one paved road across the northern end, where visitors enter the park.

You can hike on paved trails and explore tunnels and caves.



Deeming it best to heed the signs and stay on the trails, we head off on the trail to Indian tunnel.


Not exactly a photographer’s paradise. I snap a photo toward the Big Southern Butte. Ah… how does that Easter verse go?.. (by Thomas Blackburn)


“Awake, thou wintry earth
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers,
Laugh forth your ancient gladness!”

Yeah, well, these plants are trying. What a hardy, willful bunch! If the weather conditions are favorable (moist and cool) for the next several weeks, then there could be an abundance of flowers blooming toward the end of May and early June – prickly pear (cactus), red Indian paintbrush, and the sego lily.

We’re at the entrance to Indian tunnel now. It is actually a lava tube, which, the way I understand it is, the lava cooled on the top while it kept flowing out underneath, leaving a hollow space. “Let’s do it!” exclaims Eric. David decides not to – he is wearing sandals. But he will meet us at the other end.


Eric and I entered the cave down this handy flight of stairs:



and then tried to keep an eye on each other-


Do you see Eric ahead? One of the rules is to never enter a cave or tube alone.

Half way through we greet David peering down at us from on top.


The lighting isn’t exactly conducive to capturing photos, but I do have a flash on my i-Phone. Here, behind Eric, I think we are coming out, but it turns out we are just entering another chamber …


But we have reached the far end now:


“Born again, Ma!”

David is waiting for us.

We follow the cairns back to the cave entrance.


And head back to the car on the neatly paved trail.


To view about every photo imaginable of the Craters of the Moon, check out this site!

So, we’re driving east again on Highway 20 alongside the Big Southern Butte now:


Then the highway curves past the twin Buttes


We’re just outside Idaho Falls now; Taylor Mountain has come into view. I’m sitting in the back seat, looking at Taylor Mountain in the distance – and see this herd of free-range cattle ahead. I snap a photo as we’re sailing by:


Eric pipes up, “That herd of cattle has its very own albino rock star!”


“You know. We humans have our albino rock star; why can’t a herd of cattle have their albino rock star too?”

“You mean ….” well, if you were born before say, 1960, you know exactly who Eric is talking about. But I’ll give all you old fogies a hint, just in case: His initials are E.W. and his brother, J.W. is also an albino musician.

Okay, so here’s a link to E.W.’s Wikipedia page. He states, “In school I had a lot of friends. I wore a lot of white shirts to, like, blend in I guess. No one really gave me a hard time about being albino or taking special education classes. Then again, I wasn’t really popular.” He and his brother were both in Special Ed classes in High School (I guess because people couldn’t deal with their looks?) even though Edgar (has it come back to you yet?) was a musical prodigy.

All right, so here are you-tube links so you can listen to E.W.’s monster 1972 and ’73 hits, ‘Free Ride’ and ‘Frankenstein.’ (Has it come back to you now?)

And on that note, I guess I can officially declare it a ‘wrap’ on the blogs about our April 11-13 weekend-getaway.

Um, unless I’ve forgotten something … is that possible?