Craters of the Moon

Ylstn 034We are back from our adventure to and through Yellowstone. This was almost two weeks on the road, traveling over 2,370 miles. I have over 300 pictures and it’s a bit surreal that it’s over now and the laundry is done, the trailer cleaned. Our kayaks have stickers approving our passage through waterways in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, as well as Oregon.

The Craters of the Moon was the first site where we would all meet as it is an amazing natural phenomenon and one Ed vividly remembers from his cross country flight in a Cherokee Six airplane, 17 years ago. He knew about the Lava fields from planning the trip with sectionals, but what is marked on a map looks a lot different when in flight and he suddenly noticed this massive stark blackness by the Rocky Mountains.

Ylstn 053
There are pretty walking paths through those towers and craters now. Ed is the yellow T-shirt.

One thing a private pilot is always looking for is landing sites, just in case, and The Rockies are not famous for long level fields or straight wide roads so a flight plan over the lava fields seemed a better choice than navigating a mountain pass.  Well, the lava fields are miles and miles of jagged rock towers and sharp edged and deep craters. To him it was as bad as flying over open water and he was thrilled to reach the high plains.

We drove past these lava fields for our second night on the road to camp at a KAO in Arco, ID. This town is known for being the first community ever lit by nuclear power. That was in 1955 and it also has a “numbers hill” as it’s claim to fame. High school graduates have a tradition of painting their class year on the steep cliff face above the town. Our first night was at a charming RV park in Baker City, OR so Ed could show me the route he took during the Hell’s Canyon Motorcycle Rally many years ago. Yes, we like trips but this was our first vacation adventure with my brother’s family.

I'm taking the picture and two more joined us on the next day.
I’m taking the picture. Two more joined us on the next day as they flew into Jackson Hole from Maryland, and stayed in our trailer.

We all met at Craters of the Moon on Sunday morning and were impressed with the massive desolation sprinkled with rare and delicate wildlife. There’s a stark beauty to wilderness in its natural state and signs are posted on walking paths to be informed about what makes each plant or crevice special.

Richard calling attention to the rainbow of color amid the black.
Richard calling attention to the rainbow of color amid the black.

This trip included Ed and I exploring RV parks to see if we liked taking mobile home on the road. The planning and details of this trip have flavored our attention since last winter. Our visits to animal shelters for a new dog included finding a dog to travel with us. A lot of our routines with Arkkade have been because we knew there was a long trip in our future where she would need to be always on leash and happy in a crate.

This was just the beginning or our multi family adventure and a big “bucket list” trip for my brother and his wife Carla as they live in Ohio. Ed and I had visited the McKenzie pass lava fields on our first trip to Oregon in 1995. (Our youngest girls are talking about recreating a picture from that trip.)

For now I’ll say that this trip exceeded our expectations. The next night we all stayed in West Yellowstone, MT and I would recommend this charming gateway town. Others we know have stayed there as their primary destination instead of finding lodging inside the park.

More tales to come in future posts…

2 thoughts on “Craters of the Moon

  1. Years ago my husband and I had been to the Craters of the Moon. Across the country there is so much natural beauty and interesting sites to see. We visited and camped in places in California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Florida, Scotland, England, France, Wales, British Columbia and Alberta. You will have great times traveling and gathering memories.


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