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Guess where we went?

July 26, 2012




To the only place in the universe where you can earn a Lunar Ranger Badge:

Craters of the Moon National Monument!

We took a quick trip up to Idaho last week to visit my grandparents and my uncle suggested that we drive out to Craters of the Moon, since none of us, including my mother, had ever been there before.

The middle of hot summer is probably not the best time to visit fields of lava, but we got an early start and there was a nice breeze blowing that saved us.  It was really interesting to see all the different features in what did look like a lunar landscape in places.  We hiked several trails across the North Crater flow and Devil’s Garden, looked into the craters of the spatter cones (a couple of mini volcanoes), and finally hiked across the lava flows and into Indian Tunnel, the largest of the lava tube caves.  As always the boys did the Jr. Ranger program, which in this case earned them each a Lunar Ranger badge, and helped them be on the lookout for more than just “lots of black rock.”

Some of the crater fragments in the north lava flow area:

We saw lots of oddly shaped trees like this one (a limber pine, I think) in Devil’s Garden:

Taking advantage of any shade they could find.

In front of a spatter cone:

With our tour guide, Uncle B:


If there’s anything to climb, this kid will find it:

He was very happy to get out of the car and hike a little bit.



Starting off for Indian Tunnel:

I’m not terribly fond of caves and small spaces in general, but Indian Tunnel is really quite huge with lots of natural light where lava has caved in from above, so I did ok.  The boys loved climbing through it.  This picture is probably my best effort at showing the size and scope of the cave.  We felt very small!

After insisting on being carried down the initial steep metal staircase, E was quite adventurous himself through the rest of the cave.

The boys made it to the end of the cave, but we opted to go back the way we came in because it was so nice and cool underground.


Back at the visitor’s center, being sworn in as the newest Jr. Rangers, which included a promise to bring cookies to the Park Rangers on our next visit.
They each got to try out the Ranger hat (which was real) and the astronaut hat (which wasn’t.)
Stay tuned for the rest of our adventures . . .
2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2012 8:42 am

    This looks like a ton of fun—I’ve never been though I lived in Idaho at one point. I’ll have to add it to my list of things to do!

  2. July 26, 2012 2:22 pm

    How fun! We took a day trip to Craters of the Moon in June. The girls loved the tunnels and they also earned their lunar badges. Now they pretend their astronauts and have been to the moon. We took a short detour on the way and visited a defunct nuclear reactor. I highly recommend the tour if you get the chance to go again.

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