I’m recapping our adventures from The Great Roadtrip of July 2012! Be sure to check out all the recap posts by clicking here!
From Utah, we headed to Idaho!
The Obligatory Sideview Mirror Shot
In talking with our friends in Utah, we discovered that we’d be going right by the First Nuclear Power Plant in the world. It’s decommissioned now (or so they say) 😉 …so we were able to check it out on a self-guided tour. It was really cool!!
A doorway that is just her size, with a MASSIVELY THICK door to go with it. See it to the left?
I have no idea what these are, but they sure were cool. (Click to see more detail.)
My husband could tell you all about the above contraptions, and he was so excited to see these things up-close and personal. If this were his blog, he’d tell you all kinds of things about them, but it’s not. So there. Despite my ignorance, they are intriguing. They were massive, and this photo does not do them justice. Honestly, I thought they’d make the perfect location to hide a magnetic letterbox, but I’m pretty sure the entire place is being surveilled, and that type of shenanigans is frowned upon. Party poopers.
Oddly enough, though, the stop here also led us right by a tiny little town that was home to our very first letterbox find in Idaho! Even better!
Our main destination on this leg of the trip, though, was to check out Craters of the Moon. This is an incredible park in Idaho boasting lava fields and an inactive volcano. Who knew? Honestly, I had no idea this place existed, and now it’s one of the best parks we’ve ever explored! Kudos to Daddy for stumbling upon this find in all his research.
I highly recommend Craters of the Moon!
It reminded me of Hawaii! Granted, it was sadly devoid of beaches, but seeing the pahoehoe and aa again warmed my soul.
This explains the difference between Pahoehoe and Aa. (Click to enlarge.)
This campsite was one of the first come, first serve sites on our agenda. (We reserved spots in other destinations.) We weren’t too worried about finding a spot midweek, and to our utter delight, we found the best spot in the whole area.
Sue loved it.
Claire loved it. (This is one of my favorite photos from the trip!)
The camp chef loved it.
My shadow loved it enough to photo-bomb this shot! (See me in the bottom left-hand corner?)
We set up camp and then explored one of the lava fields at dusk. This was the perfect plan, because 1) it wasn’t too hot, and 2) most all of the people had left for the day. Perfect!
The next day, we spent exploring the grounds. Anything less than two nights at this park would do a disservice to your adventure, so plan accordingly.
We drove the 7-mile loop and hiked different paths along the way. One stop was the chance to climb to the top of a volcano!
It's steep. (No, I have no idea who these other people are. Hello, random volcano visitors! Good luck making it to the top!) Speaking of the top, see the tiny people up there? (Click to enlarge.)
We made it! The view was absolutely incredible.
I was struck again by the fact that I had no idea there were lava fields in the middle of Idaho. All of the memories I have from the lava fields in Hawaii came tumbling back into my mind, and it enhanced my experience here. Seeing Claire experience the lava fields for the first time was amazing, too.
...and we made it back down, too. (You can't even see the top from here!)
After exploring the volcano, we went on some other hiking trails.
Claire likes to lead.
She and I took a break in the shade of a tree. (She's taking a swig from her camelback.)
Daddy and Claire forge ahead.
Our little Junior Ranger in the making is using Daddy's binoculars and scoping out the people wayyyy out on the lava fields. They were tiny specks from this vantage point.
You know we love our Shadow Portraits
Some of the lava here looks like it's scales from a blue dragon, hence the reason it's called Blue Dragon.
The lava creates caves all over the area. Some of them we could explore!
Because of the problems they’re having with the health of their little brown bats, we had to be granted a permit to explore the caves. The photos from the caves were taken with Eva, my phone. We’d used our camera in the lava tubes (caves) in Hawaii, so it wasn’t allowed in these caves, which wasn’t a problem. Oddly enough, none of the other gear we had with us (bags, shoes) were ones we used in Hawaii! Whew…
Above the surface, it was hot, hot, hot. In the cave, it was barely 50 degrees, and in some places, there was ice! Amazing.
Claire's very first lava tube.
Claire's best memory of this part of the trip? She completed her training and became an Official Junior Ranger! (Spying on unsuspecting visitors wasn't even part of the criteria!)
Needless to say, she’s planning on putting this on her résumé.
On this particular roadtrip, we went through Idaho twice. On the way out, we explored the southern part. On the way back, we explored the northern part. We’ll talk about that part of the trip later, because I totally dig chronological order, AND because these different parts of Idaho are so vastly different from each other.
Next stop? Oregon! …and a shower! …the welcomed AND unwelcomed kind.