Fly to the Moon by Celia Klassen Time for Tea

OK, that’s not ‘near here’ or ‘cheap’…. how about you drive to Craters of the Moon. It is a national preserve between Arco and Carey. Established as a monument on May 2, 1924, it encompasses three major lava fields and about 400 square miles of sagebrush. I know you don’t care about the sagebrush part, but it contains some of the best examples of open rift cracks in the world, including the deepest known on earth – 800 feet. Discover things like tree molds which are cavities left by lava-incinerated trees, lava tubes (caves) and other volcanic features such as 25 volcanic cones and more.
You don’t have to be into rocks to visit. The whole area just seems foreign and out-of-this-world. In 1969, NASA astronauts trained at Craters of the Moon National Monument and the partnership continues to this day.
Since much of the moon’s surface is covered by volcanic materials, it was very important that they know something about the lava they would encounter. This was the reason that the astronauts visited such places as Hawaii, Iceland, and Craters of the Moon. Visiting these places allowed the astronauts to become educated observers who could describe the surface features they were exploring to geologists back on Earth.
So that’s why you should go. Now what should you do when you get there? There is a 7-mile Loop Road which you can walk to see the view in just 30 minutes. If you have longer, visit Inferno Cone and the Spatter Cones or walk the Devil’s Orchard Trail. A longer hike is to Big Craters which can be done from the Spatter Cones parking lot. Broken Top Loop or Tree Molds Trails would give you hikes taking about half a day.
Hiking up Inferno Cone is a short, but very steep trail I remember climbing on one of my very first trips to Idaho. Although it’s a bit of a scramble the view at the top is amazing.
Free cave permits can be obtained from the visitor center. They allow you to explore Indian Tunnel and other lava tunnels such as Dewdrop Cave. Both of these examples can be reached by following Caves Trail. The reason for the cave permit is to protect the bats. They simply ask whether you have been in any other caves wearing the clothes you are wearing – if the answer is yes you can’t go in. Although there are bats in the caves, you’re unlikely to see them. I am really afraid of bats and managed to go in without being triggered.
This is just one of those unique places to explore in Idaho, another place near us that people come from all over the world to see.

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