Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho:  5 July 2006

    Cinder cones, lava fields, and raw lava tube caves make up the only National Monument in Idaho.  The sun was shy this day,

but, somehow, when volcanic aftermath was concerned, it seemed more appropriate that way.  [29 photos]

Welcome to CMNM

A flashback to US-95, heading south from my nighttime accomodations in Cambridge, ID

One of the wide lava fields that lead into Craters of the Moon

Most of these dark lava chunks are bigger than my Jeep's engine

The black earth of a long dry lava field

The Cinder Cone

Jagged shapes in the Devils Orchard

More jagged clumps in the Devils Garden

A hulk of Lava in DG

Lava spreads out around a small pack of tourists

Lava Beasts

The cinder hill, from the back side

This tree was not killed by a pyrocalstic burst, but by fungus

Read it and learn

Close-up of lava rocks

A Limber Pine, one of the only trees that flourish in the lava soil

A wall of lava

Infernal Cone. A much longer climb than it looks. The dark cinders mitigate the perspective.

The view from the summit of Infernal Cone. Here is where bright sunlight would have come in handy.

Spatter Cones, viewed from the top of Infernal Cone.

A hole in the lava

A lava plain

The path to the Caves

Boy Scout Cave was filled with ice

The exit from Boy Scout Cave, where I did a little spelunking. Nothing easy or smooth in this one. It was dark and bang-your-shins rugged.

The entrance to Beauty Cave -- really just a collapse point giving access to the hollow ground beneath

The way out, without a flash

Ironically, the way out looks darker with a flash

A similar collapse point, where the lava crust just gave way under its own weight