August 11. Mt. Home ID to Craters of the Moon NM

Craters of the Moon was a delight. The geological features are fascinating, the Rangers were knowledgeable and friendly, and the campground was very nice.


Today for us was a short 3 hour drive from Mt. Home Air Force Base to the Craters of the Moon National Monument. The National Monument is in Southern Idaho at the base of the Pioneer Mountains. The genesis of the monument is the hot spot that is currently under Yellowstone NP. About 11 to 15 million years ago the hot spot was under the current Craters of the Moon. This is one of the few continental hot spots in the world where magma comes within a few miles of the earth’s surface. Most of these hot spots are under the oceans. The hot spot is relatively fixed, but the crust of the earth is moving a couple of inches a year. So 11 million years ago the hot spot was about 200 miles west of the current location in Idaho with all of the resulting volcanic activity that we currently see at Yellowstone.

There has been volcanic activity as recently 2000 years ago due to weak spots in the earths crust. As a result you can see many types of lava on what appears to be a very desolate area, that supports a great deal of life as we learned. At night we attended two Ranger talks, one that focused on the geology and the fauna of the park, and the other on the wildlife resident in the area. They were both fascinating. The Ranger on the second talk managed to even attract a bat which landed on her shoulder during the talk, and a large male mule deal with a very large set of antlers who did a walk buy during her talk.

The only down side was a Roadtrek 190 who pulled into the space between us and a nice German couple. The people inside never exited their vehicle, but turned on a large obnoxious generator and proceeded to run it for 6 consecutive hours 10 feet from Scout. Ton and I retired inside the vehicle rather than eating outside. The German couple did not have that option and ended up packing and moving to another site.

Besides the generator this was a great day.

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