Sunday, September 30, 2012

Walking on the Moon and a Birthday Hike

On Friday we decided a change of scenery was in order and headed for Craters of the Moon National Monument. Craters is a 750,000 acre wonderland of lava flows. These flows started about 15,000 years ago and the last eruption was about 2,100 years ago...since it's averaged an eruption about every 2,000 years, it is now overdue to blow.

The monument boasts a lovely campground (no hookups) among the lava, a visitor center and a seven mile loop road with stops to access several miles of trails. Here are some pics of the day:

Crazy, intricate lava formations adorned by fresh life struggling to survive
in this harsh environment.
Lava tree molds
Hiking through Indian Tunnel, a partially collapsed lava tube
Hans inside Beauty Cave
Saturday was Hans' birthday. We celebrated his 52 years with a hike to Prairie Lake, just North of Ketchum. With 1600 feet of elevation gain in 4.75 miles, it's a gentle ascent to an alpine lake through forest and meadows, along streams dividing soaring mountains.

The drive up highway 75 North of Ketchum was spectacular, with the mountains growing taller and more jagged, the aspens more colorful and we even spotted a few boondocking spots along Hwy 75.

Then we turned onto Prairie Creek Road, a dirt forest service road, for a couple of miles. We were excited to see more private and scenic and easy access boondocking spots. The next time we make it up here we should be ready for dispersed camping.

We saw many deer prints and even moose prints, but did not see any in the flesh.

Fabulous views from Hwy 75, just North of Ketchum
The happy hikers after reaching Prairie Lake
The mountains looming over us as we hiked; we searched hard to see
the mountain goats that live on those crags, with no luck.
The trail opened often into hillside meadows with year round springs tumbling down the hill.
One of many streams we crossed
Fall colors along Hwy 75, North of Ketchum, ID
There are many, many hiking and biking trails around here, and if it weren't getting so late in the season we would probably head North, further into the Sawtooth National Forest. For now though, we've had a little taste and whetted our appetites for the next time we're in the area. Early next week we'll head a bit South...

1 comment:

  1. That really looks like Wyoming! Happy Birthday Hans:) I meant to call you guys but ... well, you know how life can be sometimes! Miss you!