After spending two great, but jam-packed days at Yellowstone National Park, it was time for my buddy Kim and I to head back home to Oregon. From town of West Yellowstone, Montana we had a full day of driving across Idaho to get to Boise, our destination for the night. But I'd planned one more stop as we passed through the state. Although Idaho didn't have any national parks, it did have an area of unique volcanic landscapes that had been designated a National Monument - Craters of the Moon.
|Barren landscape at Craters of the Moon
|Kim poses by a huge lava rock
|Rough lava outcrop
|I was surprised to see so many wildflowers
By now it was midday and the sun beat down. With no shade to speak of and dark lava rocks reflecting the heat, Kim and I didn't linger long.
The second stop on our drive was the Devils Orchard Nature Trail. Only a half mile in distance, Kim and I decided to take a stroll, despite the heat.
|Pretty yellow wildflowers
|Lots of dead trees here!
We certainly saw lots of greenery. And wildflowers! I'm sure the early June timing of our visit had something to do with that.
|Devils Orchard Trail
|Wildflowers growing in the rock
Finishing up our short hike at Devils Garden, Kim and I hopped back into the blissful car air conditioning and continued our drive. The road wound upward around a feature called Paisley Cone to the next stop on the drive, a tall barren hill named Inferno Cone.
|Barren lava plain
Although the quarter mile hiking trail to Inferno Cone's summit was supposed to feature spectacular views, Kim and I took one look at the steep, gravelly user path and decided to skip it. We felt temperatures were much too hot to attempt this shadeless trail.
|Looking towards the Snow Cone from Spatter Cone
|Trail to the Snow Cone
We noticed a third chunky hill beside the Spatter Cones. A sign indicated this was named the "Snow Cone." There was a trail leading to it, so Kim and I followed the path.
|The rocky edges of Snow Cone
|Snow Cone is appropriately named!
But I was glad I'd taken the time to stop at this unique National Monument. Another one to check off the list! Now to head for Boise, and the next day home.
I hope you enjoyed this recap of my late spring trip across the great plains and Pacific NW. Now I'll have to get busy and post all the fall color photos I've been capturing.