After a few hours of driving, we finally made it to our next destination. The Craters of the Moon National Park made up of dried out lava from erupted volcanoes. Some which erupted as recently as 2000 years ago. There was a campsite inside the park, so, as it was only $10 a night again, we decided to pitch our tent. We were becoming real pro’s at it now, only needing about 15 minutes to set everything up.
It was only about 3pm once we were all sorted, so we decided to go check out the park there and then and get on the road early the next day. All the sites were on a big loop road, meaning we could drive to each area of interest and go for a walk round. The first stop was a big lava field. You could see the shape of the lava where it had flowed through thousands of years ago. Trees and other shrubs had started to go through the cracks.
Next we moved onto Devils Orchard, which was another lava field but this one was a lot greener and some wildlife had managed to find a way to live there. We saw a few little chipmunk type animals running around and a tree called ‘witches broom’. So-called because it’s branches looked like the end of a witch’s broom.
After a peaceful walk round the orchard, it was time to do some climbing. It was an Inferno Cone, which the lava would’ve created and pushed its way up through. It was a steep climb about half a mile long but once we reached the top we got great views across the whole park.
When we returned to ground level, we made our way to some spatter cones. Again the lava would’ve created these and they looked like mini volcanoes that you could straight down into. One even had snow still sat in the bottom of it.
Our last stop were some caves also known as ‘lava tubes’. These were created from the lava flows. The first one we came to was all caved in. We started to climb through the rocks but gave up in the end. We decided to just go to the main cave – The Indian Tunnel. This one you didn’t need a flashlight for (all the others you did!) and you could walk right through it and out the other end, providing you didn’t mind climbing over some rocks and squeezing through a small space! Feeling brave, we decided to go for it. We made our way down into the cave and once in there it was big. But there was a big hole in the ceiling, so it was really bright. We continued on walking through a path that had been trodden, but soon enough we were faced with a big pile of rocks. We scrambled up them and were meant with another part of the cave. We knew we had to walk through to get out the other end, but were struggling to see the exit. We carried on walking regardless and soon enough we saw a small exit on the other side of some rocks. There was a small gap in the rocks that we both squeezed through to get out. Once we were out and back on ground level, we had to follow some posts to get back to the path. Everywhere else we’d been walking that day, there was a concrete path that had been laid, but now we had to walk all over the lava. It was tough to walk on as the surface was very uneven, but we managed to make it back in one piece.
That night it was extremely windy as we slept in our tent. The park is about 5000 feet above sea level, so the weather was a lot more extreme. It wasn’t cold, but at times the wind got so bad, we thought the tent was going to take off!