|Mud Calderon, Yellowstone National Park|
As for the post... Here is Part II of our summer road trip. If you missed Part I you can check it out here: http://somehowlostagain.blogspot.com/2011/03/summer-road-trip-2010-part-i.html This is the continuing saga of our trip from Colorado to California that we took last August. Our trip goal was to hit as many National Parks as time would allow. Part One left us at the Western end of Yellowstone National Park. Here are a few more places we went:
*** But first, one quick note. Suwei says my park descriptions are dull to the point of being painful. I have to agree. However,here's the problem. Time. In the interest of time, I robbed most of the descriptions from Wikipedia. Sorry, I'm repeating the process here. I just don't have the time to create anything more interesting. If you don't like them, save yourself a little time and just look at the pictures or skip right to the slide show at the bottom of the post.
Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
Description: One of the best preserved flood basalt areas in the continental U.S. contains three lava fields along the Great Rift of Idaho as well as the world's deepest open rift cracks and other volcanic features.
Tiny Hikers on the Moon Scape, Craters of the Moon National Monument
|Location||Southern Idaho, USA|
|Nearest city||Arco, IDNearest city: Arco|
|Area||714,727 acres (2,892 km2)|
|Established||Monument: May 2, 1924 |
Preserve: August 21, 2002 Established: Monument: May 2, 1924
Preserve: August 21, 2002
|Visitors||183,111 (in 2004)|
|Governing body||National Park Service and BLM|
Suwei and I arrived at Craters of the Moon late at night in the middle of a Thunderstorm. When we awoke in the morning, we were completely surprised by the change in the landscape. Barren barely begins to describe it. We started off with the driving tour, which seems to be quite popular at this park, as it tends to get hot and hell out there very quickly. We however ended up getting side tracked a by a ranger led cave tour, which turned out to be quite interesting. The caves are actually lava tubes that can be accessed though cave-ins in the roof.
Craters of the Moon National Monument
Newberry National Volcanic Monument
Description: Located within Deschutes National Forest, the monument protects the area around the Newberry Volcano and its geologic features. It contains over 50,000 acres (200 km2) of lakes, lava flows, and other geologic features.
|Location:||Deschutes County, Oregon, USA|
|Nearest City:||Bend, OR|
|Area:||55,500 acres (22,500 ha)|
|Governing body:||U.S. Forest Service|
|Designated:||November 5, 1990|
Newberry is one of those newer National Monuments that doesn't feel like a National Monument especially out in the eastern portion of the park. I think it is mostly because the park is run by the US Forest Service instead of the National Park Service. Either way, it definitely felt like there was a fair amount to see in the park.
Suwei and I spent our first afternoon there exploring The Big Obsidian Flow. I don't know if you all got as excited as I did when you found a piece of obsidian as a kid. I always imagined it being an Indian arrowhead or some primitive tool. Well, if you did, then this place is amazing. Imagine 700 acres of obsidian surrounded by an endless sea of trees.
Suwei Hiking Amongst the Obsidian at the Edge of The Big Obsidian Flow.
The next day we set out to explore the Lava River Cave, Oregon's longest known lava tube (at 5211 feet it's just short of a mile long). The Forest Service rents out gas lanterns so you can all the way to the end. Next we drove up to the top of Lava Butte, a 500 ft cinder cone, for a great view of the surrounding area.
The Opening of The Lava River Cave (where there was still enough light to shoot without a tripod)
360 Degree Panorama from atop Lava Butte
My best Chipmunk Impression
Crater Lake National Park
Description: Crater Lake lies in the caldera of Mount Mazama formed 7,700 years ago after an eruption. It is the deepest lake in the United States and is known for its blue color and water clarity. There are two islands in the lake, and, with no inlets or outlets, all water comes through precipitation.
Crater Lake National Park from atop Watchman Peak
|Location||Southwestern Oregon, USA|
|Nearest city||Medford, ORNearest city: Medford|
|Area||183,225 acres (74,149 ha)|
|Established||May 22, 1902 Established: May 22, 1902|
|Visitors||446,516 (in 2009)|
|Governing body||National Park Service|
I absolutely loved, loved, loved this park. This was actually the first time I'd actually visited on the ground. When I was a kid my father, a private pilot, flew my brother and I over the lake in his Piper Tri-Pacer years and years ago and I'd been meaning to return since.
Suwei at the Rim of Crater Lake
|The "Reservations Line" for the Campgrounds|
Suwei and I decided to dedicate two full days to the park. Day 1 was spent exploring the crater's rim and waiting in line for a campsite (2 hours!! and we had reservations!) That evening we watched the sunset from atop Garfield Peak.
Sunset at Garfield Peak
Day 2 we took the boat tour out to Wizard Island. It's a little pricey but being in our mellow tourist mood, we found it well worth it. In 2010 the cost was $28 + $10 for a 3 hour stay over on Wizard Island. That gave us plenty of time to scramble up the trail to the top of the caldera and still squeeze in nap before the boat returned.
Crate Lake Boat Tour to Wizard Island
Our second night we decided to try and catch the sunset on Watchman Peak, however, the weather didn't cooperate and we got fogged out before the sun went down.
Fog Moves in For Sunset at Watchman Peak
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
Description: One of the most diverse ecosystems found in the Cascade Range, it has more than 100 dwelling and root-gathering sites belonging to the Modoc, Klamath, and Shasta tribes.
On the Road to Pilot Rock, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
|Location||Jackson County, Oregon, USA|
|Nearest city||Medford, ORNearest city: Medford|
|Area||85,173 acres (34,468 ha)|
|Established||June 9, 2000 Established: June 9, 2000|
|Governing body||Bureau of Land Management|
So, I thought Newberry didn't feel very National Monument-ish. Well, Cascade-Siskiyou takes it to another level all together. I definitely got the feeling that the forming of this park was more about preservation than visitation. There may be 100's of Indian dwelling and root-gathering sites there, but you wouldn't know it by visiting the un-manned visitor's center. The only information there is about the highway that cuts through the park. There are no maps, hardly any roads, and the only geologic feature to visit is Pilot Rock. Granted the reason for it's existence is it's extreme biodiversity, but even that is barely addressed.
The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Visitor's Center
Oregon Caves National Monument
|Description: The monument is known for its marble caves, as well as for the Pleistocene jaguar and grizzly bear fossils found in the deeper caves. There are four primary buildings: The Oregon Caves Chateau, The Ranger Residence, The Chalet, and the old Dormitory.|
Beginning Our Tour at the Cave Entrance, Oregon Caves National Monument
|Suwei descends into the depths of the Oregon Cave|
|The Oregon Caves Chateau, built in 1934 is a National Historic Building and well worth a peek inside.|
And that there is the end of Part II. Yes, there is a Part III on the way, but it may be some time before I get it posted, as I have not yet finished working on the photos. That and the fact that I want to get some recent Keira pictures posted before folks start sending hate mail. Stay tuned.
Here is the slide show. Lots and lots more photos in there. Check it out.
|Northern Route Road Trip - Part 2|