Wednesday, June 10, 2015

On our top 10 campgrounds list: Lava Flow campsite in Craters of the Moon

Our campsite
(Written June 9)
As I write this, I’m sitting in my Tshirt and shorts, sipping a cold glass of white wine, listening to the boys giggle in bed and the crickets singing their night song, and watching the dog sigh and shift contentedly in her crate outside, right beside me so she can keep guard if something sneaks up on us.

We’re camped for our second night in Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho, and this is possibly the coolest campsite we’ve ever stayed at. There’s no wifi or phone service, which just makes it seem that much more surreal and other-worldly.
Our motorhome, seen from the visitor's centre.

There are giant boulders of volcanic rock all around us, right inside our campsite, splattered black icing across the earth’s surface, like Mother Nature puked up tonne after tonne of rock from deep inside, and never bothered to tidy up. From the visitors’ centre, where we watched videos and checked out exhibits about the history of the volcanoes here, you can see the tents and campers peeking out from the rubble, tiny against the giant black landscape.

To my right is a tiny mountain, a hill really, with short green shrubs dotting it, topped by a wall of rock. The boys climbed it by themselves our first afternoon here, the pride virtually bursting out of them when they came running back to camp to tell us about the “ruins” they could see from the top.

The boys climbed to the top of the tall peak in this photo.
In front of me is a slightly taller mountain, a smooth mound, also freckled with short green bushes. The boys, armed with walkie talkies, water, and hiking poles, summited it by themselves last night. Gerry and I sat in our campsite and watched their ascent, then cheered over the walkie talkies when we saw them reach the top, mere specks jutting out from the top, arms raised high.

Our fearless adventurers.
This morning, we did a seven-mile loop on our bikes, stopping to see, hike, and explore various attractions along the way—fissures, cones, tubes, spatters, and our favourite: caves. There was a tiny one, only a few feet deep that I hunched and scrambled into. Then a bigger one, with three wings to explore and vaulted ceilings, some of which had collapsed, letting the sun shine in.

By noon, the sun was beating down, and we were relieved to make it back to the RV, refill our water bottles, and devour lunch. We spent the afternoon lounging around, trying to stay cool, playing board games and reading.

Oh, and we made the boys write in their journals. It is a school day, after all.

Stop before this: Mountain Home, Idaho where we went for a bike ride on their fabulous paved trail system, and stopped in a park to watch the ducks.

Tomorrow: driving as far as Provo, Utah where we’ll stock up on groceries, do some laundry, swim in the pool, and connect a bit more to civilization again before heading to Bryce Canyon.



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