Day 73

Saturday, August 6, 2005Craters of the Moon, ID
Miles: 8147Ahoy, pahoehoe.
We had hoped to get going early, before it got hot, but to do that, we would have had to get up before the sun rose. Sadly, it is hard to see the beauty and the danger of the City of Rocks when the sun isn’t up, so we ended up being a bit warm while we hiked. We first climbed up Bath Rock, the huge formation across the road from our campsite. Someone had installed some handy little metal handles, making it very easy. As you might expect, City of Rocks is a huge attraction for rock climbers, so pretty much everywhere we went, we heard calls of ‘On Belay’.

After a few false hiking starts, we ended up on the Flaming Rock trail, which led us into what the brochure described as ‘the inner city’. There we some very big rocks and a whole lot of grasses. After many failed attempts, we both finally ascended a cool formation with a hole in it. A snack and a little nap in the pretty surroundings later, we ran into a bit of a problem. Ceridwen couldn’t seem to get down. As she had wedged herself up through sheer force of will, there were really no hand holds within her grasp. Her will did not wish to fall onto the granite rocks below, and for a few seconds, she sat wedged in a crack. Luckily, Keath is a wonderful man and an astounding husband. He grabbed Ceridwen by the leg, forced her weight onto his shoulder and walked away from the rock with her. An exciting time. He pushed her up and carried her off several other rock formations, though subsequent events were carried out with more grace and aplomb.

As Ceridwen had scratched herself up on the rocks and most of the other formations seemed to require a harness, we bid adieu to the City of Rocks and set out for the Craters of the Moon. On the way, we picked up a real estate magazine to test our theory about living like kings. We found some small homes that we could buy outright and some very, very nice houses that would sell for almost ten times as much if they were located on the East Coast. We amended our theory: we could live like pharaohs, but hopefully without the incest and the fratricide.

As we drove through mile after mile of sage brush covered land, Ceridwen began to go slowly insane. Rather than let that happen, Keath wisely asked her to read to him.

Narrowly avoiding insanity, we made it to Craters of the Moon and snagged ourselves a campsite overlooking the lava flow. Of course, this meant that we were right in the wind, but since we were sleeping in the van, we didn’t care. Of course, once all our stuff was blowing everywhere, we felt a little differently, but by then we had committed.

We went on a short loop trail and saw some aa and pohoehoe. Ceridwen recalled everything she ever learned about volcanoes from watching 321 Contact and limped along, as her foot hurt due to a big crack in her heel. After this walk, we decided that our afternoon’s activity should be less reliant on foot travel, so we drove along the 7 mile loop road. Despite the ouchie foot, we did walk through the Devil’s Orchard, a lava field with some trees growing in it. So far, we’ve been in the Devil’s Gulch, Kitchen and Orchard. The guy sure does have his stuff spread around.

After the drive and dinner, we went to a talk by the BLM Fire Safety folks about, well, fire safety. They were both new at their jobs and said ‘um’ a lot, but it was fun nonetheless. As the two presenters were talking about the dangers of leaving campfires unattended, we realized that neither of us had dumped water on our cooking coals. Oops. Luckily, nothing caught on fire while we were away. Phew. On the way back to the site, we chatted with a man who had also been at the presentation. We then attempted to wash covertly in the van, as it had been two days since our last real shower. A spray bottle and a wash cloth can make you feel good enough to get some sleep, but really do not replace a shower. Just in case anyone ever asks you, now you know.