Craters Of The Moon National Monument, August 2010

Now here was something on the random circuit. A moonscape in Idaho? Volcanic lava fields? How come I thought only of Hawai'i when it came to that? Sure, I knew all about the piles of volcanoes in the Cascade Mountains - sixteen years of living in Seattle made that unavoidable - but THIS? Yeah, this.

And how - what a massive mess of a thing in scope! It even made its stamp on the Oregon Trail back in the day, something to roll the wagons a-ROUND. Formed by large volcanic fissures, it otherwise would've provided no shortage of obstacles. These would come in the varying types of lava, easily observable in forms such as tunnels and tubes, or stacks and jumbles. Or swirls and crumbles. Shoes would be rendered rubble not long on such a surface.

Meanwhile, life made its way present throughout. That was one of the more arresting aspects of this visual feast, actually. How'd bushes and trees grow in... that? And long would a human want to be in such a bleak environment, anyway? With no shade practically available at all, however, I was surprised that the temperatures over my day or so - in August, no less - were reasonable. Not bad for an essentially black, heat-absorbing surface... but most likely thanks to elevation.

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