Monday, October 19, 2015

Craters of the Moon

Craters of the Moon

I pulled out of Kalispell on Thursday, always tough leaving my good friend Jim Flinchbaugh and family - my spot under the trees was really getting pretty...

As I left Kalispell I headed down Rt 93 towards Salmon, Idaho. This was by far one of the prettiest drives I have ever taken The trip through Bitteroot Valley was astounding with the fall colors. The climb over the pass into Idaho is not for the faint of heart, it is a steep climb with many twists and turns, the speed limit drops to 20 MPH on many corners and they mean it. At the top of the Continental Divide (Lost Trail Pass) you cross into Idaho from Montana and it is pretty much downhill from there down to Gibbonsville, Idaho. I traveled on to Salmon and stayed at a small RV Park about 12 miles South of Salmon. It was called Heald's Haven RV Park and it was wonderful, built quite a few years ago by a couple, the husband is now deceased, it is run by his wife who must be in her 80's. The park is all pull throughs with full hookups on grass and it is spotless. The rest rooms are nice with good hot showers and the view of the Salmon River out your door is amazing. Deer wander through the campground most evenings. Don't miss this drive if you ever get the chance.

After leaving Heald's Haven the trip South down to Arco is just as pretty following the river bottom in many places you travel through rock canyons cut by the river. There is one more pass on the way to Arco - not near as high or twisty, with a nice rest area at the top.

I turned off in Arco and headed for Craters of the Moon National Monument. The campground is nice with pit toilets but no hookups, there are water spigots throughout the campground. You are camping on cinder and the campground is surrounded with volcanic rock, pretty interesting. I set up camp and broke out the Camp Chef and cold smoked a nice steak for dinner, along with some hash brown potatoes and a couple cold PBR's.

The evening sunset was nice but not exceptional - but worth capturing!

Cold smoked a nice steak on the Camp Chef!

Pleasant evening took some night pictures, slept well, temp dropped like a rock after the sun set and it was about 37 in the morning. French Press coffee in the morning, bacon and eggs and hash brown on the Camp Chef and then off to explore the park.

Craters of the Moon!

If you are a geologist or a really boring "rock person", then this is a must see. For a photographer it is pretty much a wasted trip. Nothing but black volcanic rock and unihabitable truly is like being on the moon. There are a few scrub pines trying to survive in the harsh landscape, but that is about it. I spent three hours driving and walking to several of the "highlights", well I was not impressed. I have visited over 25 National Parks and this by far is the most boring. So I went back to camp and decided to document my uneventful escapade into no mands land!

Chased this little guy around the campground!

Grilled sausage for supper and a large baked potato will be the highlight of the day and a couple beers...may try to shoot some stars again and work on capturing the milky way, it was visible for a short time last night but by the time I got the camera set up a few clouds moved in, hopefully that will ot be the case this evening. I did manage another nice shot if the big dipper.

Was planning on three nights but have decided to only stay two and head on down to my friend Steve's in Salt Lake, that is where I will be posting this.

I have a bunch to do in Salt Lake in addition to visiting friends. My role as webmaster for Yes Bay Lodge has been eliminated. It was a nice run for the past 8 years or so and an experience I will never forget. I caught a ton of fish and was able to fish with some great customers, many who have become dear friends. I will miss being a part of the Lodge Team.

My duties regarding the website and marketing will be brought in house and handled by Ryan and Nicky, I suspect they have no idea what they are getting in to and wish them luck. I intend to make the transition as smooth as possible for them.

Thanks for following along on my journeys! More updates as I head South later in the month!

Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

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