Sunday, June 7, 2009

Road Trip - Craters of the Moon

It's that time of year again, when we like to load the kids, and a picnic lunch, into the van and hit the open road. We rushed around yesterday morning, trying to make an early start of it, though we didn't actually pull out of the driveway until 9:30. We pointed the van south, and headed for Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

It was a pretty long drive for the little ones, probably our limit for a one day trip. But, it was one filled with plenty of interesting things to see and experience.
  • Salmon, Id - the birthplace of Sacagawea.

  • The Salmon River - known as the "river of no return" to the Corp. of Discovery.

  • Borah Peak - the highest point in Idaho.

  • Challis earthquake fault line - sight of a 7.3 earthquake in 1983.

  • Countless caves - some of which are thought to have been homes to prehistoric man (somebody lived there a long time ago anyway).

  • Arco, Id - the first town in the free world powered by atomic energy.

  • More historical markers than you could stop to read in a week.

Finally, we were rewarded with the Craters of the Moon, which President Calvin Coolidge referred to as, "a weird and scenic landscape peculiar to itself". It's a great place to visit if you want to spark your kids interest in volcanology or geology. We would have happily spent several more hours there than we had to spend.

There's a very informative visitor's center, a lot of walking path's marked with educational signs, and even a campground. It is quite high in the mountains, so it was a bit cold there this time of year - we even found some snow! But the spring flowers have begun blooming, in spite of the unfriendly terrain, and it is a site to behold.

If you click on the pictures of the rocks, you can get a closer view of the cooled lava flows. For the really adventurous, there are lava tubes and caves to explore (not for us with the wee ones along). Plus, the park website provides numerous worksheets and activity ideas for further learning.

Throw in some elk, white tail and mule deer, antelope, a coyote, and herds of cattle on the road (this is open range country), a hail and lightning storm, rock slides, fog on the pass, six kids in a minivan, and you have the all the makings for a fun filled family road trip!

It's great to be a homeschooler!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a trip!!! Too bad we didn't get there. Maybe next time. sounds like a great history lesson.