March 9, 2018

craters of the moon

camping & hiking in an otherworldly volcanic landscape

Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve in Southwest, Idaho

What do you do when you have carloads full of kids and you are driving through southwest Idaho somewhere in the vicinity of Twin Falls??  You cruise on over to Craters of the Moon, of course!  

We might have been on our way home from Moab or maybe it was mountain bike racing in Grand Targhee, it's all a blur now, but what I do remember is just how bizarre and interesting we all found our visit to Craters of the Moon.  It's a rocky volcanic barren landscape with an eerie resemblance to outer space.  In fact you can check out all the fun facts about NASA astronauts training here for the moon landing on the National Park Service's webpage.  

The campground is small so time your arrival to snag a good one in the morning.  There were some real gems that would have made multi day camping a blast!  We were just cruising through and didn't have time to take advantage of all the trails available but did manage to hit most of the caves, aka children's paradise.  

Craters of the Moon has also officially been named an International Dark Sky Park which means that photographers can have a heyday here with milky way shots and other fun ideas for capturing the night sky.  All my attempts were epic failures, though!  Don't make the same mistake I did.  If you are new to night exposures or long exposure in general - write down your tips and tricks on paper or download to your electronics before you head to the park.  

We travelled there on a whim and I was completely unprepared for all the cool photo opportunities that were suddenly upon us.  My night sky tips and tricks were safely stored in "the cloud" which quickly becomes completely useless when your cellular service doesn't work.  Maybe dark skies and cell towers are mutually exclusive.  


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