On the road again, beautiful Idaho country.
Oh our way to Yellowstone, we stopped at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. It's a sea of lava, and it is very strange to approach. The land has a warm tone for miles, scrubby vegetation and some trees. But in the distance, you see a swath of black. The borders of the lava flow are pretty well-defined.
Type "craters of the moon" into google maps/earth. Zoom out - you can see the pathway of the flows. Zoom in, and you can see the textures frozen in time. A lot of it still looks liquid!
The Shoshone Indians are believed to have witnessed eruptions. There are two different (though similar) legends about exploding mountains and melting hills. A spur of the Oregon Trail came through here, not a pleasant terrain for covered wagons. Check out this page for more history.
These little white plants have extensive root systems, they space themselves out evenly, and look like snow in the distance.
The hotspot that formed Craters of the Moon, is now beneath Yellowstone. It stays in place, but the North American Plate is moving southwest over it.
Onwards to Yellowstone! The grand finale of our serendipitous volcano tour.