On the way back from Arco and EBR-I, we stopped at the east entrance sign so Don could snap this photo of me. (He likes doing that for me.) we then went back to the trailer for lunch, intending to do some hiking in the early afternoon. That didn't happen until about 3, since the remnants of a huge storm were passing through and it was raining again. [It had rained much of the the night.]
So, we listened to the radio for a bit, snapped a bit, and then went for our last hike around 3. From the campground, there's a short trail up and over a hill and down to a walkway through the North Crater Flow.
This photo is taken from our campsite, showing the chunks of crater wall in the middle of the flow (I'll explain later) and the dark storm clouds still passing through.
I'm fascinated by the shapes of cooled lava. The ropy, smooth lava is called pahoehoe. It's hotter as it flows, and stays in a relatively fluid state until it cools. The crumbly, blocky lava is called aa, and it's that way because it's cooler and crumbles as it moves.
The North Crater Lava Flow came out in several stages, and as it slowly gushed out of the crater, a portion of the crater's rim broke off. It was carried on top of the flow for about a half mile to where it now stands. It's huge--about 50 feet high.
This is that same formation, taken from the top of the hill that you have to climb to get to the trail.
We've really enjoyed our stay here. If we had another day, we'd go visit the caves--but those are for another time.
We decided today to change our plans-again. We had spoken to a fellow camper here who had come down the 93 from Hamilton. We asked him about the Bitterroot River, and he said that it was raging and was eating away at the embankment near the Sula Bridge. We called the Sula campground when we were in Arco, and the manager said the river was "6 inches below the sand bags." That meant that not only was our campsite in danger of being flooded, the river was impossible to fish. We decided instead to go to Henry's Lake, and now have reservations for 6 nights at the Red Rock RV Park just west of the state park. We've hardly spent any money at all so far, except for gas, so this will be a treat. Don will be able to put his float tube in the lake, which he has done before. It's a beautiful place and it'll be good for both of us to have time to ourselves after being together for 24 hours a day the past 5 days.
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