We must have picked the very best week of the year to visit Craters of the Moon National Monument. The reason:
These tiny monkeyflower blooms carpeted large areas.
Things learned: this area was created by the same "hot spot" which is now under Yellowstone National Park. Even earlier it was under eastern Oregon and evidence can still be seen. Read this OSU report if you are interested in more and better information than is found on the National Park site.
The North Crater
The older Grassy Cone.
The North Crater produced Pahoehoe lava; ropy in texture because it cooled quickly.
Spider web in lava.
The Devil's Orchard
The yellow flowers are even tinier than the monkeyflowers.
This little guy scolded us for several minutes for disturbing his peace.
The Cinder Garden
There are signs everywhere about staying on the paths and explaining how fragile the environment is. Several areas of the Devil's Garden have been damaged by people walking on the fragile lava. When you break pahoehoe lava, the inside is red making it easy to see.
Some people don't think that the rules apply to them.
I am going to start recording these miscreants and when available their license plates. If I had seen a ranger I would have turned them in.
There is still snow deep in the crater.
More flowers in the cinders, just because.
Many thanks to Facebook friend Ariel Sandifer, who suggested the visit.