Craters of the Moon

CRATERS OF THE MOON

On our way back to Boise from Idaho Falls, my boyfriend and I contemplated whether we should stop in Sun Valley or hit up Craters of the Moon.  This visit was suppose to be a quick stop, but this National Park was so impressive, we ended up spending four hours there.

Craters of the Moon is a National Park located in Idaho. It is known as Craters of the Moon because the old volcano lava that makes up the park resembles Craters of the Moon. It is also very popular because Hollywood uses the space to film any type of planet or moon scene.

We spent our time hiking through the park. When hiking I felt like I was hiking through a desert. It got really warm and there were not many trees to provide shade. The lava rocks were gray and black so the sun really heat them up.

We also explored two of the caves. I was nervous at first to go caving because we had to get a permit and sign a release form. I didn’t really want to see any bats, but we ended up only exploring the two caves that had natural light streaming through both sides, because the other caves required flashlights and we didn’t have that resource. It felt really refreshing inside the caves because they were significantly cooler. The caves also had that musty dripping water, which is just the way I pictured it.

Even though the park is made from lava rock, there is actually a ton of Wild Life that lives among the rocks. We saw this little guy, not quite sure what you would call him, but boy was he quick.

Wild Life living among Craters of the Moon

Happy hiking through Craters of the Moon.

In the end, I was happy we went caving, and hiked through Craters of the Moon. I guess next time we will grab lunch in Sun Valley.

Wild Life in Yellowstone

BISON

One of the most exciting things about Yellowstone National Park is animal sightings. Trust me, if you go to Yellowstone, you will see you fair share of BISON. The park is almost overpopulated with herds.

When around Bison you must remember that they are Wild animals. Like all wild animals, they can be unpredictable, and charge at anytime. However, the Bison are very much use to the presence of humans, so therefore they are not afraid and they will get very close to you.

When my boyfriend and I arrived to the cabin we were going to spend the night in, I looked out the window and thought I was delusional. But I wasn’t and yes there was a Bison sleeping outside our cabin window.

WOLVES

Unfortunately, I didn’t see any wolves in Yellowstone. This was a very big disappointment for me because Wolves are one of my all time favorite animals. For some reason I have always been fascinated by them, ever since I was a child.¬†It also is very rare to see wolves and the topic of wolves in Yellowstone is very¬†controversial. And here is why…

Naturally Yellowstone had many wolf packs. But because the surrounding states, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho mainly consists of farmers with livestock. Wolves were problematic. In the 1920’s fed up farmers gunned down all of the wolves. Later some migrated to these states but never settled. In 1995, after a long heated debate, that lasted a decade, finally wolves were transfered from Canada and reintroduced back into the park. There were three original packs that consisted of 14 wolves, that were brought to Yellowstone. Later 15 more were released in central Idaho. All of these wolves were named and monitored.

Many interesting things happened. Some left their packs and started new ones. Others migrated North. But having a predator in the park helped because the other animals, such as bison and elk were getting over populated.

Wolves are very interesting animals because they are the only animal that actually hunts for sport. Meaning a wolf will hunt down an animal not necessarily because it is hungry or needs food, but sometimes, like some humans, they hunt for fun, to brag, to practice their technique.

There are two different types of wolves in the park. One type is larger and actually does a lot of hunting, while the other is smaller and actually does little hunting but will steal food like a scavenger.

BEARS

Fifty years ago, the park was overpopulated with Bears. Why? Because people would feed them. There is a story about a mother bear that use to hang out by the camp sites with her cubs because she knew she would easily find food, from the hands of humans. It actually got super dangerous. The park now has tons of rules about bear safety and if you break them you are fined a hefty amount. So bears are very rare. However on our trip we had the opportunity to see two. We were very lucky.

Why is there all this traffic? There must be something ahead… yep it is a black bear!

see that tiny black dot. That is what my iPad captured of the bear.

My boyfriend, however, got a much better shot!

Wait maybe that is a brown bear not black!?

The best time to spot wild life is early morning or in the evening around dinner time. So, the next morning, we woke up early and hit the road. It was quite and peaceful, the only people out were mainly photographers. We spotted the photographers with their tripods and expensive cameras, so we pulled over to see what they were photographing. And yup… it was a bear!

Anyway, it was exciting seeing animals in their natural habitat. I hope when you go to Yellowstone, you will have fabulous luck and see bears and wolves.

Idaho Falls, Idaho

After we stopped by the beautiful Shoshone Falls, we continued on to Idaho Falls, Idaho. Idaho Falls is four hours east of Boise, Idaho. Erik’s Grandma from his dad’s side, the one we had just visited ¬†in Boise, once lived in Idaho Falls for a very short time. She said it was the only place she lived that she hated so much that she counted the days until she was able to leave. For a quick visit, I didn’t think it was bad at all, I actually quite liked it.

IDAHO FALLS VS. BOISE

When you are driving down the highway in Boise, you will notice that everything is tan. When you look from side to side you will see foot hills, although they are tan and dried out, I actually found them quite pretty. It is a desert surrounded by mountains. The temperature got up to the low 90s. Being from DC I am use to humidity. In Boise it is a¬†dry heat so it didn’t feel that hot, it was actually quite comfortable.

In Idaho Falls, the land is much more green and fertile. There are no foot hills, but rather huge mountains in the distance with snow covered tops. It is much colder, but because it is a desert, it was 70 by day and then dropped to 40s at night. Most people that live in the town do not have air conditioning in their homes. They simply don’t need it. How awesome is that? It was nice to open the windows at night and breath in fresh air. However, we ended up closing our window in the middle of the night because the breeze turned into gusts. It gets extremely windy in Idaho Falls. ¬†The average winds are 70-80 mph. Because Idaho Falls has such powerful winds, there are farms that have Windmills to generate clean energy. Sometimes you will see one single Windmill on a property, and this Windmill generates energy for this property.

MORE ABOUT IDAHO FALLS

Finally we arrived to Idaho Falls, to visit Erik’s mom and Nana. The weather was so nice that we ate dinner outside and then later that night played with her guinea pigs.

Playing with pigs.

playing with pigs.

RUNNING IN IDAHO FALLS

Because running in a new place is my all time favorite thing to do, I bring my running shoes every time I travel. And this is another reason why I love my Newton shoes. Newton shoes are the perfect running shoe to travel with. They are extremely light weight and flexible, which makes it easy to fit in any travel bag.

You guessed it! Of corse I found time to run in Idaho Falls. I headed over to the Green Belt.¬†The Idaho Falls “Green Belt” is a paved path that runs along the Snake river for about 14 miles. I actually only ran a 3 mile loop, but it was a good 3 miles. I believe the altitude in Idaho Falls, is around 4900. So again similar to Boise, I was excited to test my body in a higher altitude. I felt like it was a little harder to breath, but that was about it. While I was running on the trail, I saw a variety of different people. There were some runners, but other¬†people were just casually walking. So the trail¬†didn’t have that athletes vibe that I experience here in DC and I also experienced in Boise. ¬†Because the people that make up this small town are either Farmers or Mormons. Mormon is part of the culture here in Idaho, Falls, so¬†I found it was interesting to run passed the Mormon Temple.

The picture above is a view from the Green Belt. In this picture you can see the Mormon Temple and the Snake river.

FOOD FOR FARMERS

In the morning we went out for breakfast. We went to this place that was attached to the local hotel. This was by far one of the best breakfasts I have ever had.  The place is known to have tons of local farmers as regulars. Farmers like a big breakfast, so everything was fresh and home made, and the portions were huge.

DOWNTOWN IDAHO FALLS

We then headed downtown, to browse the local yarn shop. I’m a knitter, so whenever I travel checking out the local yarn shop is a must. The yarn shop was very nice, but the rest of downtown Idaho Falls was just sad. Being from DC, I live in a bubble and have not felt the recession, but walking around downtown Idaho Falls, reality hit. Most of the shops had closed, and it felt like a ghost town.

Yarn Shop in downtown, Idaho Falls

So that sums up my trip to Idaho Falls, Idaho. My next post will be about my adventure hiking through Yellowstone.  So stay tuned.

©2012

The Shoshone Falls

So my adventure to the Wild Wild West did not just start and end in Boise. My boyfriend’s Dad’s side of the family lives in Boise, but his Mom’s side lives in Idaho Falls. So that is where we headed next, but on the way we stopped in Shoshone, to see the Shoshone Falls.

Shoshone is about two hours east of Boise. It is famous for having one of the tallest waterfalls in the USA. This park reminded me of Great Fall, one of the parks that is 20 minutes outside of my home DC. I wish I had been in hiking clothes so that I could have explored a little more, but instead we just stayed close to the Falls and took pictures. It was beautiful.

The Shoshone Falls

The Trails

Rocks and Trails

plants that look like cotton

The Shoshone Falls and Dam

The Shoshone Falls

Rainbow

Shoshone

Erik and me!

Shoshone