We visited Craters of the Moon again. Our last visit was in 2016. See that post for more information about Craters of the Moon.
This place is just so raw. You don't expect to see a landscape of just lava flows and the few features that Nature has managed to grow there.
This time, we spent a day and camped in the campground, which was closed for rebuilding the last time we were there. We had the time to drive around the Loop Road and see some sights we were not able to see last trip.
In particular, we visited the Cave Area. This area has several lava tubes that you can explore. The lava tubes are mostly natural, that is, there is no lighting or even floors other than what nature provided. We walked down into Indian Tunnel. This is the one lava tube where they provide a staircase for you to use to get down into the tube. But after the staircase, you are on your own to light the way and step carefully over the uneven floor.
There are other lava tubes that are more of an adventure in that you must climb into them across the lava flow entrance and we decided that we had seen one up close and that would do, especially since it was so hot.
Later, we went on a walk with a naturalist at the campground up to the top of a cinder cone and saw some flowers that had managed to find a way to grow and even bloom. These were variants of buckwheat. They were interesting in that when they are fertilized, they change color so that the insects know which ones to pay attention to.
The campground was open this time and we found a nice site with some shade for the trailer, which was valuable to us so that our trailer was at least in shade for some of the afternoon. Many of the sites had no shade so we felt fortunate to find this site.
Retirement is great. We bought a travel trailer and are exploring National Parks. (Actually, we bought one and sold it and bought a second one better suited to us. It happens...) And I have time to do some woodworking projects and things around the house. And now I have gotten interested in ham radio so there goes any free time.