|Today we drove to The Craters of the Moon National Monument. It is at an elevation of 5944'. The winds here today were gusting between 35-50 mph. Needless to say it was very windy. The temperature was around 52, so it was pretty uncomfortable walking outside. We did take a couple of hikes and Lynd got some pictures. The first picture is sort of an over-all view of what this area looks like. The desert summers average daily high is 79, but temperatures often exceed 90 for several days in a row. Periods of extreme drought are common late in summer. Added to this are the persistent winds, which dry the soil and steal water from the very bodies of plants and animals. Arctic winters average daily low temperature is 13F and there are long periods where the temperature never rises above freezing. The snow pack often exceeds 2' by March and snow drifts get to be over 10' high. A killing frost has occurred in every month of the year. Temps can drop more than 30 degrees in a few hours after sunset.
The 2nd picture is a Cinder Garden. Several species of flowers grow directly on the cinder beds. Temps can reach a 150 degrees during the summer and they are buffeted by constant winds, but they are tough and survive and bloom profusely. They include the monkey flower (pink) and dwarf buckwheat (white). It is difficult to tell in the picture, but they are quite visible when driving by or walking on the trails.
After leaving Craters, we drove to Sun Valley. This a beautiful area and noted for winter snow skiing. This is a very up-scale ski resort in the Sawtooth Mountains. We also walked through the Sawtooth Botanical Gardens. It is too early here for most of their flora to be in bloom, but it is a lovely area and such a nice change from the stark landscape of Craters of the Moon.
This evening we are back in the RV and trying to survive these ferocious winds. Hopefully they will lay tonight and not be so fierce tomorrow. We leave for Oregon tomorrow morning and will have a pretty full day of travel.
Each of you take care and have a good evening and good day on Tuesday. Talk again soon.