Monday, August 11, 2014


Arco, ID is one of the more unusual places we have visited in all of our travels.  Approximately 20 miles west of the 'town' is the Craters of the Moon NM and Preserve and approximately 20 miles east is the EBR-1 Atomic Museum, a National Historic Landmark.  Each has its own intriguing 'personality', which flows over into Arco - which is the first city in the world to be lit with electricity generated by nuclear power (in 1951)!  This is all made even more interesting by the fact that this area is also one of the more desolate places in the US.

As you can see in the prior post, we did manage to find a very pleasant parking spot for Magic.  As we walked around the campground, we noticed the mountain overlooking Arco - and the camp.  Despite the fact that local knowledge told us all these 'notations' indicated where the snow level was in the noted year - we figured out that each high school graduating class climbed up there and added their year to the mountain.  Earliest we could find was '28!  We came to really like this mountain, as it was the biggest personality around.  The rest of the area was VAST and FLAT!!!!

Can you find your year?

While the designation of the 750,000 acres known as the Craters of the Moon NM and Preserve is fairly recent (1924), the creation of the area is millions of years in the making.  "Hot Spots" evolved across the Snake River Plain, which stretches from the southwestern part of Idaho to the east.  The vast volumes of lava, which make up Craters of the Moon, issued not from one volcano but from a series of deep fissures - known collectively as the Great Rift - that cross the Snake River Plain.  These fissures progressed across this area from the west to the east - with the current Hot Spot in Yellowstone.

Guess where

Lava for miles

and miles

 and miles

with little else 

The NM received its name from Harold Stearns, who described the area as "the surface of the moon as seen through a telescope".  He brought interest to the area which resulted in an article in National Geographic.  Responding to growing public concern about preserving the area, President Coolidge proclaimed Craters of the Moon NM - preserving "a weird and scenic landscape, peculiar to itself."!

Before going to the moon, astronauts trained in the park to understand the craters and lava flows.  However, they found that while lava flows did exist on the moon they confirmed that most lunar craters actually resulted from meteorite impacts.  (This did NOT change the name of the Park.)

Next stop - EBR-1 (Experimental Breeder Reactor) located in the Idaho National Laboratory complex, the vast complex of scientific experiment stations.  On a December day in 1951 this first nuclear reactor was used to create always-available electric power.  Here the first light bulbs were lit by nuclear power!  Thus - the fame of Arco.

 Is that his hair standing on end?  Oh - that's right - no hair!

Quick, run before it blows.
All this Craters of the Moon and Nuclear Reactor power got to us as we watched the Super Moon rise - doesn't it look like it is coming up in a 'vortex'?!?!?!?

Think it must be time to move on before we are abducted -----

E & G are out of here;-)!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment