Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Beam Me Up Scotty.....

Arco, Idaho. I used to only say this to myself on a particularly bad day at work..but here at the Craters of the Moon National Park it felt like I had landed on the moon, or some distant planet. The landscape is definitely otherworldly. Its all a result of a volcanic eruption some 2000 years ago. The hardened black lava covers the landscape as far as the eye can see, leaving behind a series of caves, unusual formations, lava pipes and cinder cones. I climbed to top of the tallest cinder cone and found to my surprise this one tree growing on top of what is one of the most barren landscapes I’ve ever seen. I thought about how this tree is a symbol of how life preservers in spite of incredible adversity.
The Survivor

Aside from the Craters of the Moon park, I found Idaho to be incredibly bountiful in her lakes, rivers, mountains, forests and ranchland. I’m ashamed to admit that I really didn’t know much about Idaho…and have always thought of it as simply the potato capital of the US. Happily, I’ve had my narrow view corrected, and enjoyed every minute of it. I was able to spend several days camping in the Sawtooth mountains. The area is really an outdoor paradise, with something to offer in every season. Skiing (both down hill and cross-country) is very popular, and the combination of the mountains and wide-open rolling plains creates an ideal environment for skiers. Hunting and fishing are very popular outdoor activities in Idaho as is hiking, horseback riding and white water rafting.

Idaho is also rich in mineral deposits. Like many of the western states, this fact brought a virtual stampede of people during the 1800’s hoping to strike it rich.

Towns sprung up and grew rapidly during the gold rush days. Today, their “ghosts” dot the landscape as a stark reminder of how fortunes can turn…boom to bust. These towns stand in testament to the “Darwinian” era of business…before government bailouts came into fashion (I guess some would say necessity today). As I strolled the dirt roads of the ghost towns of Bonanza and Custer, I couldn’t help but wonder if history might repeat itself, and where the ghost towns of the future might be?

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