We decided to keep to our original plan and take route 242 up to at least the lava flows, if the road was open that far. It had been closed on and off since the fires started on Sunday. Not because the fire was too close to the road, but so that they could evacuate hikers/campers from the danger area and facilitate the movement of the firefighters.
As we started up 242, the smoke made the scenery soft and beautiful. The road is more a paved two lane path through the woods than a real road.
|the "path" gets pretty jiggy as it climbs|
|when you look closely, you see beautiful details|
Suddenly, the road opens up and you find yourself driving through a completely different, otherworldly landscape. The lava is all hard and gray, the smokey sky heightens the effect. The flows come right to the edge of the pavement. Silvery standing dead trees are everywhere, some straight as a pole, others twisted grotesquely.
|a forest of dead trees in the smokey background|
|Little Belknap Crater seen through a hole in the observatory|
|life showing through the cracks|
|close up of berries on the bushes in the picture above|
|242 is closed in winter, the height of this delineator tells the story of how deep the snow gets|
We decided not to finish the drive, we turned around and headed home. We'd had enough, we were on overload. We were so glad the fires didn't move toward this road, so we could have this experience. It was quite a day.