Nature: Plants of Craters of the Moon

Syringa, Idaho’s state flower and a shrub one would normally associate with cool forests, can thrive in the unique habitat found deep within lava cracks.

In some places, lava cinders crunch underfoot. In others, jagged aa lava or the ropy, pahoehoe lava cover the land like a blanket and shred boot soles. The brilliant white sun overhead floods the ground with scorching rays which the black lava absorbs and radiates back, cranking the surface temperature up as high as 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

Idaho Trails: One of Idaho’s sweet vertical places

Tina Reis, of Rigby, walks along the base of the Fins, a 50 to 200-foot-tall vertical limestone formation wast of Howe. The walls have become popular with many rock climbers in recent years. Photo by Jessica Humphreys

We got out of my little pickup after a long, steep, bouncy ride and walked down the trail to stand next to some of the tallest, nearly dead vertical limestone walls I have ever seen.

Owyhee Desert road trip offers stunning scenery

This May 30, 2015 photo shows Oregon's Leslie Gulch. Oregon's Leslie Gulch has redrock formations usually associated with the Southwest. (Roger Phillips/Idaho Statesman via AP) LOCAL TELEVISION OUT (KTVB 7); MANDATORY CREDIT

HOMEDALE, Idaho (AP) — The Owyhee Desert is a fascinating place where you go from hum-drum scenery to drop-dead gorgeous in an instant, but with summer heat looming you want to get there soon.

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