Out west of Rexburg, Idaho there is a pair of volcanoes that dominate the skyline. They are called the "Menan Buttes". The north butte is the tallest and most of it sits on BLM land. The south butte is privately owned and a family farms in the crater. The north butte is referred to as "R Mountain" because of a big white R that is painted on it. Here in the west, it used to be traditional to paint a big letter on the side of a mountain to indicate something about the area. The R was either for Rexburg or Ricks College, I was never sure which. I believe it was for Ricks College because students from there are the ones who always painted the R. When I was a kid, every year at Ricks College homecoming, students would hike up to the R, cover it with kerosene soaked burlap bags and light it at nightfall. It would burn for an hour or so and was always a cool thing. Since Ricks College changed to BYU-Idaho the R has fallen into disrepair and is no longer being maintained.
|The north butte, or R Mountain. The R is barely visible now|
When I was in the eighth grade, our geology class climbed the north butte for a field trip. I may have climbed it one other time but I don't remember. I decided to take my sons up the R this summer and I'm glad I did. It was a fun hike and we had a great time doing it. When I climbed it before, I went up the east face trail. That trail has been closed and now there are two remaining trails on the south side and the west side. We chose to climb the west face.
|My sons at the trailhead on the west face of R Mountain|
|Sagebrush and Junipers|
|Lava flows and collapsed lava tubes|
|Random cave near the summit|
|The crater from the west rim|
|Veiw to the west from the rim|
|Rock formations on south rim|
|Strange rock formation|