June 5, 2020
We had a slow morning as we cleaned up the van and enjoyed at late breakfast at the campsite. Our goal for the day was to drive to somewhere near Idaho Falls so we could meet Alyssa and family, along with Kayla and Rosie, at Yellowstone Bear World near Rexburg.
Our morning drive was across the broad Sliver Creek Valley. The valley was lush and green with many large ranches and farms throughout the valley. It was quite pretty and looked like a great place to live.
After driving through the valley the road took us over some mountains and into the town of Carey, Idaho. We stopped at the church parking lot and ate lunch. I also had to fix a small electrical problem with the auxiliary switch panel. It kept us from dumping our grey water tank. I couldn’t figure out the problem, so I finally just bypassed the switch and was able to get the tank to dump. However, after I did that, the switch panel started working again. So now it works, but I don’t know what was wrong with it. I think the issue is in the electronics of the switch panel. While at the church we also accessed the internet and uploaded a few blog posts.
After leaving Carey we entered the high desert. The valleys were full of sage brush, volcanic rock and lava flows. After about 30 miles, we entered Craters of the Moon National Monument. Due to Covid-19, the visitor’s center and the lava caves were closed, but we still took a drive around the scenic loop. The campground was open and it looked real nice with the campsites placed between the large mounds of lava and rocks. Fortunately, the sky’s were overcast, so the temperature was not too bad. It looked like it would be miserable during a hot sunny day. I think fall or spring would be the best time to camp there.
We drove around the scenic loop and hiked to the top of the Inferno Cone. From the top you cold see the vast area that is covered by lava flow and cinders. It was very windy on the top. We only saw 3-4 other vehicles on the drive, so it was nice to have some privacy in the park.
We also stopped at the Spattered Cinder Cones. These cones had deep holes that still had snow in them. When you leaned through the fence you could feel the cool air rising from deep in the earth.
After driving through the park we continued on highway 20 towards Arco. This was more high desert and lava. Just as we arrived in Arco, it started raining and for a while it was a hard rain. Arco is known as Idaho’s atomic city and was the first city lighted by atomic energy. Further down the highway is the Idaho National Laboratory. This is where the US government does a lot of their nuclear research. Because of the rain, we ate dinner parked in the church parking lot and then continued down the highway.
We stopped for the night at the “Half Acre of Hell” trailhead. This is another large lava flow that has hiking trails through the formations. We found a spot down the side road and set up camp for the night. It was a little windy through the night, but overall a warm pleasant evening. We are about 20 miles from Idaho Falls, so we will have a short drive tomorrow to meet the kids.