Craters of the Moon
Every other vehicle we saw on the road was an RV setup. It was nuts. We are out in the middle of nowhere.
Craters of the Moon is a unique place. Did you know that Idaho has a “smile” running through it? Most of Idaho is mountainous, but from Boise down in a smile shape and up to Idaho Falls, it’s much flatter.
The “bald spot” is from a series of volcanic eruptions over billions of years. The one from only 2100 years ago is still volcanic rock formations that resemble our moon’s surface.
We got our Caving Permit and then started the drive around the loop. There are a ton of things to see from the vehicle, several picnic areas, and a few very light/short hikes to cool stuff.
Once to the main attraction, I used my new trekking poles (game changer) and we hiked the path to the open caves. One was just a pit to the below, but the other one is 800′ long with several openings across the top for good light. We didn’t see any bats, but it was beautiful. The other caves in the park are closed because they once again have life in them; what a good reason to miss seeing them!
After the hot and hard hiking, we went for snacks. E got a tiny pizza and I got–can you believe it?–Shiner Bock! I was flummoxed. Since moving away from Texas, it’s a little harder to get, so I treat myself whenever we see it.
Taking it easy! After brunch, we lounged about. With E’s help when I had questions, I designed my next build for the RV: a “dinette” box with feet that will sit in the too-small-to-use cupholders and will hold our flatware caddy as well as a few other things. This will give us a place to corral that stuff we use all the time and should keep us from needing to store the caddy when driving.
Challis Hot Springs
We left at 3pm with the goal of having dinner and then getting to the hot springs by 7pm for a 2-hour soak before closing.
On the way, we stopped at a King Mountain Glider Park (an air strip with a Tardis!). The owner was home, so we were given a very warm welcome and a brief verbal tour. No one was flying today, but it was still a neat place to see.
From there, we drove to the Mt Borah / Borah Peak Trailhead. The trail is an intense hike that takes experienced hikers 6-7 hours, so 10-12 round trip with a knife edge section of the trail called Chicken Out. We saw a couple of cars parked and one pair of women leaving. It looked insane from the trail head and worse from the description and warning signs.
We took the Forest roads to get to the Earthquake Interpretive Site. In 1983, an earthquake rattled a radius of a few hundred miles, did $15million worth of damage, and shifted the ground down by 7.5 feet. A few mountains got taller, and a chunk of land fell down. You can see the ribbon of the shifted ground across the set of affected mountains. From down below or far away, it looks like a road going across the mountains. Up close, however, you can see that it’s the shift. Geologists know it will happen again, but they can’t yet predict when.
Next up was the Grand View Canyon. It’s small, but very pretty.
Next, we passed a tackle store called–I shit you not–The Bent Rod. All along the journey so far, huge irrigation systems were watering giant fields. I couldn’t understand why they would water during the day. We surmised that it must take a full 24 hours to make it all the way across before they needed to start back at the beginning.
Next, we had dinner. It was good food….but….
This was my assessment: That woman’s leather purse has fringe as well as the numbered tag from the cow. The cook’s wearing an NRA hat. One server is wearing a mah freedumz shirt. This is hell. The hot springs better be good. The drive here was very pretty, though.
And then later: It was worth it and so good! We saw another Eagle’s nest and the owner of the hot springs spins her own yarn!
The hot springs was also an RV campground with water and electric hookups. There are two pools: 99º and a whopping 107º, which is too hot for us. There is also a “pond” spring to view from a small lookout and a sign warning people that it’s 117º!! We met another couple who live along our route home and who gave us some great tips for other stuff in the area. Unfortunately, when you are in a hot springs with no phone, you don’t get to exchange numbers.
Our drive home was not boring. They never are; we always make each other laugh with silly stuff. We also had sites to see: We got between a huge rabbit and his predator when the bunny darted across the road in front of us. And we saw two farmers running their enormous tractors at night. So maybe that’s why they water during the day.
We may have booked too many days in Arco, but that worked out just fine. Our plan was to go to Ketchum where we found a big recycling center. E also found a few things along the way for us to see and do. We saw a river, the first fish hatchery in Idaho, a creepy looking trout with a split/broken jaw, three cute towns in the Sun Valley (Belleview, Hailey, and Ketchum), three ski resorts, and a gorgeous little botanical garden that the Dali Lama has visited. We even made two new friends who work at the garden and have plans to hang out with them some this fall when we are back near the area.
In sad news, the Jeep took another rock to the windshield. We heard it hit, but it was right behind the dash cam, so we didn’t see the crack until we were scrubbing yet another layer of bugs off of her.
On our way home, we saw what must have been a thousand or more Canadian geese in a hay field.
Our drive was the worst one yet: lots of construction and really awful roads–thus the need for construction–but we made it to Jerome/Twin Falls with time to hit Walmart (a necessary ew) before we could check in at 3pm.
Jerome / Twin Falls ID
As soon as we got the rig settled, we jumped back into the Jeep and headed for Shoshone Falls. They are smaller than I expected, but oh so pretty. There were also other waterfalls in the area.
Next, we went to see the spot where Evel Knievel failed to jump across the canyon on his X-2 Skycycle.