This afternoon a ride across the desert brought me to Craters of the Moon National Monument, about 85 miles west of Idaho Falls. There was only one rest stop and that's where I had lunch. While there, I talked to a couple of ladies a few minutes. One was from Iowa and was taking an automobile trip to Salmon. The other was from Idaho but spends winters with her daughter in Lockhart, which is near Austin. She said she loves that area.
Craters of the Moon is a fascinating place. I didn't know that lava flows could occur in so many variations! The craters here are definitely of volcanic origin but they issued from long fissures across the Snake River Plain that are known collectively as the "Great Rift." The most recent eruption occurred about 2,000 years ago and geologists believe that future events are likely.
The diversity of plant and animal life was another surprise. There are 'islands' of vegetation (kipukas) surrounded by younger lava flows. Sagebrush and juniper trees were especially plentiful and provide habitat for a number of species. I saw several tiny ground squirrels but they were too quick for me to get their pictures.
After this interesting outing, I headed back the way I came to the little town of Arco to spend the night at Mountain View RV Park. It features a little café and miniature golf. They provide a free breakfast to campers who pay with cash instead of credit card, so naturally I paid cash. For dinner tonight I had barbequed pork ribs and smoked Idaho potatoes and brought home enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow.