What an interesting drive today. Started out flat plains again; desert scrub with the occasional cattle ranch and irrigated field. Just outside of Cary, ID, there was a sign that said "historical marker ahead" and a sign for Craters of the Moon NP. Almost immediately, a black wall of lava appeared and within minutes, we were in the middle of an enormous caldera/lava plain composed of smooth cinder fields contrasted with thick areas of sharp lava (A'A). Dotting the landscape were cinder cones at least 500 feet high interspersed with big clumps of lava that looked monolithic. (good word, huh?).

To Deb and Ray - we thought we were back in Hawaii except that there were grass, trees and limber pines all growing on the lava fields that were about 11 million years old. Some areas are still denuded though.

It was quite a beautiful, awesome sight - and so unexpected. We had no idea that such a place existed in the Continental US.

You are not allowed to take dogs on hiking trails in the National Parks which is really terrible from our perspective but in this case, Dixie's paws would not have stood up to the sharp sticky stones. Bob and I walked the 1/2 mile nature trail and then hiked up to the top of the Inferno Cinder cone - what an incredible and interesting walk - straight up- and what a view from the top. The winds were howling so fiercely, I really thought we were going to be blown down. It was difficult getting any photos because of the wind buffeting you. The cinders are black, shiny and sticky to the touch. From the top of cone, you could see the road below and the various types of lava flows and cinder discharges stretching for mniles. You could also see where the lava flow was pushed up the side of the mountains and then stopped. The sun was brightly shining, hardly a cloud in the deep blue almost fake-looking sky and it was only 70 degrees.

There was construction on Rt. 20 for about 10 miles including a stretch of one lane only - thought we were back on Top of the World Highway it was that rutted and the surface was gravel/stone/mud.

Then drove to Idaho Falls, ID where we spent the night at the Snake River RV Campground. Nice place about 1/2 mile from the downtown area, the Snake River and the "falls". After dinner, we walked the Riverside Walk which goes around a lake created by the "falls" which are interesting. There is a long, long falls - at least one quarter mile long - created as part of the hydroelectric plant but they built the manmade falls behind, sort of nudged up agains, the original Idaho Falls. Nice way to maintain the historical falls while generating power.

Dominating the Riverside Walk ( a 4 mile loop) was a lovely Morman Temple. In all of the towns we passed through today, the largest structure was the Morman church. Because it was nearing sunset, the church and river area had a pink and gold hue to them.

Idaho Falls is a big, flat town but rather nice.

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