This is the seventh post (and final) about our family's 2021 travels to Idaho and Montana. Start by reading with the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth posts about this trip if you haven't already. Because I blog about educational travel, I received admission tickets, discounts, media rates, and similar benefits from some locations. Other attractions are free to everyone, and I paid full price for the rest. This has no bearing on my reviews. Everything that I share is something that I fully recommend.
Family Fun in Idaho and Montana: Craters of the Moon, then West toward Boise (Part 7)
Steve has wanted to visit Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve for a long, long time. Friday, July 30 was the day he finally did. We had a short drive from Arco and arrived at the Visitor Center just after its 9:00 am opening. After a quick orientation, we headed out on the 7-mile Loop Road.
Our plan was to park and hike at each of the seven stops. Steve suggested we skip the easiest stop for now and head directly to the steepest trail while it was still cool outside, so our first hike was Inferno Cone. The path is short but steep. For perspective, check out these two photos. Steve took the picture of Trevor and me about 1/4 of the way up the trail at the same time that I took the photo of Steve (wearing orange).
The trail is deceptive; it looks like the peak is right there, but you reach one fake-summit after another. Trevor scurried it up like a mountain goat. There he is, far above me.
The view at the top was spectacular.
I wasn't expecting there to be so much vegetation at Craters of the Moon, so it was a wonderful surprise to see trees, shrubs, and flowers growing from the volcanic rock.
After hiking down Inferno Cone, we continued on the Loop Road, stopping at each of the remaining six parking lots in order to hike the trails. It was neat. Not only were we surprised by the vegetation, but the diversity of the geological features was surprising, too.
I should point out that we stayed on trails the entire time. The formations are fragile.
It was getting quite warm when we left Craters toward our next destination, my parents' house in Eagle, Idaho. We hadn't seen them since July 2019. COVID canceled their visit to California for Trevor's original confirmation ceremony in March 2020 and the rescheduled March 2021 date, as well as our planned cruise for my parents' 50th anniversary in June 2020 and the rescheduled June 2021 date. We were so excited to finally get to see them.
We stopped for a late lunch at the delightful 93 Bar and Grill in Carey, then made it to my parents' house just before dinnertime. We spent that evening, and then two full days with my parents and my sister's family. It was wonderful.
Of course, we took family photos of the whole group...
Grandpa, Grandma, and the grandkids...
During our visit, we played a lot of board games...
Part of the celebration included Allison trying on my mom's wedding dress (it almost fits and Allison is only 8) and my grandma's wedding dress (way too big).
We ate a lot of really good food when we were there (part of our continuing efforts to only eat what we can't get at home when we travel). Our favorite was Coned Pizza. It's probably a good thing it isn't local to me. I LOVED Coned. Steve thinks we should open a franchise when he retires. Alas, he's only 45, so there's no pizza business in our near future.
Another fun meal was Pie-O-Neer Pies. We'd planned to visit their restaurant during our next trip to Idaho to try their delicious-sounding meat pies, but they closed during COVID. Fortunately, they now sell their pies at grocery stores and other locations. I sent my dad on a quest to find all the flavors so we could try them. They were delicious!
Because my sister's kids are basically nocturnal, we used the mornings while they were still asleep for the three of us to do some touristy things. We LOVED the Idaho State Museum in Boise.
The museum is large and very well-maintained, with all sorts of interesting interactive exhibits. I loved the unique touches. For example, you can sit on (stationary) chair lifts to watch this video about skiing in Idaho.
There was something neat around every turn.
The temporary exhibit about the trailblazing women of Idaho was outstanding. We learned so much. This activity was really neat. Each post represents one of the traits shown by these women (courage, determination, creativity, etc) and visitors were asked to mark their own path. It was cool.
Our other outing took us to the Albertsons Market Street store. Ordinarily, I don't blog about visiting the grocery store, but this store is special.
First and foremost, it is huge. Pictures don't show the magnitude, so you'll have to trust me. This is about 20% of the bakery counter...
... and this is the popcorn counter, where you can buy different flavors of freshly popped corn.
There's an entire food court within the grocery store.
There's a refrigerated room within the store for all the wine. There was some high-end stuff there. The bottles of wine we drink have 2-digit prices, not 4-digit prices.
The international section has speciality items for many different cuisines. I would have SO much fun with this if it were local.
My grocery store doesn't have a sock aisle.
Nor does it have video story time for kids.
I have to go elsewhere for my small appliances.
We spent over an hour walking up and down every aisle. It was incredible - a foodie paradise. The best part was all of my usual products were there, for the same prices. There was just so much more in addition to those. No matter what you're looking for, at any price point, it's probably at Albertson's Market Street.
All too soon, it was time to head home. Fortunately, thanks to Steve's excellent driving and audiobooks for entertainment, the day of travel wasn't too bad. And now that I'm home, I'm eager to start planning our next trip!