A Travellerspoint blog

Sep 14, 15 - Twin Falls Idaho

Base_Jumping, Falls, Scenic Drives, Snake River Canyon

sunny 16 °C

We drove the 450 kilometers from McCall Idaho to Twin Falls in just under 5 hours. Once again up and down hills. We skirted pas Boise, getting ready for a college football game between Boise State and New Mexico. Game time just a few hours away as we passed the stadium and people already in the parking lot. They take their football seriously down here in university towns.

By the way, we wondered was Boise stood for. Turns out it is "wooded" in French, so named by the early voyageurs who came to this area in search of animal pelts and found a heavily forested region, so Idaho uses Boise in the name of their capital city. Boise has a population of about 250,000 and is the state capital.

We did a stretch of driving on I-84 heading east from Boise. The speed limit along here is 80 mph, and we tawdled along at about 65 mph so we got passed by semis, cars, trucks, other people towing trailers and passed no one ourselves. This is one of the reasons we don't like expressways. Our gas mileage plunges if we go any faster. We've been holding 16 miles per gallon by keeping our pace a bit slower.

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So, we got off as quick as we could and took the Thousand Springs Scenic Drive from Bliss to Twin Falls. Beautiful country here, a fertile valley that runs alongside the Snake River. Stop after stop for explanations of the places along the road. TaJ needed a picture taken too:

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At one stop we learned the history of the Basques, who came here to herd sheep. While tending their flocks of up to 2000 sheep, usually with the help of a Border Collie, they lived in this kind of tiny house:

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This statue of a sheep herder and his horse needed me in the picture:

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Farther along the road we came to the Thousand Springs. These ever running springs replenish the Snake River with water coming up from the aquafer through cracks in the volcanic rock which forms the basis of the area.

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The natives used the river for Salmon, catching a winter's supply of fish:

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Twin Falls is another neat little city. Busy, with the main way north over the bridge at the centre of town:

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On decent weather days people base jump from the bridge, and land on a plain at the bottom. The whole flight takes just 22 seconds from jump to landing and then as much as 25 minutes to climb back up to do it all over again. Refolding the parachutes takes 90 minutes. So a lot of work for a very short thrill ride. No one was jumping due to the rain.

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There is some very interesting history here. The area around Twin Falls was a semi-desert before 1903. At that time a diversion plan was made for the Snake River and a series of canals was built to distribute the water over 360,000 acres, converting into highly productive farm land. The system put in place back in the early 1900's still exists today, including a hydro electric dam which produces enough electricity for 9000 homes.

Here is one of the founders of the water distribution system, along with a new friend:

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The canyon is 500 feet deep and you can walk right to the edge:

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Tesla has a recharging station at the Visitor Centre. We asked this guy how long it takes to recharge and how is it paid for. In his case, free recharges were part of his purchase. As for how long it takes, up to 90 minutes if you need a full charge.

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We got up on Friday morning to high winds and cooler temperatures, which means no base jumping again today. We were hoping to see someone jump off that bridge. We headed down to Shoshone Falls Park, the site of the largest waterfall, and also the location of the water diversion project and the hydro dam.

Today, the falls has just 500 cubic feet per second of water flow, about normal for this time of year. We included a picture at full flow for comparison.
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Once again, the Shoshone Falls was discovered by Canadians although the discovery was reclaimed by Americans.

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The cliffs are high and we took turns taking pictures of each other:

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In the top left of this picture, you can see the dirt ramp built for the 1970's failed attempt to jump the canyon Evil Kenevel. It was broadcast nationwide at the time, but was more farce than feature. I remember watching it live when it happened.

The river and the bridge are spectacular sights and well worth the visit.

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Jenny and I will return to this area again, probably in 2019. There is so much to see and do in Idaho that it simply must come back into our travel plans on a future trip.

While we were here we got a mobile RV repair guy to check out the brakes on our R-pod. Turns out that the sewer pipe falling off in Alaska had cut one of the wires to the brakes. Thanks to Ron's Mobile Repair we now have our trailer brakes back.

While here we have been staying at the Oregon Trail RV Park. Owner Mark has been greatly entertaining and full of interesting information about the local community. At $37 a night for a full service park this is good value for the money.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 16:09 Archived in USA Tagged twin_falls shoshone_falls thousand_springs snake_river

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Those are some great photos of the river canyon and bridge.

by Mary Klimek

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