Twin Falls, Jumpers

October 1-2, 2022

Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,

Two nights in Twin Falls. Why? Why not. Winnemucca to Boise is too long for one of our drives, so we needed a stop and Twin Falls was about the only choice. And then, to see much of a town, we need at least a whole day, hence two overnights. This is the pace we travel. Slow.

visitors centerOn Friday, we started October with Tesla charging, Starbucks breakfast, and a visit to the Visitors Center to see what needed seeing. We learn that the main attraction of the town is the Snake River canyon, just a few hundred yards from the Tesla chargers, the visitor center, Starbucks, our hotel, and the Perrine Bridge. This proved to be a compact base for tourism.



The Snake River Canyon inspires daredevils. In 1974, Evel Knieval attempted to jump his special rocket motorcycle from his takeoff ramp to a safe landing a mile away. A series of mechanical failures in the jump prevented success, but he escaped with minor injuries.

shirtToday's daredevils are the BASE jumpers who leap from Perrine Bridge. BASE stands for "Building, Antennae, Span, Earth", high places where the intrepid parachutists jump from. Why? See sign.

meIn our morning photo session, we watched a half dozen jumpers pack their gear, walk half-way across the bridge, climb over the railing, and jump. We passed on the opportunity to do it ourselves (cost = $250). Some jumpers had tethers to pull open the parachutes, whereas others depended on simply throwing a drag chute by hand. We learned the trip was either about 20 seconds, if all went well, or three seconds if things went poorly. Everyone we watched made it.

thetherd water landing

West from the Perrine Bridge, the Snake River Canyon provides great views and what looks like a very challenging golf course. We took advantage of the canyon rim trail for a little exercise, but I'll admit I got nervous every time we approached the edge for a photo opportunity. I wonder how the folks living in the big houses set on the canyon wall feel?

golf 1 long view
golf 2 houses

A few miles east of the bridge, is Shoshone Falls where the Snake tumbles over a series of granite walls and channels. Even in the October dry season, it's an impressive sight. More pictures:

sign power plant falls

M lookinglunch

By now, we had worked up an appetite, so we went down river again to "Elevation 486" and had a patio lunch with yet more spectacular canyon views. I wonder if locals get tired of this?

An art gallery was listed in the same building as the restaurant, but The Magic Valley Arts Council offered no more than a score or two of wall art by local artists. OK, but not worth time or pictures!

mapAs the afternoon wore on, we looked for more Twin Falls activity. We drove down to the old downtown area, like in Fresno, located along the rail road that was the basis for the original settlement. The neighborhoods seemed simple, a bit tattered, but comfy enough I guess. I think the town business and prosperity has moved north, into a north-south/east-west grid, again like Fresno development. Western towns like this have plenty of space to sprawl.

As evening approached, we returned to the Perrine Bridge and the BASE jumpers. Some of them had been jumping all day, but still seemed to want to squeeze yet another test of life-threatening luck before the sun went down.

prepping packing walk

Look closely as these three jumpers leave the bridge together,
all with a head-over-heals flip necessitated by the unpacked parachute technique. Scary!
(My photo technique was poor, but you can get the idea.)

ready above chute swing
two one free three

All that was left was time for a few golden-hour shots; always fun.

arch boaters
bridge sunset

All in all, a good day being Twin Falls tourists. Next stop: Boise, for some relative fun. The next story.

John and Marianne