Waterfalls and Jumping off a Bridge

Life has been anything but boring lately.  This summer, I find myself living in a small town with a population of less than 1,000.  Now keep in mind, I’ve been to plenty of small towns including the one my husband grew up in located in northern Illinois, but I’ve never spent this much time living in the hinterland. craters of the moon

I’m not complaining, but I grew up in the Chicago suburbs with excellent shopping mere minutes away and even our RV travels keep us somewhat near a major city (whether parked or driving by).  So now here I am in Arco, Idaho, with the nearest Walmart, Target, Kroger, Home Depot, etc. over an hours drive away which requires me to do a little better planning than I’m accustomed to.  I’m notorious for going to the store and coming home with everything but the one thing I went there for.  When we’re in Phoenix, Denver, Corpus Christi or any of our other favorite places, running back to the store is no big deal.  It’s a big deal around here, especially when my drive to the store looks like this…

My drive to Walmart

My drive to go shopping!

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

Just a little further!

Just a little further!

The little town of Arco does offer a mom and pop grocery store and in a pinch I’m grateful they usually have what I’m looking for.  I do most of my major shopping about every seven to tens days.   Since I have a six cubic foot refrigerator, stocking up has a whole new meaning when compared to having the luxury of a residential size refrigerator.  Some planning and adeptness with puzzles goes a long way when it comes to living in small spaces.

After ‘stocking up’, Al doesn’t even attempt to open the frig door for fear of one of those puzzle pieces falling out which usually leads to a domino effect with half the frig items on the floor.   “Watch those toes!”   Nope, no dull moments around here.

Since I’d already shopped a couple of times in the big city of Idaho Falls (population 60,000), I thought I’d head in another direction – Twin Falls (population 46,000).  Not only did I have my long list of shopping items with me, I had directions to two sites I just HAD TO SEE.

BASE jumpers - Perrine Bridge

BASE jumpers – Perrine Bridge

To get to Twin Falls, I had to drive over the Perrine Bridge – one of those must see sites on my list.  And oh, what a sight!  Yes, the bridge itself is a work of art, but the draw is the jumpers – BASE jumpers to be precise.

No, that is not me saying, "WEEEE!"

No, that is not me saying, “WEEEE!”

This landmark bridge spans the Snake River Canyon just north of the town of Twin Falls, Idaho.  It’s a four-lane truss arch span about 1,500 feet in length (457m) and sits 486 feet above the river (148m).  Folks from around the world (about 5,000 crazy people a year) visit the Perrine Bridge to literally jump off the bridge.  It’s legal, hassle free, and no permit required.

Two at a time!

Two at a time!

Everyone has their own style of jumping

Everyone has their own style of jumping

BASE jumping is similar to sky diving but instead of jumping out of a plane, a thrill seeker will jump off a fixed object like a bridge and deploy a parachute.  BASE is an acronym for buildings, antennas, spans, and Earth –  BASE jumpers practice their sport from any of these elevated places.

Note the jumper - black/green chute over the river.

Note the jumper – black/green chute over the river.

As I stood there watching, I wondered how does one go about practicing this sport?  It’s not as if you can jump right in (or rather off), go splat, and request a do over.  Yes, people do die doing this and I noticed at the landing point along the shore of the river that there does appear to be a memorial, although I didn’t confirm.

Looks like a memorial near the landing site

Looks like a memorial near the landing site

There’s a beautiful, new visitor center near the southwest end of the bridge with plenty of parking for any size vehicle.  The views of the bridge and canyon are spectacular and there’s easy access to the trail along the canyon rim.  The trail goes under the bridge and there’s a pedestrian walk-way on both sides of the bridge to take in the amazing scenery.  The visitor center is a year-round launching point for those interested in parachuting to the canyon floor.  So are you ready to jump off a bridge?  Schedule a jump with Tandem Base – I’ll watch 😆

WildflowersSince I had a long list of shopping to do, I parked by the Best Buy on the southeast side of the bridge instead of the visitor center and stopped to watch the jumpers in between my stops into TJ Maxx, Best Buy, and Sportsman’s Warehouse.

Soon I was off to my other “must see” site.

The weather was so, so with storms rolling in and out and I began to wonder if it would be worth the stop.  I rolled down my window in the pouring rain for the attendant to collect the $3.00 entrance fee.  I’m pretty sure it should’ve been free when I showed him my National Parks Pass, but he said no, it was only the senior park pass for free admittance.  With both of us getting drenched it wasn’t worth questioning any further and I handed over the three bucks and drove on.  The moment I had the truck parked, the storm clouds moved on and the falls presented its visitors with a beautiful rainbow.

Shoshone Falls

Shoshone Falls

Shoshone Falls is quite often referred to as the Niagara of the West, and tumbles 212 feet to the canyon floor – 50 feet further than the famous Niagara.  Spring is the best time to visit Shoshone Falls.  Later in the year, cliffs may be nearly dry, as most of the river’s flow is diverted to produce hydroelectric power and irrigate Idaho’s fertile farmlands.  Here’s a link to a live webcam to see just how much water is flowing at any given time.Shoshone Falls

Shoshone FallsThere’s plenty of hiking opportunities along the canyon rim including a hike to the famous Evel Knievel jump site.  Because of the weather, I personally didn’t see the Knievel jump site or hike any of the trails.  I understand the jump site is basically a dirt ramp remnant from Knievel’s failed attempt to jump over the Snake River.  I was a little disappointed the weather was so inclement.  Once the raindrops started falling again, accompanied by thunder, I knew that was my cue to  move on and run those errands.Shoshone FallsThis is when my day got real interesting.  Remember that long shopping list?  Well, I still needed to go to Walmart and Costco.  I had a general idea where they were located but for some reason I turned left when I should’ve turned right.  It was late afternoon on a Saturday.  The rain was pouring and traffic was congested.  I drove through the historic downtown area and immediately realized my faux pas.   “Hmm, where to turn, where to turn?”  There seemed to be a lot of traffic heading north on a particular road. Thus, I followed thinking it had to be a main road that would put me back in the right direction and help lead to the general area I was looking for.

MarmotOops, I was almost at the plant gate showing up for second shift.  I quickly did a U-turn and then another turn.  I knew I needed to go in a northeast direction but with the heavy rain and dark skies, I couldn’t find the sun to verify my direction.

I usually have a great sense of direction, and  I did feel I was traveling north, but the signs and poor visibility had me second guessing myself.  I kept thinking to myself…. I’ve successfully navigated cities two to three times larger than Twin Falls.  It can’t be that difficult to figure out where to go.

I soon found myself out in the country with the cows and critters and no place to stop and ask for directions (not that I’m quick to ask for directions – we definitely suffer from role reversal in this household).  I rarely admit to being lost.  I get turned around all the time, but not lost. In this instance I was truly uncomfortable and not sure where I was.  Yes, I was lost!  I pulled off on the side of the road to ask Siri for help only for her to respond with a “I’m sorry, I can’t connect.  Try again later”….  are you kidding me, no cell service!  And Hildi, our annoying GPS, was back at the RV getting updated.

Shoshone FallsI pulled out the Atlas, which wasn’t much help either.  It only confirmed I needed to go northeast.   I sure could’ve used an Idaho Benchmark Atlas which offers a lot more detail. (We have Benchmark’s for AZ and CO)

Finally, I turned around, retraced some steps, and pointed the truck east thinking I’d hit town eventually, which I did.  I finally made it to Walmart although frazzled and tired. I quickly filled the shopping cart with only the items on my list.  After all,  I still needed to go to Costco for the RV Park owner’s list.

Would you believe it took me over fifteen minutes to navigate the Costco parking lot?  Congestion was worse than I’ve ever seen in Phoenix.  I was so ready to head home and blow off this stop, but I made a commitment to pick up a list of items.  Don’t even get me started on the check out lines.  With all my errands and sightseeing complete, I hit the road for my nearly two hour drive home, and finally made it back to the RV shortly after 7:00 p.m.

Let’s see…. I didn’t jump off a bridge.  I didn’t slide down a waterfall.  I managed to get myself un-lost without any help.  I didn’t go postal in Costco.  And I made it home in one piece without any road rage.  All in all, I’d say it was a great day!

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow! What a Ride!” – Hunter S. Thompson

Idaho Benchmark Road & Recreation Atlas

I finally found some good hiking socks!Thorlos Womens Lite Hiking Thin Padded Ankle – Low Cut Socks | LTHMXW

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88 thoughts on “Waterfalls and Jumping off a Bridge

  1. Great shots of the falls, Ingrid. I really don’t know how one practises for such a sport, But I suppose the same applies to a surgeon’s first heart transplant, or amputation, ……… perish the thought. That sounds like an exhausting shopping trip, what with getting lost and all. 😕

    • It definitely was a long day and I could’ve forgone the getting lost part. I’d like to revisit the falls on a day when the sky is clear and I can take my time strolling around. It is a beautiful sight.

  2. The falls look beautiful, I can just imagine them on a sunny day. The bridge on the other hand…not in a million years. I wouldn’t even walk to the center of the bridge to watch the jumpers as high structures like that make my stomach queazy. 😀

    • Fortunately, I don’t seem to have an issue with heights although I didn’t walk across the bridge. I might have to do that next time and see how I feel about it. The falls were a wonderful surprise and I do hope to revisit them on a sunny day.

  3. I had always been impressed with your adventurous spirit and the same trait took you back to the right path. Great pics of the falls with a rainbow. I think next year would be or time to explore Idaho in length.
    Base jumpers and rock climbers are fascinating to watch.
    Our summer this year will be in WY and MT.

    • We are currently in WY for a few days and you will love the beauty of the Grand Tetons. There are so many amazing places in the west that I want to explore and I am rarely disappointed. I know you’ll have a great summer and I look forward to all your tales and photos.

  4. Loved your post, and the photos! I don’t know how we missed these places when we were in Idaho. More places to add to my next time list! Enjoy West Yellowstone and Redfish Lake. In 2003, we camped at Mountainview Campground, Sawtooth Recn Area. We were camping in a pop-up and had a site right on the lake. It was a beautiful area.

    • We’ve already been here over a month and have barely touched on some of the things we’re hoping to explore. It seems like the more sights we see, the more there are too see LOL. It has finally started to warm up so we’re feeling a little more comfortable heading up in elevation. We’ll leave West Yellowstone for the fall when we’re done with the work camping but will do day trips or one or two nighters to some of the other spots. Beautiful country around here!

  5. I have always heard stories of those falls my my family. Would love to go someday. Great photos. Sounds like you guys are having a fun adventure. It’s heating up though!

    • Yes, it is heating up. We start our morning needing the heat on for a short while and then by noon we need A/C. Talk about extremes! We’re taking a few days off from our work camping and exploring. Stay tuned!

  6. That header photo is fantastic.
    I wouldn’t BASE jump if they paid me!!!
    Shoshone Falls is beautiful. I don’t think we will ever make out there so thanks for so many lovely photos.

    • Thanks Marsha, Shoshone Falls was prettier than I expected and I’m so glad I went even though it was raining. Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be jumping off a bridge anytime soon 😉

    • No jumping for this gal…. I might’ve when I was younger 😉 Shoshone Falls is definitely worth seeing as well as strolling on some of the trails along the rim.

  7. Such gorgeous falls! We enjoyed a picnic there and a short hike along the rim. Would love to return for a longer hike one of these days. Your shopping “adventure” doesn’t sound like fun, though. 😦 My sense of direction is abysmal—I have a terrible relationship with Siri, but I’ve found the Waze app is great for keeping me on track!

    • I’ve heard about the Waze app and may have to look into that, but I’ll admit, I enjoy being old school and finding my way around the hard way. I really learn new areas to the point I’m sometimes able to give folks directions. It always baffles Al how I can learn my way around a new community so quickly, and that’s usually why I do most of the driving when we aren’t pulling. Plus, I get to stop whenever I want for those photo-ops 😉

    • AND it is a loooong way down…. certainly not for the faint of heart. The waterfalls in the area are beautiful as is the Perrine Bridge and all can be viewed from a comfortable distance from the edge 🙂

  8. See lots on the base jumping…had to be so cool to see up close and personal!! My cousin jumped! I feel your long hauls to town…it’s a new animal for this city girl too! Thankful freezer full and farmers corner stands opening as keeps up that end of things! Glad we gave up milk and bread 🙂 Enjoy those falls…looks refreshing as heck!!

    • Yes, it was amazing to actually see the jumpers and hear their chutes open. I can understand the crazy thrill. Isn’t it great not having to shop for bread or milk anymore. I love how long Almond milk lasts and have on hand for those times I actually need milk. I’m waiting for the Farmer’s Market’s to start around here. Even then, I have a 30 minute drive to the closest one. I’m getting better with my planning!

    • Thanks Gayle and yes there was a natural bridge or arch near the falls. The trail along the rim offers some unique sights. Crossing the Perrine Bridge didn’t seem like a big deal to me and I wouldn’t hesitate pulling the RV across. Now the Mackinac Bridge is another subject 😆

      • That’s funny you should say that. I have no problem with crossing the Mighty Mac. I guess it all comes down to what you’re familiar & comfortable with. We will be crossing the Straits of Mackinac next month.

        • We were suppose to go to Mackinac Island last August, but when our daughter decided to move, we cut our Midwest sojourn short. Enjoy your time in the UP.

  9. You scared the hec out of me!!!
    For a minute I thought you were jumping from the bridge!
    And you get lost… No way! I have witnessed our trips from zoos to long highways. And you never get lost!
    Glad you are safe and sound! Great photos of the crazy people! And of the falls!

    • I know – me lost? It was quite the day. One I won’t soon forget. Not to worry, I won’t be jumping off a bridge anytime soon…. well, unless this computer continues to drive me crazy. I’m waiting for back to school sales in August before I buy a new computer…. grrrr – talk about frustrating.

        • I found a Dell I liked at Best Buy with an Intel i7 processor (best for photography) and 15″ monitor. It seems to range (based on sales) between $700 and $800. So I thought I’d wait until the back to school sales start and hopefully save a few bucks. I’ll keep you posted if it drops in price. I first saw this laptop at the Best Buy on Happy Valley. You heading East soon?

          • Yes! On the 16th. Trying to get the rest of my trip photos edited so I can do one or two more posts before I head out.
            That Dell sounds good. Real good! I am loving my camera!!!!!!

            • I am so pleased to hear you are happy with the camera. My friend Faye, just bought one for her hubby for his Bday (surprise). After the 3 of us spent a day shooting at Craters, he expressed a great deal of interest in my camera.

  10. I was so glad to hear you did not jump off the bridge. We never know with you…since you are somewhat mentally unstable and prone to doing crazy things. I thought maybe the Paleo diet had pushed you over the edge.

  11. Great pictures! Twin Falls is one of our favorite stops through Idaho. There are a number of hikes you can do along the canyon there to see numerous smaller waterfalls – some on the canyon rim and some that take you down to river level. Another great thing to do there is rent kayaks in the park that is on the river just west of the bridge – go kayaking under the bridge and hope no BASE jumper miscalculates and lands on you! There is a very pretty county park that takes RV’s right in Twin Falls but feels like you are really isolated – Rock Creek Park. Has bike/walking trail along Rock Creek.

    • Thank you for sharing these great ideas. I’m hoping to return to Twin Falls for a longer stay this summer to enjoy more of the spectacular scenery. The weather held just long enough for me to stroll the rim and take in some of those other waterfalls. Twin Falls was a delightful find and I can see why it’s one of your favorite stops.

  12. For a minute I thought you had gone BASE jumping?! How does one practice for that? I expect it’s skydivers upping the ante? Great photos and quite the shopping adventure I might add. 🙂

    • It looks rather exhilarating and I might have signed up for a tandem jump in my younger (and dumber) years 😉 It was definitely a long day, but fun!

  13. We just stayed at the Jerome Elk’s Lodge in Jerome (I’m sure you passed it!) and found that Twin Falls was a bit confusing to navigate. We too drove around a fair bit looking for many of the same spots you needed, including the post office. We stopped at the bridge for a beautiful view but weren’t lucky enough to see any base jumpers! I’m not sure I could have watched them jump off the bridge, however!

    • I remember driving by a Elk’s Lodge and wasn’t sure that was the Jerome location. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one that was confused navigating that town. The upside – I now know my way around LOL. I purposely wanted to visit Twin Falls on a Saturday hoping to see plenty of jumpers and I was not disappointed. Loved it!

    • Due to rainstorms, I didn’t have time to dally at Shoshone Falls plus I forgot my tripod and neutral density filters 😦 I guess that means I’ll need to return 🙂 I’m quite content sitting on the sidelines watching the jumpers!

  14. That bridge is fun to drive over. Love your pics. You always capture so much detail. Glad you’re having fun in Idaho (minus the Costco crowds–that’s never fun).

    • I loved exploring Twin Falls and will return, but hope to explore more of Idaho Falls too. Thus far, each visit to Idaho Falls, I’ve had to focus on errands. The other day I discovered the Fred Meyer Grocery store… big thumbs up. On my next visit, I will need to include a little photography outing.

        • I don’t know why, but I thought you lived in Idaho Falls. I guess I have a hard enough time remembering where I’m living let alone someone else LOL. Once I realized Fred Meyers is a “Kroger” store, I found all my favorite things and used my “City Market” card at check out. Traveling around like we do, I love finding the good places to shop. It allows me to settle into a new community, even though our stay is very temporary.

          • I have a sister in Twin Falls. But I’m on the other side of the state. Just remembering I’m in Idaho is doing good, in my opinion. Good job, and happy shopping. I’m glad you’re settling.

  15. So glad you made it back home in one piece! I would still be out there wandering around…no sense of direction at all here! I couldn’t punch myself out of a paper bag…haha! Those base jumpers are most definitely a little crazy. It is a hard thing to even watch. Your photos of the Shoshone Falls are spectacular! I think the clouds actually added to the beauty. Love, love the one with the rainbow!!

    • Thanks Pam and oh how funny… guess you’re lucky to have John on those long hikes or you’d still be aimlessly wandering around the backcountry. Sometimes I welcome the cloud cover while taking photos since the bright sun can easily wash out colors. I got lucky with that rainbow. I was tempted to do a little hiking along the rim near the falls but it was probably a good idea the weather had me running those errands or I may not have gotten home till 10 p.m.

      • Oh, yes, if it weren’t for John I wouldn’t return from any hike:) I am hopeless with directions. John always amazes me when we come to a new town and by the end of day one, he knows how get around.

        • Seems John and I share similar navigation abilities although I’m much better with towns than I am with trails. I’ve made a few entertaining faux pas’ while out hiking. Al has learned to double check the trail map instead of just following my lead 😆

  16. Been through that whole area many times. We use to travel to twin from Wells Nevada where we had a summer home. DW was born in Idaho. Raised in the Sun Valley Area.
    Mel

    • We plan on visiting Sun Valley and Redfish Lake in July …. any suggestions are welcome. It’s beautiful country around here and we’re enjoying our time in Idaho.

    • It was indeed a day of adventure – some stops more than others. I like that line “take the scenic route”. I may steal that sometime 😆

  17. Hi – I follow your blog with great envy and hope for the future travels (my own). I laughed at your Twin Falls experience and how truly easy it is to get turned around there! I live in Boise and there are so many placed that are wonderful in Idaho. I hope you will have time to sightsee more. You are not far from Island Park, West Yellowstone, and the Sawtooth Mountains. How long will you be there in your current WK job? Maybe we can meet for lunch if you come to Boise for one of your shopping trips.

    • Hi Cyndee…. we’re working in Arco through Labor Day. After that the plan IS to head over to Island Park and West Yellowstone, but in the meantime, we hope to take in some sights by driving the Sawtooth Scenic Byway. I’d also like to visit the Bruneau Dunes. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’ll let you know if we visit Boise 🙂

  18. What a fun post, Ingrid. And wow, some beautiful vistas. If you’re looking for action, check out Jaker’s in Twin Falls on Friday nights — it’s hopping, and great food too. As always, enjoyed your post.

    • Thanks for the tidbit on Jaker’s. I’d like to get back to Twin Falls in July or August and stay for a few days. The scenery is too pretty for Al not to see or me to see again. Beautiful country!

    • I have to admit, BASE jumping does look like an amazing thrill but I’m not tempted at this age. Glad it wasn’t around when I was younger 😆

  19. Wow!! Great post!! I have to say I love getting lost, that’s usually when you find the most interesting things!! But in the rain not so much fun!! I got turned around in North Carolina and ended up in South Carolina about 4 hours from where I wanted to be!! I feel your pain!!

    • Wow – 4 hours out of your way??? Thrilled that didn’t happen to me, but like you, I end up discovering some great finds when I get ‘turned around’. Glad you enjoyed the post – thanks 🙂

  20. It’s absolutely beautiful there, and I especially loved your great photos of the falls. Glad you found your way back to town ok and that no one was hurt at Costco! 😀

  21. Quite the adventure. I’ve never been to Twin falls. When we are traveling through Idaho it’s usually in the other direction. Those falls are great though! I must go there. Did you buy some Costco golden margarita? That’s our favorite and it sounds like you needed it after that trip. Advice….I would shop on Sunday. It won’t be as crowded.

    • I recommend stopping in Idaho Falls… It’s worth it! Take a look in these comments – Alison Erickson recommended a county park for overnighting. Might be worth checking out. I’m hoping to get back to Twin Falls for a couple of nights in July because I still have much more to explore. I also knew I wanted to visit on a Saturday in hopes of seeing lots of BASE jumpers. I was not disappointed, but that Kirkland Margarita was very welcome once I got home.

  22. Think we’ll be making a trip to Twin Falls, Shoshone Falls could be an interesting place to hike.

    • No rain clouds expected this weekend thus I highly recommend a visit Sat. or Sun. I bet you’ll be treated to a bunch of BASE jumpers. From the bridge there is a trail going along the rim that looks like an awesome hike with waterfalls and then of course there’s hiking at Shoshone Falls. Enjoy and it was great seeing you today 🙂

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