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Southern Idaho Road Trip: Shoshone Falls to Sheep Bridge

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Sunset at the Sawtooth Mountains

With little time left in Idaho, it was necessary to make a day long photo trip* during the last week. I (Amber) have been trying to be better about getting out and shooting on weekdays and not just our weekend ventures since that’s mostly what I’m doing for work right now.

I made a list of places I still wanted to see, everything short of driving the 3 hours to Craters of the Moon, which I was still considering up until about 7pm when I was only an hour away, but it wouldn’t have left me much time to see anything.

I left at 10am for Twin Falls 40 minutes away and spent a lot of time at the Perrine bridge watching base jumpers (and chatting with other RVers), the Twin Falls visitor center, and Shoshone Falls (giving camera advice to tourists).

After leaving town, at nearly 2pm and losing time for all the places I wanted to go, I added an unintended but totally necessary place to the list, Minidoka National Historic Site – a Japanese Concentration Camp. The visit warranted a blog of it’s own, which you can find here.

Once I left Minidoka, I wanted to see what I could of Black Magic Canyon. It’s not much of an official site but it consists of some really fascinating rock formations that look like Godzilla sized scapula or hip bones made of black tar. The problem is that the canyon lies at the bottom of a river, and the river typically dries up in the fall so you can walk it – however in the spring, it’s actually controlled by a private company who provides water for irrigation in the region and is used almost constantly. Also, the whole region was in a flood warning and roads were being washed out so..I kind of new there was no chance I would see it, but it was still a cool place worth checking out and along the way. I had a hard time finding the exact location on maps so take advantage of my work and check out the map below as well. 

I stopped in the town of Shoshone for a quick walk around to look at the cool old buildings and train station. I should have grabbed food here because, as is our travel/road trip habit, I only ended up eating veggie jerky, cliff bars and drinking lots of coffee all day. 

After this, I had given up on all places but one, a Sheep Bridge, which I’ll explain later, and another hour and a half away in the opposite direction from home. Along the way I made a couple more stops, one where I took our brand new (to us) truck down a dirt road to check out some rock formation – which I ended up climbing to the top of to take more photos. 

The entire area west of Craters of the Moon is volcanic plains, you can see lava fields as well as little volcanic peaks all over the landscape. I can’t explain these rocks, but I had to see them closer and ended up hiking for quite a while in really strong wind to get close. Then once I was close, why not go to the top, right? It doesn’t look that high til you see how tiny the truck is below in the last pic.

 

The truck is but a speck. This made me wish I’d brought Sherlock but it was otherwise too hot before this place. 

After more driving I finally reached the Sheep Bridge. It’s an old swinging bridge, which up until a few years ago was still used for sheep herders to migrate their herds across the river, since there aren’t any bridges for a ways in both directions and of course, they’re for cars. I don’t know why but I have an interest in sheep herding..strange since we don’t even wear wool and I’m against everything about the process of getting wool and what happens to most babies, but it something about the lifestyle of being alone in the hills or mountains, or most likely,  just how cool I think it would be to just hang out with animals all day long as a job. I also love old swinging bridges. Anyway, the bridge broke a few years ago and the article I found didn’t specify how but when I saw it, it was easy to tell that it was pretty bad and although the article claimed it was due to be fixed, it doesn’t look like that will happen. One of the two large support cables is broken and, the wood looks like a small dog shouldn’t cross, let alone a herd of sheep.  

Sheep Bridge Access

Sheep Bridge Access

 

By the time I left the bridge for my long drive home, it was nearly dark. I had to stop about 4 more times to take what photos I could of the Sawtooth Mountains since I didn’t get to see any in full daylight.  I spent about 40 minutes in traffic in the middle of nowhere due to a washed out lane, but I didn’t mind because I would have missed this flooded field in this light and probably the best view I would get of the mountains. 

Sunset at the Sawtooth Mountains

Sunset at the Sawtooth Mountains

 

*The blog images are from my digital SLR, unfortunately it will be a while before the film ones will be seen anywhere.

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