Monday, December 15, 2014

Shoshone Falls, ID - Part 1

 A few days ago we drove three hours west, to the expansive farming town of Twin Falls.
It was a long way to go to purchase a Russian SKS rifle..........
LC had been watching local online classified sites for quite a while in search of another Russian.  Mostly he found Chinese (which he was not interested in), and when Russians came up they were very expensive.
It was a long way to go to buy a freakin' gun, but looking at his face after I walked into the office when he called my name, I saw the eager and excited face of not a grown man, but a little boy who had just found his new toy.
So alright LC.  If we're driving all the way to Twin Falls, I wanna see the falls.
Both of them.............
We would make a day of it.  Take sandwiches.  Check out a new town that we had never seen before.  See both the Shoshone and the Twin Falls waterfalls that up-til-now I had only seen online.
It was the completely wrong time of year to see the falls.  Water levels would be low.  Trees would be leafless and grass would be dormant and brown.  Checking the weather forecast I was disappointed to see that even the sky would be cloudy and colorless.
Regardless, we were headed for Twin Falls.................... 

We had agreed to meet the seller in the town of Twin Falls at noon so there was little time to waste wandering and taking pictures on the way.
He would be on his lunch break.  Had a schedule to keep.  We needed to get there on time, and so I snapped only a few quick pictures while making a quick pit stop so that both woman, man and dog could all take care of business.
With only a few minutes to wander, I handed Kory over to LC and headed behind the gas station that was right off the interstate, curious about the dragon.
Close to the main highway - but also close to a lake - was an RV park that (especially at this time of year) was surprisingly full...............
Snapping quick pictures without thought, I turned away from the resort sign and walked a few yards into the campground, drawn to an unexpected sight in late Fall in rural Idaho.
I have no idea why this 12 foot dragon was standing close to the entrance of the campground, but he was a beautiful and surprising sight.
A metal sculpture filled with great detail, and even though it was the briefest of stops, I was glad that we had picked THIS place to use the restroom and grab more coffee...............
I had no time to enjoy the sight of the metal dragon, nor the metal sun that was attached to a pole close by.
As my son Chris would say "We had places to go and people to do".
Turning away from both sun and dragon, I looked up and saw LC and Kory also headed back towards the Tahoe.
When LC saw me he looked at me and smiled, and I smiled back.
When Kory saw me she excitedly pulled on her leash and her tail began to wag wildly.
And the sight of her made me smile as well.
I was glad that these two beings were in my life.....................
We were six minutes late for our meeting but we succeeded in making the transaction.
Happy with his purchase, LC pulled the Tahoe out of the driveway, turned left and quickly made a stop at a gas station.
As I stood beside the Tahoe looking across at the huge grain silos on the opposite side of the road, I decided that I had no interest on this day in seeing any more of Twin Falls.
Maybe it was because we had been so rushed. or because it was not a pretty day nor a pretty time of year, maybe it was because the town (as we drove through on our way to our appointed meeting place) looked simply like a sprawling, too-busy, hustling and bustling, rural straight-up farming city.
Or maybe it was because it was already 12:30, it would be dark by 5:30, we were three hours from home and I wanted to see the falls.
Both of them.
Smiling at LC as he walked out of the gas station I told him what I was thinking.
He had been thinking all of the same things that I had, and we climbed back into the Tahoe, turned left out of the gas station and went in search of the falls................
Shoshone Falls was only a few miles outside of town.
Making our way through the very busy city, we first found ourselves driving through residential areas, and then quickly found ourselves on empty and tight two lane road.
As the road began to narrow and become increasingly winding, lawns turned to sage brush turned to steep and rugged and rocky hills that were filled with the volcanic history of this entire, sweeping region.
LC and I looked at each other in surprise.
Neither one of us had expected this, and yet the road became even more narrow and winding as we dropped down into a rocky gulch hundreds of feet lower than where we had started.
Pulling into the completely empty parking lot, I eagerly climbed out and then reached into the back seat to retrieve my dancing puppy..................
Handing Kory over to my Mountain Boy, I looked around me trying to get the lay of the land, while at the same time reaching into the zippered pocket of my jacket in search of my camera.................
Yeah.............definitely the wrong time of year to come see the falls, but Russian SKS's at a good price came up when they came up.
The entire dam had been carefully constructed to blend with the terrain.
 I had seen pictures of this:
But in late fall - on a grey sky, leafless tree, brown grass, low water day - nothing jumped out at me.
Everything blended with everything else, and although I was vaguely disappointed, it was also expected.
Click on any picture and it will enlarge................
Part of me was glad to be here on this day, because the entire park was empty.
Not one person.  Not one vehicle.
As all three of us slowly wandered the quiet area I could easily imagine the sounds and sights and busy-ness of this place in late spring when the water was rushing, and when warm days promised only lushness and green-ness for seemingly forever, but actually for only a few months................
I stood for a moment looking at Shoshone Falls, and remembered that I had read that it was higher than Niagara Falls.
I used to take the boys periodically to Niagara Falls on the Canadian side when they were little.
At that time hotels in Niagara Falls had a honemoon special - two nights stay in a motel, two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinner for two people for two days.
And one bottle of wine.
All for $99.
Only.............I was in the middle of a divorce and a custody battle and was not on anything remotely related to a honeymoon at that time.
But I could get the same deal for myself and two little boys.  
Every few months the three of us would go to Niagara Falls.
Wander the gift stores.  Play in the swimming pool at the motel.  Eat good meals in a good restaurant.  Play in the pool some more.  See the falls, both during the day and when it was lit at night.
So much fun with two little men who were my world................
As we wandered along the paved walk-way I looked down and was surprised to see three people standing together at the overlook.
Turning towards the parking lot I realized that they had come into the park without me even realizing it.
I watched them for a few moments and then realized that they were trying to take a "selfie" (which is a word I never actually imagined that I would ever use, but there you go)................
Heading towards the stairs I told LC that I was going down to the overlook.
Pictures I took on the way down the stairs................
As I got closer to the three tourists I realized that they were Asian, and were all still struggling to take a picture of all three of them together.
Smiling at them I asked if they wanted me to take their picture for them.
In broken English the youngest of the three approached me and handed me her I-Phone.  
She had to show me how to take a picture with it because I was still using an old-school flip-open phone.
After I snapped a few smiling pictures of three nice smiling visitors, the older lady asked me if I wanted my picture taken.
Smiling I thanked her.  No.  I like being on THIS end of a camera better.
Turning to head back up the stairs I snapped a quick picture of a watchful LC...............
I would like to see this place in May................
There was rock everywhere I looked.
The dam that was built into the rock.
Homes that were strung along rock ledges overlooking the falls.
Bare and dry rock where water would flow in spring and summer.
I liked this place, but for one brief instant I missed the waterfalls of Tennessee.
Rutledge Falls and Short Springs close to my house.
Fiery Gizzard a couple of hours away.
Too many people.  Always.  Unless I walked them in bad weather.  Which I did often when I was there.  But always filled with green and trees and the thundering sounds of water flowing...................
Looking back at the Tahoe...............
Moving away from the falls, LC, Kory and I headed towards information boards and a series of benches.
I looked down at my dog to monitor how she was doing. 
It had been a rushed morning and a quick and long drive, and I watched her for a moment to make sure that she was doing OK.  Was not upset or unsettled by this unexpected change in routine.
She was deeply engrossed in sniffing out odors that were so different from her home.
She was fine.................

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