Kayaking the Snake River, what a great way to spend a summer afternoon in Idaho.
Travel plans left me with a free afternoon in Twin Falls ID. Having been to the Twin Falls area on numerous occasions over the years, I thought I had seen it all. I had visited the Evel Knievel motor cycle jump site, Shoshone Falls, Ice Caves, the path of the Oregon Trail, and drove to Jackpot Nevada for gambling. Yep pretty much done it all. Most of the best parts about the area center around the Snake River Canyon, the awe-inspiring, 500 feet deep chasm that nature carved into the volcanic rock when Lake Idaho emptied more than a few years ago. The one thing I had not done was to actually get on the water, so I decided to rent a boat of some sort and explore from water level.
Kayaks and canoes are easily rented, and not very expensive either. There was a friendly vendor in a trailer only a few steps away from a dock dedicated to non-motorized boats. My single-seat kayak rented for $20 for four hours, including a life jacket. Although the kayak may not have been professional quality, it was in very nice condition and well cared for. Not what I might have expected. Paddling upstream, my goal was to reach Pillar Falls, an easy 2 mile trip. There were only a very few other kayaks, a couple of canoes, and a handful of paddleboard boaters seen on this weekday afternoon. Only 2 powerboats passed, and they showed great respect for non-motorized traffic.
The scenery can only be described as spectacular. At times the canyon walls descend almost straight to the waters edge, while other stretches have an area of marshland or meadows buffering the cliffs and the river.
I was able to spot a fair amount of wildlife. Ospreys soared overhead, while gangly herons stalked the shoreline and felt like they needed to flee upon my silent approach. Looking onshore, I twice spotted what I believe were fishers from the weasel family. They were sleek, black, and moved very quickly from one hiding place to another.
After returning to shore, I looked at some websites dedicated to the wildlife to be experienced in the area. It turns out that I didn’t even begin to see the wide variety that call the gorge home. Furred, feathered, finned and slimmed creatures abound. There are even bears that reside nearby.
With little current, and easy paddling, my mind wandered to the address plaques that Atlas has designed that would be fitting to this unique environment. Had I been on the ridge, I would have seen snow-capped mountains both north and south. Had I ventured into the brush, I might have stumbled across a bear eating berries, and had I been under the water, I would have seen the abundant number of trout that are ready to fill the creel.
The Snake River Canyon is an area that is definitely worth exploring time after time. Spend a couple of days even if you are on your way to some other destination. You most certainly will enjoy all that Southern Idaho has to offer.
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