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Friday, September 18, 2020

Road Trip: Twin Falls to Sun Valley, ID

On Friday, our plan was to charge the car (and find some coffee), check out Shoshone Falls and the Snake River Canyon, then head to Sun Valley and stop at Craters of the Moon National Monument on the way there.  We drove over to the supercharger and realized it was in the same parking lot as the Twin Falls visitor center, which was overlooking the Snake River Canyon right next to the Perrine Bridge.  Convenient.  So we walked across the street to Starbucks and when we came back, we went over to look at the canyon and noticed people setting up on the little lawn next to us to BASE jump off of the bridge over the canyon.  I was a bit astonished that this was allowed.  But people would basically non-stop jumping off of the bridge.  According to its Wikipedia page, the bridge "may be the only man-made structure in the United States where BASE jumping is allowed year-round without a permit".  The lawn next to the bridge was like the Breakwater of BASE jumping :)

Shoshone Falls (we suck at selfies)
After watching a bunch of the jumpers, we decided to head over to Shoshone Falls.  You can drive right up to an overlook to see the falls, and then there's a path on the other side of the canyon that you can walk up (and up and up) to get a different/less crowded view.  It was a nice little meander.  We walked for less than a mile before turning back, so it's really not much of a commitment to go on the walk.  There are some pretty cool-looking houses at the top of the cliff, overlooking the falls.

Inferno Cone
After that, we headed out of town toward Craters of the Moon.  I'm a bit divided on whether it was worth going there.  If you've seen lava fields before, I'm not really sure it's worth the drive.  On the other hand, if we had skipped it and gone straight to Sun Valley, I don't know if there would have been enough of the day to do much.  Craters of the Moon is a good stop if you want to drive around, get out of the car and walk around a little bit, then get back in the car and drive to the next point.  After the very uphill meander by the falls, it was a nice lazy afternoon.  We stopped in a few spots at Craters of the Moon to walk around.  I think the most interesting (and tiring) of the bunch was the Inferno Cone.  It's basically a huge volcanic ash sand dune that you can walk up.  Pretty neat.

Rob in Ketchum
When we got to Sun Valley, it was still very hazy out.  It didn't smell smoky like it had in Twin Falls, but the smoke was definitely impacting visibility.  We stayed in Sun Valley, which is outlandishly expensive, because they have Tesla destination chargers.  There's no public supercharger around here; this was the one part of the trip where charging was a pain.  (Even with the destination charger, it was a pretty big pain, since you have to happen upon the charger when no one is using it, and hope that someone doesn't leave their car plugged in all night even though it's finished charging.)

Pig whistles and poutine

We went to Ketchum for dinner.  Ketchum is a cute little town.  Even though it's a ski resort town, it feels like a real town and not a fake ski resort town (like Vail does, in my opinion).  We went to the Warfield Distillery and Brewery for dinner.  We sat on the roof deck, and hoped that it wouldn't start raining before we finished.  We shared Pig Whistles (most amazing snack ever), poutine, and brisket.  Everything was super tasty.  When we got back to the car, we noticed that the public EV charger right near where we parked was open, so we decided to plug in for a bit and go find a drink somewhere.  Finding a drink was harder than expected, because now it was 7pm on a Saturday night, and everything was busy.  

Ketchum Kolsch
We ended up back at Warfield, where we got more beer.  After killing time there for a while, we decided to get ice cream.  There was an ice cream hut that we'd passed on the way from where we parked -- Leroy's Ice Cream.  I got the Elk Tracks, because I can't pass up an ice cream flavor named after wild animals (e.g. Moose Tracks or Maine Black Bear at Cabot's).  Just as we were getting our ice cream, it finally started to rain, so we had to trot back to the car in the rain.  We ate our ice cream in the car while watching Netflix and waiting for a bit more charge.

It rained overnight, so in the morning, it was a bit less hazy out.  However, the forecast was for the air quality to get a lot worse over the next few days.  So we decided to do a hike near Sun Valley and then head to Utah for the rest of the trip.  After a bit of research, we settled on Taylor Canyon for the hike.  We did the loop counterclockwise, which I think was wise.  Much of the hike up was under tree cover, whereas the entire hike down was exposed.  Anyway, it was a nice reasonably short hike.  It was reasonably steep most of the way up and at the steepest part I think I was stopping for a break like every minute :P  But it was a nice trail and overall not very difficult.  When we got to the top, we took some pictures, even though Rob was sort of grumpy because it was still hazy.

On the way down, some sort of strange frozen precipitation started to fall on us.  It was 56 degrees and sunny when this started.  I thought it was hail at first, but when the little frozen balls landed on my shirt, I could squish them and they would collapse into a little pile of snow, like a tiny snowball.  After some extensive (okay not that extensive) internet sleuthing, I think that this was graupel, which I have literally never heard of before.  I'm still not convinced it's a real thing, since Blogger puts a squiggly red line under the word ;)  There was intermittent rain too on the way down, but it was just a few big drops for a minute and then it would stop for a while.  It was pretty refreshing considering we were totally exposed to the sun on the way down.

After the hike, we headed out of town, toward Utah. 

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