Thursday, April 16, 2009

Go see the mighty Snake bursting with life in Twin Falls

Top, Let's Make a Deal rapid
Next, flip in last rapid on the Murtaugh
Pair of Dice, right-side run
Shoshone Falls
(Photos coutesy Josh McDannel and Ted Day)
Hey all,

Every once in a great while, a perfect storm of weather, snowpack and water coalesce to bring the Middle Snake River to life for a few precious days -- perhaps even weeks in the springtime. Right now, as we speak, the gates of Milner Dam are open and the Middle Snake is running at more than 10,000 cubic feet per second and rising. The mighty Snake is running bank-full with lots of volume, and it's expected to do so for the next 10 days.

This means two things for recreationists:

1. Shoshone Falls is roaring, shall we say, thundering, and very much alive. Every Idahoan has to see the 212-foot Shoshone Falls, often called the Niagara of the West, flowing in all of its glory. Take the family and get pictures of the kids. Go for a day trip and bring a picnic. There's a park next to the falls.

2. Run the Murtaugh section of the Middle Snake, an awe-inspiring challenge for the experienced Class 4+ boater. Whitewater boaters who run the South Fork Payette Canyon, Hells Canyon, the Lochsa, the Middle Fork at high water, or the Selway should be capable of running the Murtaugh. The Murtaugh has some big drops like Pair of Dice, Let's Make a Deal and more.

If you're not an experienced boater, and your buddy can't take you, book a trip with Idaho Guide Service in Twin Falls. The outfitter, Olin Gardner, has been running the Middle Snake since the early '80s. He's the only outfitter permitted to run the Middle Snake, so there you have it.

Here are directions to the put-in and takeout if you're going to kayak or raft the Murtaugh on your own.

- SS