Last summer, after parking the rig at a visitors center and getting a bite to eat, we walked along this river, watching the traffic passing on this bridge as we went:
Then we saw a man climb onto the bridge rail…
and stand up….
“He’s going to jump!” I yelled, pointing.
And he did!
Whew! A parachute! Turns out these were base jumpers, leaping from the one place in the US where it’s legal: the Perrine Memorial Bridge, which spans the Snake River in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
On this July day, the jumpers strode along the bridge in a steady stream, waited their turn, then plunged over the side. It was the best free entertainment we’d had in quite awhile.
It’s hard to see how far these jumpers were floating, but this gives you an idea:
We stood for hours, watching, taking photos, and talking with others who gathered along the riverside. One local gentleman told us all about the various types of jumps (like an “unpacked jump” which is when the pack of parachute is thrown AFTER the jumper makes the leap, rather than the chute being bundled into the back pack), adding that in return for a favor he’d done for one of the jumpers he was waiting on a tandem jump (wasn’t happening that day, so we didn’t get to see him).
They made it look easy — floating through the air, navigating over the river to the landing site on the side of the Snake…
…where a local woman ferried them back to waiting transportation so they could come back up to the bridge and start all over:
When she left near sundown, she left them to their own devices, and they ended up hiking up the long hillside back to street level. But still they dove from the bridge, their bright parachutes golden in the early evening light. Two jumpers glide through the air with the trestle and boat behind them:
If jumping off a high bridge doesn’t seem scary enough, this man did a backwards flip off the side:
So what does it look like from the jumper’s point of view? Well, the walk even to the midpoint on the bridge, marked by these streamers, is long….
… and the platform they stand on? Just a couple of feet square. See how far down the water is?!??!
What’s holding that platform in place? Some long arms wedged into the bridge wall with wooden pieces:
Ikes! So what sort of focus does it take to throw yourself off a very high bridge with a piece of nylon?
They’re so focused on packing their chutes they don’t even seem to notice the very curvy blonde woman walking toward them!
As for us? We were glad we found this unique boondocking spot….
… which, even without the ongoing show at the bridge, gave us a spectacular sunset over the Snake River.