There are extreme sports, and then there’s BASE Jumping. It’s bungee jumping without the cord. Skydiving without the airplane. You just strap on a parachute and jump off something tall. And Twin Falls is the only place in the world you can legally do it year-round.
The Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls is famous around the world’s community of BASE jumpers as the perfect launch spot. The Snake River Canyon is deep enough for a long, scenic descent, and perhaps most importantly, you don’t need any kind of permit. Perhaps wanting to avoid liability, neither the state, the county nor the city claim the bridge as in their jurisdiction, so there’s no place to seek permission. Just strap a parachute on, stomp out to the middle of the bridge, and jump off into the void.
Of course, it’s only that easy for truly experienced BASE jumpers. Most people participate in this activity with organized groups, with experts on hand to provide training and assistance. We were lucky to see one such group in action. It was just crazy to watch these guys and gals stand on the bridge, look down 500 feet, gather their courage, and then actually jump off.
And it looked like crazy fun. Some of the more advanced jumpers did a back flip or a swan dive, falling for ten or twenty meters before releasing their parachutes. They’d then steer themselves back down to the landing strip, next to the river. Most accomplished this pretty well, though we did see one guy land himself in the trees.
Don’t tell Jürgen, but I’ve mentally added BASE jumping to the list of experiences we’re going to try out one day. It must be the ultimate thrill.