Heading south from Boise to Kuna, I travel in constant traffic. From Kuna to Swan Falls, the road is straight with long rolling hills. The desert landscape of lava rock and sagebrush lends itself to clear views of the horizon, which makes sharing the road safe for both motorists and bicyclists.
The traffic becomes lighter, but the large SUVs are now pulling boats. Amy and I are the only ones traveling by bicycle, with panniers and a bicycle trailer loaded with camping equipment but no room for motorized contraptions or a cooler full of booze. From observing my fellow Swan Falls recreationalists, I become worried about boredom on this adventure.
Will a day at the Snake River without petrol or booze be like celebrating Jesus’s birthday without gifts, enjoying Thanksgiving without a television, or being charitable without going through an approved organization?
When I reach the rim of the canyon and look down onto Swan Falls, I feel like a vegetarian who has walked into a steak house to find a green local salad bar with a sesame grilled tofu vegetarian option.
Swan Falls Dam, built in 1901, the oldest dam on the Snake River
Swan Falls offers a park with large trees giving shade – perfect for picnics, bird watching, reading, writing, fishing and playing cards. The bathroom provides flushing toilets, a water fountain, and plenty of counter space to wash dishes. Beyond the park, a person can follow the rocky road to set up a tent in between the sagebrush.
As the boat people are getting ready to turn the Snake River into a busy roadway, my favorite activity, after a four and a half hour bike ride, is strip to my cycling shorts and go for a swim.