Thursday, August 2, 2012

Salmon Summer Bridges

When most folks see a bridge they think it's a way to cross water.  When Salmon, Idaho, kids look at their two bridges, they see fun, adventure, daring and sheer summer delight.  In the years we've been watching these two bridges, we've been re-educated about just how much fun an ordinary bridge can be.

First and foremost, the US Highway 93 bridge over The Salmon River also happens to be the Island Park River Access Point (RAP).  It's a tiny little rap squeezed in next to a pier of the 1930's classic bridge.  This RAP serves as a take out for down river traffic from Eleven Mile and Shoup above.  It also serves to launch people off to Carmen, Morgan Bar and beyond.  We've seen real mob scenes here with boats, cars, trucks, trailers and people every which way.  We've seen really big jet boats with full cabins launch here and zoom at high speeds up and down The Salmon River.

Island Park has been a recreational and cultural icon and magnet for as long as Salmon City has existed.  For Salmon's youth during the dog days of summer, it's the bridges that matter.  Bridge diving is a sure sign that it's High Summer in Salmon.  The water's mostly warm, the current speed is manageable and it's still deep enough where you won't hit bottom even from the top railing of the stately old concrete span.

You can always count on a gaggle of kids hanging out on the smaller Island Park bridge.  Every now and then, two or more of them head off to the taller highway bridge to take the plunge.  Once in awhile, someone shows some style off the Island Park bridge.  In the first photo below, we caught a dude doing a well-executed back flip off the little bridge.  In the photo below, one of the big bridge jumpers went off feet first and is just about ready to disappear into the water.

Earlier in the season, it's all about bridge surfing here.  When the water is up and running faster, people come to put in a board and hold onto a rope attached to the Island Park bridge.  You'd be really surprised how great  a surf they can get tethered to that bridge.  We hoped to get some shots of bridge surfing but only got the bridge diving part today.

Salmon youth uses the river more than the youth of any other community from Stanley to North Fork.  The river runs right through their life and they are all over it tubing, surfing, diving or just chillin' with their buds next to the river.  It's Salmon Summer and it's sure fun to watch.

Here's the Island Park River Access Point

Here's a panorama of the scene at Island Park.  The little bridge is at left and the US Hwy. bridge at right.  The Island Park RAP is in the middle of the photo.  You can click on this panorama to see a much larger version that you can scroll back and forth.

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