Twin Falls Cabin Fever Days serves up a bevy of FREE activities to beat the winter blues

It's been a gray and dark beginning of winter so far, and many people -- especially those who don't like to play in the snow -- might be itching to get off the couch, ditch the video games and escape the confines of the house to do something fun.

We all know what can happen if you wait too long ... you might get grouchy or much worse! Remember how Jack Nicholson turned into a horrifying nut case in The Shining? Or when a bunch of college students went into the woods in the movie Cabin Fever, only to catch a skin-eating disease?

dancing-divasOK, humor aside, we know you're not that bad off. But you'll be glad to know that the City of Twin Falls Parks & Recreation Department joined forces with Activate Magic Valley to serve up a huge array of FREE activities this Saturday, Jan. 9, for families, kids and adults. City parks officials are calling it "Cabin Fever Day," and Activity Magic Valley underlines the motivation of the event by calling it "Get MOVIN' Day."

"Our goal is to help people get active and stay active," says Scott Standley of Activate Magic Valley.

Twin Falls Parks has 14 activities set up at 14 locations throughout the city of Twin Falls, including open swimming at the YMCA/City Pool, free dancing classes for young girls provided by the Dancing Divas, trampoline fun at Jump Time (second hour is free), all kinds of games, sports activities, arts and crafts at the Boys and Girls Club, Karate and scubaMartial Arts, free bowling, skiing at Magic Mountain ($50 for the whole family to ski or ride), free Scuba lessons at the Y/City Pool, Live Sky Tours at the Faulkner Planetarium, and indoor archery target shooting courtesy of Magic Valley Bowhunters.

See a complete listing of activities, times and locations on the parks web site. A fun approach might be to do your homework on the activities you'd like to do, make a schedule and try to hit as many as possible since this is only a one-day event! Kind of like a speed-dating format for non-stop fun! Before you get started, be sure to stop by the Activate Magic Valley venue by the Elizabeth Street YMCA to visit with 25-30 vendors, and pick up an Activate Magic Valley passport so you can get a stamp at any of the Cabin Fever activities and at least five vendors at the Get Movin' event to be eligible to win the grand prize - a one-year family membership to the YMCA. At the Activate Magic Valley venue, they'll have many sports and activity clubs on hand (soccer, fly fishing, running, hiking, etc.), plus health and fitness vendors, city parks organizations for Twin Falls and Jerome, and local companies like St. Luke's, Glanbia, Clear Springs Foods and Clif Bar.

While you're in Twin Falls, check out some great eateries such as Twin Falls Sandwich Co. (good craft beer, too), Idaho Joe's, Burnt Lemon Grill or Garibaldi's Mexican restaurant. They also have several sushi spots and Prasai's Thai Cuisine. Check out these foodie review apps and sites and make your own choice!

Need a place to stay?
Look for lodging deals here at the Southern Idaho Tourism web site. Here are some event posters to help you find your favorite activities (click on the images to enlarge):



Activate Magic Valley


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Hagerman Birding Festival a perfect time to get into bird-watching

The upcoming Hagerman Birding Festival, scheduled for Feb. 12-14, is a perfect event to learn how to get started. Pre-registration is open for the event, which is limited to the first 150 people who sign up. There are classroom sessions where you learn how to identify different kinds of birds and field trips with birding experts. That's where the rubber hits the road. The multiday event costs $80 for adults and $25 for children 16 and younger,  including food and field trips.

Usually, a person's interest in birding starts with an inspirational moment. For me, it was watching bald eagles swoop down and catch crimson-colored kokanee with their talons in West Glacier, Montana. Even since then, I've always been interested in birds of prey in particular. I must have taken 300 photos of eagles catching fish on that snowy day in December.

Birding In Southern IdahoCloser to home, we learn in the Twin Falls Times-News that Burley High School senior Joseph DeTemple is a budding birder after earning a Boy Scout merit badge through identifying eight species of birds. He's working with veteran birder Wallace Keck, superintendent of City of Rocks National Reserve and Castle Rocks State Park, to learn about birding. DeTemple already has identified more than 130 species. He's off and running!

Keck, whose life list hovers near 460 species, was inspired by taking an ornithology class in college at Arkansas State University. Campus was near a number of mountains and rivers that made birding fun and exciting for Keck, who frequently blogs about his birding adventures. Keck recently blogged about "The Big Year" in which he hopes to add more species to his life list and surpass 500 species.

So how about making 2016 a year in which you start birding? The greater Southern Idaho region is a wonderful place to see birds -- from lots of waterfowl, bald eagles, and great blue herons in the Hagerman area along the Snake River, to more waterfowl at Lake Walcott State Park and Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge, songbirds at City of Rocks National Reserve and a variety of songbirds and hawks at The Nature Conservancy's Silver Creek Preserve near Picabo. With every stop, you'll pick up more species.

At City of Rocks, you can see a variety of songbirds such as pinyon jays and scrub jays and a variety of other birds surrounding the feeders they have at the Visitor Center, plus Keck photographed a beautiful sharp-shinned hawk perched in a tree nearby, looking for a morning meal. The City of Rocks Visitor Center also has a birding guide.

birding-in-southern-idaho-2Christine Gertschen, the organizer of the Hagerman Bird Festival this year, lives in Hagerman and enjoys seeing all the birds in that area. "The birds come here because of the open water on the Snake River," she says. "Last night, I was watching a pair of great-horned owls. Birding is just crazy around here in the winter ... it's definitely a hot spot."

How to get started?According to an article in Audubon, all you need is a pair of binoculars and a basic field guide to birds. Perhaps a small pocket notebook would be handy for noting species. My partner Wendy Wilson is an expert birder, and she likes to use the Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America for identifying birds. That guide is very well-done and very detailed. But there are quite a few available.

Audubon suggests thinking about a particular species that you'd like to identify, and then go out and find it. The Hagerman Birding Festival would be a perfect way to learn how to get started birding from the experts and go out in the field and start your own bird list.

To sign up, call 208-352-3175 send an email to or visit (site will be live after the first of the year.) We'll see you at the festival!

If you plan to be visiting from out of town, look for lodging deals here at the Southern Idaho Tourism web site. Make your plans early and don't miss the Hagerman Birding Festival!
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Frederickson's Fine Candy

Who doesn't love a fresh piece of hand made chocolate?
When you are in need of a little something sweet or have a special someone you want to get a gift for Frederickson's Fine Candy in Twin Falls is the place to get it. Located near the Twin Falls Public Library, Frederickson's is found at 309 Hansen Street East in a small building full of big flavors.
As a kid my grandparents would go there every Valentines Day and buy their special Valentines chocolate cover caramel hearts wrapped in gold foil for each of their grand kids. They would very carefully peel back the cute red heart sticker on the back that held the gold foil in place and slide a folded up dollar bill inside, then seal it up tight again. Every year we knew that dollar would be there but it was like the scene from Willy Wonka when Charlie found the golden ticket inside the Wonka Bar.
Some of my favorite things from Fredrickson's are their chocolate dipped Oreos, the chocolate bandaids for life's boo boos and for the thrill seekers: jawbreakers in a variety of sizes and colors.

What's your favorite sweet treat from Frederickson's Fine Candy shop?

Find more at
Until our next adventure,
Idaho Bucket List

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The Trip of a Lifetime

By: Mary Keating

South-central Idaho --Sturgeon are the largest fresh-water fish in North America and can be found in three of Idaho’s major river systems; the Snake River, the Kootenai and the Salmon River. This prehistoric monster of the deep is fast becoming one of Idaho’s most popular game fish. Its enormous size and fighting strength have captured the hearts of anglers from around the world.


“The state (Idaho) record white sturgeon (by rod and reel) weighed 394 pounds and was caught on the Snake River,” according to Since records can no longer be recorded due to immediate catch and release of sturgeon (they cannot be removed from the water), no records have been kept for many years.

The healthiest populations of white sturgeon remaining in Idaho are found in the free-flowing stretch of the Snake River between the Bliss Dam and the upper end of C.J. Strike Reservoir in southern Idaho near Jerome. While some anglers choose to fish from the bank, others opt to take a guided fishing trip.

For Paul and Dariel Rochell of Farr West, UT, fishing for sturgeon in southern Idaho has become an annual event that spans three generations and over a half decade.

“For my dad, this was once in a lifetime trip,” Paul said. “When we booked our first guided fishing trip, we wanted to take my dad and our oldest son. At the time, my dad had some medical issues. The owner of Thirsty Fish Outfitters, Justin Johnson, gladly accommodated and met our needs; father, son and grandson were able to spend a day on the river catching sturgeon and memories. In fact, my dad caught a six-and-a-half foot sturgeon that took about 30 minutes to land; we have a collage of photos to remember this event.”

Fishing for the prehistoric giant white sturgeon requires patience and strength. The thrill of reeling in an enormous fish is a unique and unforgettable experience.


“It can take 15 minutes to an hour to reel in a fish,” said Paul. “Once you see the fish and you think the fight is over – hold on! It is exhilarating and I highly encourage people to experience this. Through the years we have been on trips with friends and family members and they have all loved it.”

The best time to fish for sturgeon in Idaho is between May and September. Johnson, who has been perfecting the art of sturgeon fishing for nearly twenty years, has owned and operated Thirsty Fish Outfitters for nine years and commented, “Fishing is fishing, sometimes you catch a big one and sometimes you simply enjoy the process.”

“We have done six trips and we have never had a bad experience,” Paul said. “The ride, views and atmosphere are always great and Justin gives his clients every opportunity to catch a sturgeon. He goes the extra mile to accommodate his guests who come from all over the world. Recently, he had two ladies from Norway on the boat. As a guide, Justin is interested in the totality of the sport and is concerned about those in the boat as well as maintaining and caring for the fish in the water.”

From the Frank C. Jones boat dock in Paradise Valley near Glenns Ferry, ID, anglers travel 21 miles up the Snake River to the Bliss Power Plant. It takes between 7-9 hours to complete the trip. While all the fishing necessities and water are included, guests need to bring food and drinks, an Idaho fishing license, sunscreen and clothing suitable for current weather conditions.

Looking to try something new or start an exciting family tradition? Thirsty Fish Outfitters is located in Jerome, ID. For more information on sturgeon fishing, guided trips or lodging visit or contact Justin at 208-539-0108. To find out more about fishing and recreational opportunities in southern Idaho head over to

Mary Keating is a regular contributor to Flourish Magazine and Pocatello Magazine; she is a national and state award-winning feature writer, a wife and mother. Find her at or on Facebook.

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Shawn & Camille's Perfect Day

A Total Twin Falls Experience - By Shawn Barigar


Shawn and Camille Barigar are collectively two of the busiest people in Twin Falls. Shawn is the CEO of the Twin Falls Chamber of Commerce and also serves on the City Council. Camille is the Fine Arts Coordinator at the College of Southern Idaho and is a fine actress who shares her talents in community productions.They add balance to their busy lives by being outside as much as possible.


Saturday morning. Time for a play day!

Camille and I settle into the comfy seats of our Huffy cruisers and head for the Twin Falls Farmers' Market. The leisurely ride from our home takes us through friendly neighborhoods where we're greeted with smiles and hearty "good mornings" from everyone we see.

Twin Falls has a developing network of multi-use trails centered around the showpiece Snake River Canyon. The paved system connects about 5 miles of spectacular terrain along the canyon rim running east and west at the north edge of the city. New bike lanes and shared pathways are being added this summer to link north-south routes to the network.

With the new system, we're able to have a safe and pleasant ride to the market. Some 40 vendors are set up this morning at the Breckenridge Endowment Farm on the College of Southern Idaho campus.

The setting celebrates the agricultural history of the region and offers a rural oasis separated from the hustle and bustle of the city.
First stop: Cloverleaf Creamery's Ice Cream stand. Nothing like a double scoop of Rocky Road in a waffle cone for breakfast! Cloverleaf's shop in Buhl (about 15 miles from Twin Falls) is one of our favorite places to stop when we're out and about. But it's even nicer for them to bring their delicious treats a little closer to home.

A wander around the market shows off arts, crafts, local fruits and veggies, and a variety of foods for us to load up on for the rest of our Saturday adventure. We pick up Panini sandwiches made with local meat and cheese and vegetables, a bag of cherries, tomatoes and basil, a loaf of bread, and Tom's Gourmet Spiced Pretzels: the one's with a spicy kick for Camille; sweet and salty for me. That'll do for snacks on the river this afternoon and bruschetta at home tonight.

On the way out, I couldn't resist the strawberry-rhubarb pie from Gramma's Country Pie Shop. It'll be the perfect dessert for tonight - if I can get it home on my bike. Just a little too big to fit in the basket. But I can strap it down with the bike lock for the ride home!

After setting aside the items for tonight (along with a note for our teenage boys that they are NOT to eat the pie before dinner), we trade in the bikes for our kayaks and head for the river. It's just a few-minute drive from home to the dock. We paddle up from Centennial Waterfront Park, under the span of the Perrine Bridge, and make it to Pillar Falls in about an hour. We beach the boats and unload our snacks for "lunch". A picnic on these rocks rising up in the middle of the river is so relaxing - you feel like you're miles from civilization. But you're right on the edge of the city, only you're 486 feet below the canyon rim.

We finish our snacks and paddle back toward the dock. We hang out for a bit under the Perrine Bridge because the BASE Jumpers are out today . These extreme athletes flock to Twin Falls as the bridge is one of the only places in the world where they can parachute without a permit. We see a pair of jumpers climb over the railing. Three - two - one! They leap one after another, freefalling for just a second or two. Then - the "swoosh" and "pop" of their chutes opening. They glide down and land on the bank right next to us. Again, hearty "hellos" and smiles all around.

Fifteen minutes later, we're loading up the boats and are headed for home.

Dinner menu: Uncle Otto's Smoked Sausages from Falls Brand - made right here in Twin Falls (and grilled to perfection if I don't say so myself!), toasted bruschetta with all the fresh ingredients we picked up this morning, and Gramma's strawberry-rhubarb pie for dessert. A nice glass of wine (or two) is the perfect end to another perfect day in Southern Idaho. Cheers!

By Shawn & Camille Barigar

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Dean's Perfect Day. With His Sons on the River


Dean Gibson spends his day making Magic Valley Produce in Burley one of the most successful food processors in Southern Idaho. Dean's passion is spending time with his sons enjoying the 30 miles of flatwater boating opportunities on the Snake River in the Burley area.

My perfect day on the Snake River starts with an early morning paddle board ride. After the paddle board, relaxing cup of coffee as I watch the river float bye. As the day warms up, we load the boat with the kids and their friends for a day of surfing, skiing, wakeboarding, and floating/swimming from the boat! Park the boat on a sandbar to walk around and play catch or Frisbee in the knee deep waters.

As the day progresses, other friends and boats come and go, giving us all a chance to catch up with good friends and enjoy the beautiful southern Idaho summer weather!! After a fun packed day on the river, we can take the boat to one of the restaurants located on the riverbanks for a nice steak or seafood dinner!

By Dean Gibson

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