Winter has been hard on more than our plein air painting. We found this dead barn owl under a tree down in Rock Creek. It's hard for an owl to find food under six inches of snow. Lots of barn owls suffer from car collisions during this time of year trying to catch mice at night as they try to cross the open roads.
The area around Twin Falls is called Magic Valley mainly because this desert has been changed by irrigation. Engineers damned the snake river and run water all across the valley to allow for crops that would never grow here in this high desert. The reliability of snow run off (which has been a little less reliable as of late) allows for nearly guaranteed crops and consequently:magic. Other magical things happen in the area. The image above is of some of the natural springs that poor out of the walls of the Snake River down in the Hagerman Valley. Millions of gallons of clean spring water poor out of the walls of the canyon, fed by run off that travels for years through the basalt layers. The water is perfect temperature for raising trout, which why this area is also called the trout capital of the world.
Yes you can fish in some of the springs. This one's for you Andy.
Other magical natural wonders found in the area include alligators. Yes, alligators can be found at Miracle Hot Springs. Many thermal springs are available here. We stopped and enjoyed a private hot springs bath. The water runs out of a well at 140 degrees, it is cooled down and piped into a swimming pool and private baths. The Idaho gators bask in the warm water in their own private pool.