In December 2020, I attempted to spread some holiday spirit to one of southern Idaho's most iconic natural landmarks. Armed with a bag of flashlights, a portable power supply, and a couple of Star Showers, I accompanied my daughter on the brief hike to the base of Balanced Rock in the middle of the night.

Balanced Rock is located near Castleford and approximately 25 miles from Twin Falls. It's a beloved state landmark that towers over Highway 30 along the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway in Twin Falls County. Balanced Rock Park is less than a mile from the 40-ton, 15-million-year-old formation, and is one of my favorite places to kayak in southern Idaho.

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It's been two years since I photographed my cold, December evening hike up Balanced Rock to test out an experiment. I still remember how bitter cold it was. I took a series of pictures of the highly-revered rock on December 1, 2020, lit up with red and green laser lights. The hike is less than a mile up and takes 15 to 20 minutes.

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Greg Jannetta

One of the photos (left) reminds me of the mountain the Grinch looked down on the residents of Whoville from in the iconic holiday cartoon. Most people see the Star Shower lights pointed at the front of homes throughout Twin Falls. I wanted to see if the lasers were powerful enough to light up Balanced Rock, and what I saw after switching on the projectors still gives me chills when I think of it, even though the photographs don't do the experience justice.

I think the landmark should be lit for the Christmas holiday every year. It sure would make that stretch of Highway 30 something to see in December.

Balanced Rock Star Shower Dec 1 2020

Hansen Rock Creek Christmas Lights 2020

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