Thursday, August 15, 2013

Our Visit to the Great Salt Lake/Antelope Island

This summer we took a day trip out to Antelope Island, Utah which is surrounded by The Great Salt Lake.  The Great Salt Lake is a remnant of the great ice age lake, Lake Bonneville. The lake contains between 4.5 to 4.9 billion tons of salt, most of which is simply common salt.  I've read that it is 10 times saltier than the ocean. 
I was very eager to go for a visit, but had read and heard horror stories about the lake.  That the stench of sulfur was overwhelming, that the bugs would eat us alive, etc.  Our experience was the complete opposite of that. 
When we first drove onto the island, you could smell sulfur, but it wasn't overwhelming and after a bit, we didn't even notice it at all. It was a hot day in July when we went, so maybe all the bugs were taking a vacation somewhere nice and cool, because I didn't notice any of those either.

When we finally got down to the lake's edge, we noticed these brine flies ( those black dots on the water above).  Apparently, they border the entire edge of the lake.  They do not bite and they move out of the way as you walk.  I thought they were fascinating.  They did not swarm or bother us at all, like your common house fly.

I was anticipating the water to be cold but was pleasantly surprised that is was about 80 degrees.  Perfect!  After we walked out past the rocks, the sand was nice and soft.  You had to walk for quite a while to get into the water very deep.  From what I've read, the lake is only about 16 feet or so deep. 

The water is too salty for fish and other animals to survive in.  However, the lake is home to thousands of pink brine shrimp, brine flies and millions of native birds.  The water is so crystal clear, that you can see these tiny shrimp swimming all over. 

The salinity is so great that you can literally float like a cork.  It is something I highly suggest anyone who visits the Salt Lake to try.  An absolutely amazing experience.

The only negative is getting the salt water in your eyes or mouth.  Not fun at all!

Our hair and clothing were stiff with salt when we came out of the water.  Luckily, there are showers at the top by the parking lot to rinse off at.  You can see the residual salt on my son in the above picture.

We had an wonderful time visiting The Great Salt Lake.  The views are gorgeous, whichever way you look.  In my opinion, it is a MUST DO if you are in the area during the summer!

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