The Great Salt Lake
Surrounded by the Great Salt Lake is a 28,000 acre island called Antelope Island. The island stretches about 15 miles long and 5 miles wide. For the next few days we will call it… home!
Never having been to the Great Salt Lake, we found this few days to be relaxing, enlightening and surprising. The park was almost completely empty when we arrived, so our lack of reservations were not a problem and the rates were very affordable at $15.00 per night. This was dry camping with no hookups, however, we had our pick of RV Sites and the scenery and vistas saturated our senses.
After getting set up, we headed down to the water to see what was so great about the Great Salt Lake? The first thing I noticed was the stink and then as we drove down to the water, there was wildlife everywhere. We saw our first Pronghorn Antelope grazing near the shore and the coloration on the animal was quite incredible. Pronghorn Antelope are the fastest animals in North America and can reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour. It is also reported that California Big Horn Sheep inhabited the island, but we didn’t see any. We also didn’t see any Coyotes but we did hear their serenades at night. We parked alongside the lake and walked down to the waters edge. I couldn’t help myself and had to dip my finger in and taste it. YUCK! Imagine a shotglass of water with a full teaspoon of salt stirred in and you’d be close. Actually, the salinity is around 27%. For a reference, our oceans are about 3.5%. Some call the Great Salt Lake – America’s Dead Sea, but in reality it is a habitat to millions of native birds and brine shrimp. Yes, something can actually live in that level of salinity. The smell that was strong at the waters edge was a natural “lake stink” caused by the decay of insects and other wildlife, particularly during times of low water. Thankfully the smell did not drift as far as the campsites.
Bison are the most famous residents. Twelve animals were brought to the island in 1897 and were the foundation for today’s herd of 550 – 700. An annual bison roundup is held each fall to assess the health of the herd and sell extra animals.
As we were getting ready for dinner I noticed out the window of the motorhome that there were some other campers pointing up the hill behind our motorhome. I stepped out to take a look and saw a large buffalo (bison) about 200 yards away. As I watched him graze and wander lazily in my direction, I grabbed the camera and we watched as he continued towards us, seemingly with no cares in the world. This big boy continued to graze and walked right up to our motorhome and then sauntered past almost appearing to give us his approval to stay for the night. He seemed pretty relaxed and why shouldn’t he? When your the biggest creature on the island, life is better.
Moral to the story … “Life is better at the top of the food chain”!