Sunday May 26.
We make it to 8 AM Mass at the oldest Catholic Church (built in 1883) still in use in Utah. (Not that Catholicism is real strong in Utah.) The priest recognizes that Chris is not a regular and asks her where she is from and greets her again after Mass like an old friend.
We are heading today to Antelope Island State Park, supposedly the best place to view the Great Salt Lake. It takes an hour to get there, the entrance sign says “biting gnats active today”. We could see them massed outside the car window. The web site had indicated “no-see-ums” were likely from April to June and that bug spray was not effective. Intrepid travelers that we are, we forge ahead anyway.
After driving over the 7 mile causeway to reach the island, we find that we are in luck again. A breezy day on the island seems to blow the bugs elsewhere.
The Great Salk Lake is about 35 miles by 70 miles. It is salty since water flows into it but with no outlet, water evaporates leaving various minerals and salts behind. Like Mono Lake, it is inhabited by briny shrimp and algae that break down the salts and help keep the salinity reasonable. It is an important migratory bird refuge, who feed on the shrimp and algae. You can see reddish areas in the water where these are clustering. The average depth is about 13 feet.
The lake has 9 islands in it, Antelope being the largest. Antelope was farmed for many decades. It is only in the last several decades that the state has owned it all and made it into a park. It is home to antelope, mule deer, big horn sheep, bison, etc. We come across the antelope and bison.
A second reason to visit the park is that this weekend it is hosting the Cowboy Poetry and Music festival and it is being held at the historical farm site on the island. It is a three day festival,with three stages. The cowboy singing alternates with poetry recital on each stage. When we first arrive, the crowd is light but it has picked up considerably by the time of our departure. We spend several comfortable hours listening to music and poetry on three stages.
On the return trip, we make a brief stop at the University of Utah”s Botanical Garden for a pleasant interlude.
Ed and Chris May 26 11:30 pm