Tour of Utah: the Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake is one of the most well-known features of Utah. After Arches, Mormons, and Mormons; nearly everyone associates Utah with “[t]he largest salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere” (

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

In elementary school, I learned that it is what’s left of an ENORMOUS Lake Bonneville that covered Utah, Nevada, and Idaho a mere 10,000 to 30,000 years ago. I also learned of its salinity (about 12%, more than the ocean) and that people used to float in it as a recreational gimmick.

I’ve been there; from biking across the causeway (Antelope Island Road) to the lake’s main attraction, Antelope Island, to touring the island’s bison reserve and trying to enjoy the island’s beach.

Photo by Erin on Unsplash

Yep; trying.

You see: the Great Salt Lake is really cool, but is home to some unpleasantness in the hotter months. I’m talking brine flies and mosquitoes. If you’re not far enough inland or far enough water-bound, they’re gonna bite ya.

The Great Salt Lake has a smell. In winter, we refer to it as “The Lake.” Catchy, I know. The light stench is a mix of moldy sea and salty brine flies.

It’s not all flies and stink, however. The lake is pretty amazing. claims that swimmers can still float. Their website reminds us of the countless animal (mostly bird) refuges in the marshes of the lake’s edges. We Utahns enjoy amazingly beautiful vistas, whether hiking East of the lake or on Antelope Island itself.

The Great Salt Lake’s science facts are also nifty:

  • “Four rivers and numerous streams empty into the Great Salt Lake, carrying dissolved minerals. The lake has no outlet so these minerals are trapped. Continual evaporation concentrates the minerals. Several businesses extract table salt and other chemicals from the lake water” (
  • In winter, Utah experiences a Lake Effect similar to being near the ocean; problem is, this creates poor air quality when coupled with the Rocky and Oquirrh Mountains.
  • And, as mentioned, it is the eighth-largest terminal lake in the world, nicknamed ‘America’s Dead Sea.’

Bonus fact: because of the lake and its surroundings, Utah has the really awesome, surreal Bonneville Salt Flats nearby.

Here’s this week’s breakdown:

Wednesday, September 9: “Tour of Utah: Flaming Gorge.” Try the river-rafting.

Friday, September 11: Announced the winner of the A Mused Poetry Contest, Richmond Road.

Saturday, September 12: The second A Mused Poetry Contest! The subject is Warning Labels. Let me know if your poetry submission doesn’t work.

Another COVID-19 update. We’re all in this together.

Sunday, September 13: My entry for Carrot Ranch’s prompt, “Time in a Radio.”

Monday, September 14: Shared a quote from Linda Andersen.

And, “Science Fiction?” Is it?

©2020 Chel Owens

49 thoughts on “Tour of Utah: the Great Salt Lake

  1. Very interesting tour. I’ve only flown and driven through Utah, and never visited “the Lake.” Read quite a bit about it, but never with the personal touch you provide here.

    Mosquitoes are a bane of many places. Here in the Puget Sound area we have too many ponds and breeding puddles… but I do love seeing all the dragonflies that arrive each year to aid us in the battle. Even more the lovely hummingbirds we enjoy most of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a lovely blog post about a place I knew nothing about. I’m from South Australia, and we have out own salt pans and mosquitoes, but the photographs are not as lovely as those on this post! I will read more on your blog, and hope to learn even more interesting things!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. On my only visit to Utah (so far) I was a guest of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It was a bizarre experience.
    One of the more memorable aspects of it was trying to get my head around the service of alcohol rules. We were staying in the Sheraton and after a whole lot of formalities we managed to escape to the bar. On the tables were coasters advertising the fact that, “we serve the cheapest gin and tonics in America”. This struck me as a bit hard to believe but a few of the girls decided to give it a try. The waiter provided the explanation.
    “We can’t actually sell you the gin,” he explained, “but we can sell you the tonic. Then all you have to do is walk out the front door, turn left down the first side-street, knock on the wooden door and the guy will answer it and sell you a bottle of gin. He’ll put it in a brown paper bag for you. Then just come back to the bar and mix your own drink.”

    I jest you not. That is what happened. Things got even weirder as the night went on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😀 😀 What a very odd way to advertise.

      Having never drunk in my life, I can’t arrest to what’s normal, but that experience sounds like if, needing to relieve myself, I were directed to a shady toilet seat salesman around back and then needed to affix said seat to the toilet in the lobby. That’s what you get for having such strict plumbing laws, I suppose.


      1. Well …. I wasn’t making a judgement about it – the whole thing just seemed a bit cumbersome, as does your toilet seat dilemma. But perfectly normal, I suppose, if you have been brought up with such things.

        Here’s another memory from way back then. The choir was led by a man called Smoot (I cant remember his first name) – he was not part of the choir itself but there merely in an organisational and managerial capacity. For a deeply religious man (I assumed he was, but I may have been wrong) he struck me as someone almost totally bereft of human kindness. He was difficult to the point of being obnoxious. He seemed to belong in a Charles Dickens novel, and his name fitted hi well.

        I just looked him up …. he was president from 1984-2000 and his full name was, according to the records ‘Smoot, Wendell Means, Jr.’. He even had ‘mean’ in his name!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ha! The current choir leader is a bit of a …serious man as well! I wouldn’t describe him as mean, but he’s very serious about his music sounding good. Kristen Chenoweth gave him a hug and he smiled, though.


  4. I’ve been to several states… Utah hasn’t been one of them.
    Since mosquitoes love me… I think I might just have to settle for your lovely blog tour.
    Even after covering up to take care of some garden chores… I still got two bites today on my neck!
    Put some salve on and the bites have stopped swelling!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha – when I went to Idaho with my husband, I found out that in Idaho Falls they have a station called KBear 101. Southeastern Idaho’s only “REAL” rock station. So maybe it’s the cool kind too, haha

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, hey–I recently read “Salvage” by Card that took place in this lake. He didn’t mention the dreadful brine flies, so I can only assume even they couldn’t escape the apocalypse.

    Liked by 1 person

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