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” (Utah.com).

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. Utah.com 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” (Utah.com).
  • 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. robstroud September 16, 2020 / 5:23 pm

    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

    • Chel Owens September 16, 2020 / 5:57 pm

      It sounds lovely.
      Utah sprays a mosquito abatement each year to help keep their numbers down!

      Like

  2. petespringerauthor September 16, 2020 / 11:26 pm

    I’ve seen the Great Salt Lake, but it seems that I need to get to Bonneville Salt Flats.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens September 16, 2020 / 11:33 pm

      Before coronavirus, everyone was doing her family pictures there.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. carolyncordon September 17, 2020 / 12:07 am

    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

    • Chel Owens September 17, 2020 / 8:17 am

      Thank you. 🙂

      That’s interesting about South Australia, and fascinating. I love learning about what life is like for others around the world.

      Liked by 1 person

      • carolyncordon September 18, 2020 / 12:11 am

        Thank you Chel, I found the information about your life, and the place where you live fascinating too!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Richmond Road September 17, 2020 / 1:00 am

    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

    • Chel Owens September 17, 2020 / 8:51 am

      😀 😀 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.

      Like

      • Richmond Road September 17, 2020 / 2:23 pm

        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

        • Chel Owens September 17, 2020 / 2:30 pm

          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.

          Like

          • Richmond Road September 17, 2020 / 4:11 pm

            I had to look up who Kristen Chenoweth is, by the way. We are starved of popular culture down here in the Antipodes.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Chel Owens September 17, 2020 / 5:30 pm

              I didn’t know her till she was their guest artist for Christmas. She was funny.

              Like

        • Chel Owens September 17, 2020 / 2:39 pm

          I realized you didn’t say the conductor. I can’t speak for whoever replaced Smoot, jr.; hopefully someone more cheery.

          Like

            • Chel Owens September 17, 2020 / 5:22 pm

              You two should’ve gone out for a gin and tonic.

              Like

                • Richmond Road September 17, 2020 / 5:35 pm

                  Whoops …. ‘kind of guy’. He certainly didn’t treat me like royalty. A few gins might have loosened him up a bit, perhaps.

                  Liked by 1 person

  5. Hobbo September 17, 2020 / 2:18 am

    It looks an awesome, fabulous place. Might have to add it to my places to visit…if we ever beat this Covid 19 menace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens September 17, 2020 / 8:54 am

      Don’t worry, most Utahns don’t hold with that Covid nonsense here…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Norah September 17, 2020 / 4:50 am

    You’ve got some great photos there, Chelsea. I lived for about 18 months in an area surrounded by salt lakes. They could be quite beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens September 17, 2020 / 8:56 am

      Thank you, Norah. Was that near South Australia, as another blogger wrote?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Norah September 20, 2020 / 12:29 am

        I was in Western Australia, but there are some in South Australia too.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Jules September 17, 2020 / 3:57 pm

    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

    • Chel Owens September 17, 2020 / 5:28 pm

      Ouch! I only get bit around breeding areas. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. H.R.R. Gorman September 19, 2020 / 11:15 am

    I’m very interested in what composes these “other minerals”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens September 19, 2020 / 1:23 pm

      Knowing Utah, probably something heavy metal. – and, no, not the cool kind of heavy metal.

      Liked by 1 person

      • H.R.R. Gorman September 22, 2020 / 4:59 pm

        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

  9. S. Chersis September 20, 2020 / 8:47 pm

    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

    • Chel Owens September 20, 2020 / 9:06 pm

      I haven’t heard of that one. He’s a Mormon -or was- so I can understand why he’d use some familiar landscape. And I’m glad he finally got rid of the flies!

      Liked by 1 person

      • S. Chersis September 20, 2020 / 9:08 pm

        Last I heard he still was, although I haven’t heard much about him since ~2008 (other than he’s still writing).

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chel Owens September 20, 2020 / 9:10 pm

          I ought to sic my LDS spy network on him… 😉

          Liked by 1 person

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