Saturday, September 22, 2012

Great Salt Lake- September 17, 2012

This morning we went about 20 miles north of the campground to Antelope Island state park on the Great Salt Lake.  A causeway connects the island to the mainland.  Antelope Island is the largest island in the Lake of 28,000 acres.  Our first stop was at the visitor’s center, a rather rustic structure.  The Lake is so briny that only brine shrimp and brine flies can survive in it.  The shrimp and flies are a source of food for the birds that migrate through the area.  The saltiness is due to there not being an outlet from the Lake- in the spring water from several river sources flood into the lake causing the Lake to rise and then as summer continues on the water level drops due to evaporation.  As evaporation occurs mineral deposits which include salt is left and the salinity of the Lake rises.
Leaving the Visitor’s Center we rode up to an area called Buffalo Point that had a trail to climb higher up.  We walked up a short distance but there was thick smoke from forest fires in Idaho that impaired viewing.   We then drove down to the Fielding Garr Ranch.  The ranch house is the oldest standing Anglo building in Utah.  In 1848  Fielding Garr, a Mormon, had been assigned to establish a ranch on the island for managing the church tithing herds.  The ranch was operated by the Mormon until the mid-1870’s.  A businessman, John Dooly, Sr. bought the island and brought 12 bison on the land.  Sheep ranching was also set up and became one of the largest in the western states with more than 10,000 sheep.  A failing wool market in the 1950s caused a change to cattle ranching was continued until 1981 when the island became a state park.
The ranch is now a museum for the public to wander through.  The bison herd has grown to over 600 and are rounded up yearly with some being sold off in order to control the size of the herd.
This evening we went into Salt Lake City.  We could see the capitol from quite a distance and after driving up some steep hills we were able to park and take some pictures.  From there we went to Temple Square where the Mormon Temple, Tabernacle and Assembly are located.  The monument dedicated to the seagulls that saved the crops from the locust or grasshoppers is also located in this Square.  Quite an impressive group of buildings with beautiful flower beds everywhere.