Field Trip to Antelope Island

It’s always pleasing when a recommendation (direct or otherwise) from a friend results in a rewarding experience.  About two weeks ago, Fergiemoto commented on my Salt Lake City Seagull post and mentioned that you can see LOTS of sea-gulls on the causeway that leads from the mainland to Antelope Island out in the Great Salt Lake.  As I have lived in the Salt Lake area for just over a year and had not yet ventured out to visit the lake up-close and personal, let alone traveled the 40 miles north of the city to visit Antelope Island, it seemed like a good time to do so.  It was a rather chilly and windy February morning and afternoon, and while there were plenty of birds flying about and resting in the lake’s water, I have to admit that I didn’t take particular notice of the gulls…there were too many other things that captured my attention and begged for me to stop the truck and take their pictures.  Anyway…thank you, Fergiemoto, for your recommendation.  It was a wonderful day-adventure.  🙂

Antelope Island is about 15 miles long and 4.5 miles wide and is the largest of the six or eight or more islands that exist in the Great Salt Lake.  This photo was taken on the road that lies on the eastern side of the island and leads out to a farm/ranch near the north end of the island that was originally established in the late 1800’s.  Even though the island is smack-dab in the middle of a lake that has greater salinity than the oceans, there are more than 40 fresh-water springs on this eastern side of the island that serve as water sources for the natural and imported wild-life.   Aside from the prong-horn antelope, from which the island gets its name, there is also a herd of more than 600 imported buffalo, or American Bison, that roam freely over the island.  There are also long-horned sheep, mule-deer, bob-cats, coyotes, and many ducks, gulls, other water-birds, and raptors.  The state-park literature also reports that Bald-Eagles frequent the island during their seasonal migrations.

We didn’t spot this antelope until we were actually leaving the island.  As I got out of the truck to take the photos, I heard him making some barking-type sound…almost like he was calling to his friends to come back.  A cyclist who had also stopped to look at the antelope and listen to his calls said that this particular antelope was a male, as only males have the black cheek markings and a bit of a mane that runs down the middle of the neck.

I think it’s remarkable that we could be on an island in the middle of the Great Salt Lake and see buffalo resting in the tall and winter-dried grasses.

The boys were eager to get out of the truck and climb the rocks…having fun with their own little adventures and seemingly mindless of the chilling wind.  There was a bit of haze on the lake…maybe an inversion layer of vehicle particle emissions…or salt dust carried in with the winds from the desert south and west of the lake.  Those are the Wasatch Mountains in the background.

I’ve seen these deer in the mountains of Colorado and in the mountains and canyons of Utah and Arizona…but on an island in the middle of the Great Salt Lake?  Yep…

When I mentioned in my earlier post, Mass and Form, about trying to get a good profile shot of the bison/buffalo, this is the closest and best that I could get.  He kept moving in circles away from me….

Everyone had a nice time driving and walking about the island…even my 3yo grand-daughter.  This last photo was taken near the farm/ranch on the north end of the island.  You can see that the winter grass has been mown beyond the fence.


30 responses

  1. I love the colours in this, the washed out grass and the variable brilliance of lake and sky – and that’s pretty close to a buffalo! Wonderful.

    February 26, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    • Thank you, Helen. When we arrived out at the island, I was skeptical about how the pictures would turn-out…but it appears that everything came-out ok. I love the earth colors…and yes, the lake and sky. I like your words, “variable brilliance.” Very nice. 🙂 Thank you again.

      February 26, 2012 at 1:28 pm

  2. Stunning scenery and wildlife. Fabulous pictures. It really does look like a great day out! 🙂

    February 26, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    • Thank you, Chillbrook…it was a wonderful day. 🙂

      February 26, 2012 at 2:18 pm

  3. A beautiful field trip!

    February 26, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    • Yes, it was, Lemony…thank you. 🙂

      February 26, 2012 at 2:23 pm

  4. Awesome post and great information! I’m glad you were able to see some animals. Utah is a beautiful state from the Wasatch Mountain range and great skiing in the north (well, with better snow years), the parks in southern Utah and many things in between. There are many wonderful places to explore and it’s great you are getting out and enjoying them.

    February 26, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    • Thank you, again, Fergiemoto…we had a wonderful time and it was great to get out and share in what our new home has to offer. And it was especially nice for the kids (and me) to see the wildlife…all part of the reward. 🙂

      February 26, 2012 at 2:23 pm

  5. Don’t you get listeria from Antelope? Wait, that’s cantaloupe.
    Good pictures, great post.

    February 26, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    • Wow…I don’t know, MIke…maybe? Thank you. 🙂

      February 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm

  6. What a fabulous place. It feels absolutely vast from your pictures. Great images especially the first one and the last one.

    (Are the buffalo increasing their range again naturally or is it a combination of that and human intervention?)

    February 26, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    • It was truly beautiful, Finn…and thank you for the nice words. I’m not sure about the buffalo increasing their range. I believe they only exist on farms or ranches nowadays in our country. From what I understand, the buffalo on Antelope Island, somewhere around 600 of them, are decendants of only 12 animals that were brought there in 1893. I don’t know if the original ranch owners (or the State of Utah, as the current “owners” of the island) have introduced others over the years to help with genetic diversity, but I do know they have an annual round-up to check their health and then to sell some of them.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:47 pm

  7. jakesprinter

    You have a great moments there in Antelope Island,Beautiful entry 🙂

    February 26, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    • Thank you, Jake. 🙂

      February 26, 2012 at 6:15 pm

  8. Your photos are, as usual, amazing! You have taken us on an outing that I had no idea exited. I did not know there were islands in the Great Salt Lake let alone islands with such diversity.

    February 26, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    • Well thank you, Miss Bonnie! I’m so glad you enjoyed the outing and the photos…and learned something to boot! It was all news to me, too. 🙂

      February 26, 2012 at 6:50 pm

  9. Beautiful photos! I’ve never seen a buffalo that close before, but we do have reindeer in our yard in the winter – not quite as intimidating. It’s nice to see photos of another family out on a hike and enjoying nature. I found your blog via George Weaver and the ABC award. Looking forward to following your blog and being inspired by your photos and writing.

    February 27, 2012 at 4:15 am

    • Thank you for the very nice words, Erica. I had never seen a buffalo that close before, either…was rather odd to do so. It must be wonderful to have reindeer in your yard…we’ve had mule-deer in our yards in Colorado and Utah, but never reindeer…there seems to be something rather mythical or magical about them, but then again, I don’t live where they do. And yes, we did have a nice family outing…doesn’t occur often like that, but it was very special.

      I’m touched that you would visit on George’s recommendation…she has a wonderful site…and is a precious lady.

      Thank you for visiting, Erica, and for your comment. I shall visit soon. Scott 🙂

      February 27, 2012 at 7:09 am

  10. Terrific series of photos! I didn’t even know that existed. That pronghorn is a beautiful specimen!

    February 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    • Thank you, Montucky…I didn’t know either! I thought the pronghorn was quite beautiful, too. I can’t wait to go back out to the island when all of those sunflowers are in bloom…oh, the pictures!

      February 27, 2012 at 10:15 pm

  11. David Patterson

    What an amazing place! Super story and awesome photographs too.

    February 29, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    • It was amazing, David…and thank you for the nice words. 🙂

      February 29, 2012 at 10:25 pm

  12. Some beautiful shots here – I particularly like the one of the boys with the mountains in the background! And the bison – and the very last shot, too! Great day out!

    March 3, 2012 at 3:49 am

    • I was very happy with the photos, too, Dreams and Zeros…thank you. And I do love the last one in particular. 🙂

      March 3, 2012 at 7:50 am

  13. I love the wide open spaces the West offers. One day I hope to visit. One of my ‘bucket list’ things to do is to join a ‘real’ trail wide, where I really ride and enjoy the sights to be seen in some of our Western States. Really nice photos, beautiful colors.

    March 3, 2012 at 8:37 am

    • I do love the wide open spaces out here, too…but also love the mountains on the near horizon…kind of a warm enveloping of nature. I think a “real” trail ride might be fun. I hope you get there, too…maybe you can share some of your photos with us. Thank you for the nice words about the photos. 🙂

      March 3, 2012 at 9:01 am

      • You are welcome, all said with the utmost of sincerity. I need to get another camera. The one I used for the majority of the shots I am posting wore out on me. The camera I have now is too bulky to tote along on a trail ride. But one day, and when I do, I will be taking lots of photos to share!. 🙂 In the meantime, I am grateful to all of my fellow bloggers who are allowing me to see the world through their eyes. 😉

        March 3, 2012 at 9:08 am

        • Well I shall be watching and waiting for those photos, Marcy. And in the meantime, I hope you enjoy looking in on my little corner of the world. 🙂

          March 3, 2012 at 9:21 am

  14. Amazing! Nothing beats pure nature 🙂

    June 4, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    • So true, Eva…so true. 🙂

      June 4, 2012 at 11:13 pm

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