There was simply too much to see, too many sights that demanded attention, contemplation, worship…and photographs.
My kids who still live in Salt Lake City had told me about the record snowfall for the past winter and spring; I had also read about it on one of the social media sites from the area that I follow.
I guess I expected that some of the earlier season’s snowmelt would have made it to The Great Salt Lake and would have raised the water level a bit…would have raised it “any” amount, actually.
There was water, of course, mostly north of the causeway from my vantage point, enough to provide those morning reflections that are inspiring in and of themselves…
…and enough, too, to afford the many waterfowl a place to forage, play, rest, and provide still other morning reflections that cause occasional human observers to stop along their various ways to attend, contemplate, worship…and photograph.
Also striking were the morning’s colors…the peachy orangish pink of the waking sky, shining of themselves above, and in the myriad reflections below…
…the black, dark purple, blue and gray of the lake’s living water…
…and the sage, green, rust, and straw colors of the waterside vegetation.
Cast all of those, too, among the brightening gold and greens of the covered hillsides and coves…
…the yellow faces and bonnets of the solitary individuals and masses of sunflowers…
…and finally the rich blacks and browns of the wandering bison.
It was a feast for my desert dwelling eyes.
It has been a favorite pastime of mine for the past nine or so years to hike and to explore the mountains and canyons or desert plains and hills in my surround…
…or in the case of the last five years, in addition to the deserts, etc., the forests, mountains, and mesas that are within a few hours’ drive of where I live.
When I have had good or better fortune, I have been able to go back to those preferred mountains and islands of my not so distant past…
…those beloved places up north, and hike and explore and simply exist again in the environment or locale that remains in my core as “home.”
At some point in the early part of those few years that I lived up north, it became preferable to start the specific adventure, to be at the designated trailhead, before sunrise.
There were fewer cars in the parking lots, fewer pairs of boots on the trails heading into the mountains…
…and a greater chance of capturing the essence of an undisturbed morning’s peace when starting at such an hour.
In application to my southern journeys, it became prudent to start this early, so as to avoid the greater heat of the day by completing the trek and returning to my truck before noon.
That said, I had determined to arrive at the trailhead to Frary Peak on Antelope Island before the sun rose and started warming the northern Utah August day.
Well…I made it to the Antelope Island State Park entrance before sunrise…
…but was then waylaid by the views north and south and east and west while driving on the causeway to the island, so I didn’t make it to the trailhead until nearly an hour after sunrise.
One might suggest that we “stole away,” my son and I, when his wife (whom I refer to as my daughter, as she is so precious), took their girls to a Halloween party in the neighborhood. We went on another excursion to a favored place of ours, Antelope Island State Park, just north and west of Salt Lake City, in the southeast portion of The Great Salt Lake. On our four trips out to the island, we have seen some familiar sights, but like on each of the other ventures, we managed to see parts of it that were new to us, as well. On this occasion, we headed-out to Lady Finger Point…and then beyond, to Egg Island, a portion of our day’s wanderings that I will cover in another post.
Maybe I should have used the above image in my recent post, Antelope Island Reflectioning, but it was rather removed from that locale, so it seems to fit better with this one.
With the wide-open spaces and the distant horizon, it’s difficult to ascertain distance and size…
…so it was rather fortuitous when a couple of fellow-wanderers happened into my gaze, in the above photo, when we were checking-out the area from the elevated trail.
This last photo shows the bit of revealed lake bottom that leads out to Egg Island…that perch of elevated ground immediately in front of us out there. I was struck by the lines of residue that the receding water left behind over the past months (?)…captivating and leading our line of sight to the west and beyond to what was formerly unknown to us, except in name only…Egg Island.
If you’re interested in viewing other posts from our wanderings on Antelope Island, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the titled link under the Categories widget.
That might not really be a word, “reflectioning,” but I’m not too concerned about what it really might or might not be. It struck me as appropriate when I was viewing the photos I made from my fourth and most recent trip out to Antelope Island State Park, Utah. Maybe it can become a word if enough people begin and continue to use it…so go ahead and try it out, if you’d like…use it in a few sentences…try to fit it in somehow on your Christmas cards this year…it’s not trademarked or anything….
Anyway…my Utah son and I made another trek to the island this past October and I brought home these photos. If you can recall any of my other trips out there (you can find them by searching in the archives [below] of February and September of 2012, and again in February of 2014), you might notice how much lower the water level is this time.
This Wikipedia article on the Great Salt Lake addresses the fluctuating lake levels, record lows and highs…as well as many other interesting things lake-related.
There wasn’t much of a breeze, no gusting winds, and no scalding sunshine (it was sunny, but nice), so while the inversion/smog layer was out there in the distance polluting the sky, it made for nice layering effects for the captured images.
I would have preferred the above photo to include the top of the island in the reflection, but that was not to be had, thanks to the water level. Hmm…having just typed that, I might have been able to get it in the image if I had stood on top of my son’s car as it was parked on the causeway behind us…. I don’t think he would have appreciated that, though, as he just picked it up from the dealership that week.
This person was of a similar mind, being out there with a camera (phone?) and taking advantage of the simple marvels offered by a little trip to the island on a Saturday afternoon. All of those black specks in the image are actually birds, not dirt on the camera lens. 🙂
The following is yet another set of discoveries along the south shore of The Great Salt Lake…images made on a Saturday afternoon in late February, 2014…..depending on where you stand and where you are looking, you can see the Stansbury Mountains to the southwest, Stansbury Island to the west, Black Rock simply there in its curious prominence, or Antelope Island toward the north and east. For those interested, the pier pilings are the only remains of the Black Rock Resort. You can click here to be taken to a Deseret News article about the resorts that have come and gone from the shores of The Great Salt Lake…and, if you’d like, you can click on any photo in the following gallery to be taken to a slide-show that presents the images in a larger format.
…south and west from the south shore of The Great Salt Lake, actually…and there are more than just clouds and mountains in the reflections on the water…memories running in varied scripts and images recalling the day, smelling the salt and saturated gray earth of the increasingly visible lake bed and hearing the cries of gulls on the freezing wind.
I knew where I was going when I left the house that morning, but I can’t remember the time on the clock. I had been out to Antelope Island three weeks earlier and knew that I had to get to Stansbury Island, as well…it was just down the road, really, closer than Antelope…just head west on I-80…can’t miss it. From the house it would have been an easy 30-45 minute drive, maybe more….probably…..and five hours and almost 300 photos later, I was heading home again….I saw so many things that were new to me, walked in places that I had previously only seen on a map that was pinned to my cubicle wall at work or existed as ideas of potential things…notions…possibilities….places that filled my senses and soul with experiences that still live in tangible form these 15 months later.
This is one of the last images from that trip…taken at 2:20 on a Saturday afternoon in late February, 2014.
This is a wider angle of a similar image that you might remember from my earlier post, Sailboats on The Great Salt Lake. Looking west, that is Stansbury Island in the background…a continuation of the string of mountains that have the same name and extend several miles south from the lake.
I made the images from this last series on the way back to the mainland from Antelope Island. About three hours had passed since I made the earlier images of the tree stump that you might remember from the first post in this study. Much of the fog had cleared and the clouds were slowly parting, allowing the blue sky to be revealed over the island behind the dramatic clouds.
If you’re not sick and tired of viewing images from Antelope Island and actually want to see more, either from this series or the other visits, you can scroll to the bottom of the page, find the Categories widget toward the right side, and then click on Antelope Island to view a continuous feed of all the earlier posts.
I spent a few hours on Stansbury Island and the south shore of The Great Salt Lake this past weekend…and while I know that I was a few to several hundred yards away from the freeway during much of the time, I can’t honestly remember hearing any of the traffic that passed behind me. I do, however, remember being entranced by the images of triangle sails moving ever so slowly on the lake’s horizon, the sounds of gulls calling above me, and the clouds that shone in their vivid whiteness in the crazy blue of the late February sky. All of that, combined with the chilly wind coming across the lake, made for an incredible afternoon.