Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Labor Day 2013: Floating in (the) Great Salt Lake

As I mentioned in my previous post:

We had trout for lunch on Labor Day, a 14 incher caught the day before at Hoop Lake.
If you look carefully, you will see that the ash tree outside our kitchen window is flirting with turning gold

The deck flower pots are still in summer party mode though.

And our son's tomato garden is still pumping out heritage tomatoes like crazy!
Ahhh...Labor Day!
We started a Labor Day tradition here five years ago.
We had moved from Houston to Salt Lake in mid August.
Moving, (in case you have never done a move yourself) is stressful.
I had heard that one floats like a cork in the salty waters of (the) Great Salt Lake, and wanted to experience that kind of floating personally.
What could be a better way to celebrate Labor than floating, which requires NO labor at all.
Something that is bound to relieve stress.
You can see a post about our first float HERE.
It was so great relaxing and beautiful that we decided then and there that floating in (the) Great Salt Lake on Labor Day would be our new tradition.
(You are probably wondering why I keep putting "the" in brackets.  Recently I read a scold in our local newspaper about adding a "the" in front of "Great Salt Lake".  Apparently it is as improper to do so...like saying "we are going swimming in the Lake Michigan".  Try as I may, I can't quite break the "the" habit; it sound weird to me to say "We're going swimming in Great Salt Lake"...
  I will keep adding the brackets until I get used to the idea of dropping the "the".)
So off we go, driving about 45 minutes from home to Antelope Island in Great Salt Lake.
The island is reached by driving over a causeway.
Usually the causeway is bordered by water on both sides; we were shocked there was dry land for quite a distance instead.
Still it was quite beautiful.
I shot photos as we drove along.

Magical isn't it?

Breath taking beauty.
(What you thankfully can't see is the breath taking stench created by shorebirds and brine shrimp scents.  Which is why I try to get my shots through a rolled up car window as we drive along.)

The drive to Antelope Island is my transition from ordinary life to another more peaceful world.

Each time we go to Great Salt Lake I ask what is causing the smoke on the far shore.
Some year I will find out what it is...
This how the water level looked during our first visit here five years ago.

And how it looked on Labor Day 2013.
Quite a change!
We park and change in the bathrooms into our swim suits.
The water level here has receded greatly since our last visit.
It will be a long walk to the water; thankfully this year the sands are not blistering hot and we can walk barefooted most of the way.

The surrounding vegetation is not hording mayflies this years, nor do I see colonies of dragonflies as I have seen in other visits.
Each time here is both the same and different.
Our swim was far more buoyant than experienced in years past.
We attempted to tread water, but our feet keep floating up to the surface.
When we lay prone in the water our bodies are like islands without any top part submerged.
About twenty minutes into the float my body begins to relax and a mild euphoria occurs.
The magnesium content of the water is like an Epson salt soak times ten.
The water and air are at the exact same temperature.
The sky reflects in the water; am I floating in sky or sea?
Does it matter?
Perhaps it is both.
Eventually we swim back to shore, walk back to the outdoor shower and rinse the glittering salt brine from our bodies.
We change in the bathrooms, meet up again by the car, and decide to have dinner at the Buffalo Grill about a mile up the road.
Buffalo Burgers sound good...and very American on our National Labor Day holiday.
The tables are long and bench seating add to the picnic like feeling of the day.
Another couple about our age orders buffalo burgers too and then asks if they can join us at our end of the otherwise empty table.
They are locals, and they too love the beauty of Antelope Island.
We chuckle at how many photos we have taken of this place and how we can't stop from taking more every time we come.
We agree: every visit is the same and different.
We chat about family and places; the husband notes Bernie is wearing an Oregon State U. tee shirt.
He attended the school for a couple of years himself.
It was great to chat with friendly folks over burgers.
The only thing we had felt was missing from our day was friends to share the fun.
Sometimes friends can come in the form of strangers who just happen to crave a buffalo burger at the end of a day.

And speaking of buffalo...
Antelope Island has a good sized herd.
We had to laugh at the sign and the buffalo obediently standing here where the arrow was pointing.

Is this not just too cool?
"Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam..."

"...and the deer and the antelope play...."
Yes, that is an antelope standing between the buffalo!

Gasping at the beauty...
We had pulled over to for the sign shot, then pulled over again, and again.

Then the antelope "played" on the other side of the road.

At one point we were pulled up right behind our new friends from the Buffalo grill.
I ran over to the open car door to squeal at the wife while the husband was shooting pictures beside their car.
"One time we saw antelope crossing the road right in front of us" he shared.
That must have been amazing.

And then...

Whaddah know?
Right in front of us...the antelope crossed the road!

Why does an antelope cross the road?

To get to the other side...duh!

When the second one approached the road side I was thrilled!

(Are you ready?  Get your camera ready, I'm gonna cross too...)

They don't call it Antelope Island for nuthin'!

Meanwhile the area continued to provide "ohhs" and "ahhs".

On our way home.
It was a Labor Day weekend extraordinaire!


Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

I know what you mean...about 'the'! After hearing about 'the Ukraine' all my life...I now am told that it is just Ukraine (no 'the') I think I'll use your bracket method and carry on as always!

Beautiful...where your buffalo roam and (the) deer and (the) antelope play. :)

Vee said...

Exquisite photos! What's happening to Great Salt Lake? (I learn quickly.) Did someone pull the plug?

So fun to meet another couple to enjoy the time with. Did you exchange names and numbers? Some of my blogging buddies have calling cards...seems like a fine idea. Yours could feature one of your amazing photographs of Utah.

Sara said...

Some of those photos look like paintings . . . what glorious scenery. The buffalo made me laugh. And why do the horns on those antelope look so odd? They have such dainty little feet don't they.

ellen b. said...

I love all the photos but the one with the sign and the buffalo is just fabulous. Glad you found some friends to eat with :)

RoeH said...

It's amazing how that lake just keeps going down. And I thought it was low when I lived in Brigham City in 1968. Amazing.

Anneliese said...

I had to stop at the bowl of tomatoes!!
I know how you feel about the "the"
I feel like that about the Ukraine.
I'm told that it's not the Ukraine.
Would I say the Canada?( No, but I say the United States.) I've just heard the Ukraine all of my life and it sounds weird not to say it that way.

Lovella ♥ said...

My goodness..that looks like it was a fun labor day holiday. I was so surprised that there wasn't a lot of people bobbing in the water of "the" Great Salt Lake.
I'm ever so happy you found locals to chat with over burgers. It's jus the best.

Rosella said...

Your pictures are absolutely breath taking!!! The vivid colours - oh my! It's so interesting about how the salt water is so relaxing and how it makes you feel. I've floated in the Dead Sea and it's so fascinating. It, by the way, is also receding rapidly - the change houses are quite far from the actual water's edge because of this. Your buffalo and antelope pictures are brilliant!

Pondside said...

What a great day that must have been. I'd love to float in (the)Great Salt Lake sometime. I did so in the Dead Sea and it was amazing!

Armando y Montez said...

Wonderful Post.. Your photos, plus writing... What can I say? I know, Love it!

Armando y Montez said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Just a little something from Judy said...

With each place you share in this blog, I find myself wishing to visit it. You have a way of sharing the beauty and writing in a way that draws me right in. What a perfect way to spend Labor Day.