We live in Sandy Utah, but for those that don’t live in Utah we just say Salt Lake City because no one outside of the Wasatch Front knows where Sandy is. Oh you don’t know where the Wasatch Front is? I guess that proves my point; so we will say we live in Salt Lake City. This is kind of like people who live in Renton telling out-of-towner’s that they live in Seattle. But if we are going to be telling people we live in Salt Lake City shouldn’t we know something about our city’s name sake.
We have been living in Utah for about a year now. Wow has it been a year? Well maybe more like 9 months, but that is close. So we have lived here for almost a year and all we know about the Great Salt Lake is driving by it on our way to and from Seattle. That doesn’t make us very good Salt Lakians.
To solve this deficiency we decided to visit the lake. Last weekend we took a trip up to Antelope Island. This is an island at the southern end of the Great Salt Lake. It was about an hour drive from our house. It would be about half that except the only way to get to the island is via a causeway at the northern tip of the island.
So after driving north for about an hour to get to the island we went to the visitor’s center. We learned a bit more about the island there ;like that there are no antelope on Antelope Island. It was named Antelope Island because the explorer who named it mistook another animal for an Antelope, but that animal wasn’t really an antelope at all. It was a pronghorn, which is quite rare and looks like an antelope.
The other thing we learned at the visitor’s center is that all of the cool stuff we wanted to see was at the southern end of the island. So after driving north for an hour we now got to drive south.
During our drive south on the island we were looking for one thing, bison. Yes bison. You would think we would all be looking for antelope or at least the animal they thought was an antelope. But no the big, and I mean big, thing to see on Antelope Island is bison. Over a hundred years ago a hand full of bison were moved to the island in an attempt to preserve that great north American creature. Over the decades that hand full of bison has grown to several hundred and is considered one of the largest bison herds in the country.
Unfortunately we never saw any bison. We later concluded that they are mostly on the western side of the island and we were on the eastern side. But we did get to see something interesting the Fielding Garr Ranch which is one of the oldest ranches in Utah. It has been preserved so that today it is much as it was when it was a working ranch.
As we walked around this ranch that is over a hundred years old, we got to see how people lived in those days. Parts of it had been ‘modernized’ over the years. But even with the various updates it still seemed very primitive. The main house that was made for a large family and a dining room big enough to include a dozen ranch hands seemed rather small. The bedrooms were about the size of a big walk in closet and there were only two bathrooms.
Walking around the outside of the ranch we were able to see how some of the various chores were done. As we walked around I couldn’t help but wonder what it was like back when it was a working ranch. The day we were there it was kind of cold, around 30 degrees. That made walking around the ranch a chilly experience. But it can get a lot colder there and ranch work doesn’t wait for it to warm up.
Visiting Antelope Island and the ranch gave me renewed gratitude for the world we live in. We have so many modern conveniences that we take for granted. We have heat, and cooling at the touch of a button. They had to build a fire and hope it would radiate out enough to warm their small house. We have, comparatively, large bedrooms with plenty of room for our stuff. They had over sized closets to huddle in. We have dependable electricity with all that it does for us. They had a generator that they could use, some times.
So I left Antelope Island with a bit more gratitude for the blessing we have. Hopefully I can hold on to that for a bit. It is a lot better than seeking the other things I want.
Oh and as to the Great Salt Lake, we never really got there. Well yes we were on Antelope Island. And Antelope Island is in the middle of the Great Salt Lake. And yes we did see the lake a bit better than we do on our drive to, or from, Seattle. But we never went down to the beach. It was just too cold for that. So what is the Great Salt Lake like I still can’t really say. Maybe our next adventure will get us closer to an answer.