Bitten By an Antelope

You probably think that everyplace we go is amazing and that we have a great time. And that’s usually the case. Pulling out of an area to head somewhere else, I usually say, “I’m going to miss this place.” It’s gotten to be such a mantra that Bob teases me: “You always say that.” And I always reply, “Because it’s always true.”

We’d heard a lot about Salt Lake City and decided we’d ignore our usual impulse to avoid urban areas and spend a week there. We selected a KOA near the heart of the city so we’d have easy access around town. This proved to be a mistake. Barking dogs, cars with loud engines speeding by — these were just a few of the nuisances, not because we were on the edge of a major city street, but we were well inside the park. Park traffic was busy and later we heard from a store clerk that the park is locally known as a drug trafficking area. True or not, we certainly saw a lot of vehicles come and go (driving faster than you’d expect — especially in a park with a national reputation for being family-friendly).

Maybe that got us off to the wrong start, but our sense of adventure still burned bright so we ventured down the highway to get closer to the Great Salt Lake itself and explore Antelope Island State Park.

After paying our $9 entrance fee and crossing the long causeway, we paused at the US Army Ranger and Air Force Memorial, commissioned by Frank and Marlys Mishak in honor of their son, Sgt. Blaine A. Mishak and eleven others who were killed in an aircraft crash in 1992 during a training exercise.

Overcast skies made us cautious about starting any hikes, especially in an unfamiliar area, but there was plenty to see on the island.

The Great Salt Lake beckoned, so we parked at a picnic area and beach access point and started out across the sand.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the vast stretches of sand and silt, evidence of how much the lake is shrinking, was surprising. Back in the Ice Age, the GSL covered more than 20,000 square miles. Now it’s only about 2100 square miles.

But it was hard to appreciate standing at the edge of this body of water (five times the salinity of the ocean) when we were getting bitten to bits by all kinds of teeny tiny flying bugs (maybe these were brine flies?!?). It was a short walk out to the lake and back to escape those nuisances!

Overhead, seagulls flew back and forth, gathering bits of flotsam and jetsam for their nests (it was early June, time for nesting)…

…while this bison was content to graze.

The rest of the herd grazed not far from the Fielding Garr Ranch, located farther down the island.

And from this stretch of road, views of the Wasatch Mountains, the Great Salt Lake, the city and its environs were eye-catching.

Unfortunately, those nasty bugs left the back of my neck and head itching for days to come. Bob nursed me with our trusy Bag Balm (if you don’t know about this product, it’s a miracle salve!) and some cortisone cream. I watched TV with my hands tucked under my seat to keep me from scratching and I slept on towels.

Needless to say, that was our first — and last — trip to Antelope Island. If you plan to go, find out from the locals what time of the year is best for visiting so you can avoid those pesky Antelope bites!

About Ellen

Fiction writer and photographer, I travel the country with my sweetheart of a husband as a "full-time RVer."
This entry was posted in and Critters in General, Animals, Birds, Insects and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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