A half day drive has brought us to Salt Lake City, where Hartmut will board his plane and return to his home in the Old World. We are camped on the north side of town near the airport and have a nice skyline view of the city from the campground. It's hard to ignore the Great Salt Lake which is also nearby, because it is so large - 72 miles long and thirty miles wide. We've been warned that if the wind blows the right direction, we will get bad smells from the lake, but we visited it this afternoon and it smelled just fine.
The Great Salt Lake was much bigger, but the rate of water evaporation is greater than the amount of water flowing in. It's about six times saltier than the ocean and make swimmers feel like they can float forever. We drove to the Great Salt Lake State Park, but the lake is so shallow, a lengthy walk only brought the warm, salty water to our knees. By the time we walked back out, our legs were coated with brine and we were grateful for the fresh water shower nearby.
These days the lake shore is an eerie place. The sandy shore is sparkles with the evaporated salt and nothing can grow there. It is surrounded by desert and a vast emptiness. To the west of the current lake is desert and the Bonneville Salt Flats, where many land speed records have been set. The Bonneville area was once part of the lake as well. In the early 1900's a huge pavilion was built on the lake shore and tourists could take a train from Los Angeles to the pier in front of it. There was also a huge amusement park with a roller coaster and ferris wheel. The pavilion burned down and the Great Salt Lake faded from tourist consciousness. Today it feels like a curiosity rather than a place we would want to spend much time.