Today I went to Antelope Island, an island in the Great Salt Lake. The lake has several streams and 4 small rivers running into it but no outlet except by evaporation. The size of the lake varies from year to year. Sometimes the surrounding area floods and sometimes the lake shrinks. It is currently 75 miles long and 28 miles wide with a maximum depth of 33 feet. The salinity varies from four to 28 percent in various parts of the lake compared to the ocean which is three percent salt. There are no fish or other life in the lake except for brine shrimp and brine flies.
In ancient times the lake covered 20,000 square miles. The dried portion of the lake is now known as the Bonneville Salt Flats. A vast expanse of salty ground that does not support any vegetation.
Antelope Island is 16 miles long and 4.5 miles wide. The terrain is arid semi-desert. It is covered by grass, sagebrush and rock and has some mountains reaching an elevation of almost 6,600 feet. The island is almost ten miles from shore but can be reached my a causeway (for a fee of $9). There is a large amount of wildlife on the island including a free-roaming herd of 600 bison. I also saw antelope, coyote, and eared grebes. There are more than 40 fresh-water springs on the island which provides 36 million gallons of fresh water annually, in the midst of a salt lake, which supports the wildlife and vegetation. There are seven other islands in the lake but Anteleope is the largest.
Activities on the island include camping, hiking, horse-back riding and wildlife viewing. I loved it there and could easily spend a week exploring the whole island but tomorrow I will push on to southern Utah. It gets down to almost freezing here at night and will get colder.