Today we took a trip to Antelope State Park, which is an island in the Great Salt Lake. The island is about 15 miles long and 5 miles wide. It is the largest of ten islands in the Great Salt Lake. The highest peak on the island is Frary Peak at 6,596 feet. A rancher, Fielding Garr settled the island, but it is now a park. You can visit the ranch.
From the island, you have a great view of the Wasatch mountains on the east and the Sierra Nevada mountain range to the west. Salt Lake City sits at the base of the Wasatch mountains.
There are pronghorn antelopes (for which the island was named), mule deer, bighorn sheep, and bison. The bison are not native to the island but have flourished here. Every fall the rangers have a bison roundup, to count and check on the health of the herd. To keep the deer population in check there are coyotes and bobcats living on the island. The island is home to many birds.
The oldest rock found on the island is gneiss. This rock is about 1.7 billion years old. The rocks are distinctive with the swirl of colors found in the rocks.
The Great Salt Lake is about nine times saltier than the sea, only the Dead Sea is saltier; no fish live in the lake. The only aquatic life found in the lake are briny shrimp, briny flies, and some algae. The Great Salt Lake is a remnant of Lake Bonneville, which 32,000 years ago covered most of Utah and parts of Idaho and Nevada. The lake was held in place by a natural dam near Red Rock Pass, Idaho. About 14,000 years ago the dam broke and most of Lake Bonneville drained into the Snake River.
The park has a very nice and informative visitors center. One of the park’s events is the annual Spiderfest. (Folks, I can’t make this stuff up.) It is an event to help educate the public about the value of spiders and which spiders you need to watch out for. It was held August 5, we just missed it.