The Great Salt Lake and Arrival in Capitol Reef National Park

After two weeks of travelling with my friend Rachel I now have even more to catch everybody up on. We visited five national parks and made several other interesting stops along the way before I had to drop her off at the Denver Airport yesterday. But I’ll pick back up where I left off.

After Idaho I drove to Salt Lake City where I collected Rachel from the airport. We then headed straight to the Great Salt Lake for some swimming. Although the lake covers on average 1,700 square feet in surface area and is about 75 miles long at its greatest length, it is only about 16 feet deep on average. As the name implies, the lake is a hypersaline body that has greater salinity than the 3.5% average of ocean water (Wikipedia says the salinity is highly variable and between 5% and 27% depending on water levels; I would imagine that since the levels were low when we visited that it was considerably higher than 5%). These traits mean two things: (1) you have to walk quite a way from shore before you can find deep enough water to swim in, and (2) you can float ridiculously easily.

The lake is worth visiting for aesthetic reasons as well: the pastel blues and greens of the lake are framed by hazy mountains and endless sky punctuated by fluffy white clouds and bright sun.

Shoreline of the Great Salt Lake with Antelope Island in the background, Utah. This is Rachel's picture.

Shoreline of the Great Salt Lake with Antelope Island in the background, Utah. This is Rachel’s picture.

The shallows of The Great Salt Lake, Utah

The shallows of The Great Salt Lake, Utah

Ripples in the sand, Great Salt Lake, Utah

Ripples in the sand, Great Salt Lake, Utah

No hands or feet: me floating is the Great Salt Lake, Utah. Rachel (obviously) took this picture too.

No hands or feet: me floating is the Great Salt Lake, Utah. Rachel (obviously) took this picture too.

It was a sunny, the scenery was gorgeous, and we could have easily lounged all day, effortlessly floating in the warm waters but we had somewhat of a schedule to keep and a four hour drive south to Capitol Reef National Park.

We arrived in red rock country in the evening as clouds rolled in, but we had enough light to visit a few overlooks before setting up camp in the national forest to the west of the park. The views were captivating.

View of the canyon from near Goosenecks Overlook, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

View of the canyon from near Goosenecks Overlook, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Red rocks overlooking canyon with multi-colored sedimentary layers, Sunset Point Trail, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Red rocks overlooking canyon with multi-colored sedimentary layers, Sunset Point Trail, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Blazing sunset behind clouds, Sunset Point Trail, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Blazing sunset behind clouds, Sunset Point Trail, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah