Well, there was this funny slip of speech I made a couple of times while hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail: I managed to mash together “South Lake Tahoe” and, for whatever reason, “Salt Lake City”. So I came up with something like “Salt Lake Tahoe” and it became that running gag between John and me. However, after having finished the trail, we got back to Reno and got a rental car. We didn’t really plan our 7-day-road trip until we actually got the car, but I kinda joked that we should go and see Salt Lake City as a consequence of having had this city “on my tongue”. So we went east from Reno towards the Great Salt Desert and eventually, on our second day out road tripping, we entered Utah. So, yes, I finally got to see the skyline of Salt Lake City, but we made our way another 40 miles north along the shore of the Great Salt Lake. It’s not the cities that interest us – we were headed towards Antelope Island. That’s an island in the Great Salt Lake connected to the mainland by a 7-mile-drive on a causeway. However, as the lakes’ water level is low, there was no water, but even more salt flats. The island itself is a State Park that has pretty Grasland scenery and holds populations of pronghorn, bighorn sheep, porcupine, badger, coyote, bobcat, mule deer, millions of waterfowl, and – what amazed me most – American bison. I’ve never seen these big mammals before and I couldn’t wait to see them roaming around freely.
There are numerous trails and viewpoints on that island, but we decided to hike up the islands highest mountain: Frazy Peak. 3.5 miles/5,6 km with 2100 ft/640 m of elevation gain. Doesn’t sound too strenuous, especially not when you just finished a thru-hike of a 171 mile long trail. But, add 104 F/40 degree Celsius, black hiking clothes and the fact, that there is not a single tree on that island. It was a hard hike up, but we got rewarded with mind blowing 360-degree-views over the island, the Great Salt Lake and the metropolitan area of Salt Lake City with the impressive Wasatch Mountains in the backdrop.
Back in the car and on the way off the island, we eventually got close to easily hundreds of bison, that decided to cross the only road on the island. It almost couldn’t get any better, but the icing on the cake was a perfect sunset over the lake.
We never heard of Antelope Island before and we only found out about its existence by having a look on the map trying to find out what’s nearby Salt Lake City. I truly love how unknown places you end up visiting spontaneously, unfold all their magic.