Ode to Antelope Island
I’ve been meaning to post photos of Antelope Island, a beautiful but surreal state park in Utah. Truth is, I have a little file of photos exported from my Aperture to upload or share in various places. It has all sorts of things waiting and continuously will because, let’s face it, I will keep on taking photographs that will fill it up. Anyways, I realized that the few from Antelope should really be a set and that I should introduce Antelope Island to you all proper like.
Antelope Island is a desert island in the Great Salt Lake, just off from Salt Lake City. It’s about 15 miles long with a mini-mountain range running north-south It’s kind of a weird concept when you’re surrounded by water that the vegetation is all from rain runoff and springs and not from the water around it, especially with a ranch with roaming buffalo, sheep and other animals. But the sunrises, sunsets, and mirage effects give indication that something otherworldly is going on.
The island is reached after a long causeway to the Northern tip of the island, and the first thing there is actually a memorial to a tragic event when a special forces training exercise over the lake went awry in a storm in 1992. A Pave Hawk helicopter crashed right off the island when the weather suddenly intensified and the horizon became lost. Although rescue teams came from near and far to rescue the missing men, the search was going horribly in the weather. A squad of Rangers thought they could do a bit better and went out in a zodiac to search the waters. They somehow found the pilot, alive.
That’s probably the only real drama Antelope has seen, leaving it instead to the coyotes, jackrabbits and the naturally dramatic sunsets. There is also a stellar campground on Antelope on the northern end and a very nice stretch of beach for swimming (or floating as the case may be). I should note here that there are indeed showers to get that salt out of your hair, but they are coin-op.
The campground itself is one of the best I’ve stayed in. Great kitchen area, permanent metal cabana over a picnic table, stellar fire ring, and pristine gravel for a comfy night’s sleep. Also, it was damn near empty. I think it being summer in a desert was a major determinant – cooler seasons undoubtedly prevail – but there were a few travelers who seemed to be passing through for a night or two like we were, and the flowers were in bloom. Our nearest neighbor, however, was rather far away…
The one downside was the wind. It’s familiar, living on the Bay though: wind will kick up and churn in late afternoon and then die down again in the evening. Same thing on the Great Salt Lake. It made for one heck of a time setting up our tarp and tent! We borrowed some rocks to hold the corners down and some gravel to weigh our plates while I cooked dinner. Naturally, right after dinner the winds died down, but we were to hungry to wait!
Our camp, as well as all the sites in the long loop that compromised the campground all faced the west, putting us right in line for a very spectacular view after dinner. Even in the evening light, I was able to catch some remarkable sunflowers that adorned the perimeter of our campsite, and after dark, a full moon that was just as bright as the setting sun.
Unfortunately, I still do not have noise cancellation software. It hasn’t been a priority with the credential and master’s thesis business going on, but I do like how this moon shot came out. I had a tripod prepared and could let it “expose” my digital film for a good long time.
I hope you enjoy the photos below of Antelope Island!
So if you’re out in Utah and need a place to hang your hat, check out Antelope Island’s breathtaking scenery.