What have you heard about the Great Salt Lake? Well…it’s salty…and it’s great…
Yeah, that was me too. Well, to confirm your knowledge and spice it up a bit, the Great Salt Lake is the largest salt water lake in the western hemisphere. It’s located in Salt Lake City, Utah (duh), and all we want to know is…can we swim in it?! I learned that yes, yes you can swim in it…but I also found myself asking “why would we want to?”
Gina and I were so excited when we snagged a spot for a week in the Great Salt Lake State Park. It was only $20.00 a day for electric and water hook ups, and the pictures made it look like the lake was right in our back yard. Also, it was only 40 minutes from Gina’s family which was the real reason we were staying in the Salt Lake area for the whole week. When we got there, we learned a few things quickly: The water had receded quite a bit due to lack of rainfall, the campsites were all identical gravel lots without any shade, and there was a constant underlying smell of rotting fish. But, hey, $20.00 right next to a lake and landmark? We’ll suffer for it.
Our first trip down to the beach and edge of the lake ended up being our last. The smell was putrid, and there were a gazillion tiny little brine flies that would change your shoe color from whatever it was to black within 5 seconds if standing still. It was gross. The edge of the lake appeared to have black sand, but when you walked through it, the black sand parted…because they were freaking flies. I know. GROSS. The reason there were so many nasty brine flies was because of the smelly tiny brine shrimp that lived and died in the water. Brine shrimp are some of the very few wildlife that can survive in the lake because of its high salinity. Besides flies, the edge of the water was lined with tiny little dead shrimpies. Gina was a super trooper and got into the water anyway. We heard that there’s so much salt concentration that you could easily float. It was also supposed to be good for your skin and muscles like taking an Epsom salt bath. She walked about 100 yards from the shore, and then laid down in the smelly water. I watched her peacefully float from shore as I stood marching in place and swinging my arms hopelessly trying to keep the flies away. After a few minutes of misery, I began to walk into the lake. To my relief, once I walked into the water about 10 feet from the shore, the swarming flies stopped. I still had very little desire to lay in the water like Gina had. I wanted to float and all, but I also didn’t want little salty shrimpies where the light doesn’t shine. I’ve heard there are better places to enjoy the Great Salt Lake, such as the shores of Antelope Island, and I wouldn’t mind taking a boat out, but the Great Salt Lake State Park is just not the place for a beach day.
Despite all the disappointment at the park, we were determined to make the best of it since the rate was so cheap. That was, until we were told by the park staff that we would have to change campsites EVERY DAY due to a technicality with their new computer system. Get this. There were about 10 identical gravel campsites right next to each other in a row. None of them were better or worse than the others. But because of their new reservation system, they were unable to “reserve” our spot for us for the week because other people had reservations on the spot. We inquired why they couldn’t just change the other people’s plot reservation who weren’t there yet. They told us they were unable to change it in the computer and that “people may have requested those spots specifically”. Uh, hello? No one would have requested a specific spot. THEY WERE ALL IDENTICAL. The only solution they offered us was to either move the campsite every day or wait until the new people came every day and ask them if we could switch plots. Are you freaking kidding me? Well, waiting around all day so we could ask the newcomers if they minded switching spots was not ideal. We weren’t about to waste our days sitting in the RV looking out the window waiting for these people to arrive whenever. So, we decided to stick it out by changing plots every day. How annoying! We moved one plot over and went about our day. The afternoon came and went. The night came and went. But you know who never came? The people who supposedly requested that specific plot. Oh yeah. I was SO OVER IT. So we left. Bye Felicia.
We chose a place about 40 minutes from Salt Lake City called Jordanelle State Park. It was $10.00 more than the Great Salt Lake State Park, but it was so worth it. We got a campsite about 50 yards from a lake that was much more pleasant than the Salt Lake. They had water rentals such as boats, jetskis, kayaks, etc, a small playground, laundry, clean restrooms, and even recycling! We were all so much happier there, especially Roxi. She was able to swim and play in the lake every day for hours, and her joy fueled our joy.
Also, we were only 15 minutes from Park City, Utah, and if you don’t know why that’s so great, check out my first Utah blog from earlier this year. And yes, we did go back for the Yamamame! Mmm…so good!
We spent the majority of our stay with Gina’s adopted family. I had only met them one other time before (blog hyperlink above), but seeing them for the second time was like seeing them for the 100th time. I feel so welcome and loved around them, and I can see why they are so important to Gina. I guess they kind of adopted me too at this point 😊
Gina and I felt safe and comfortable being ourselves at Jordanelle State Park. Our camp hosts, who stayed just next to us, were very kind, and we even sat and talked with them about our travels for a while. Also, Park City is super artistic and appears to be an accepting and progressive city. Many places we travel to, I believe, may end up being one-time experiences. The areas we’ve explored in Utah, however, will be visited again!