May 3, 2008

Antelope Island

The diversity represented in the 3-plus hour drive from Moab to the Salt Lake City area is beyond description. Needless to say, I felt like we'd traveled to several planets, each distinctly different from the other, with the final resting spot a serene, eerily quiet, glassy lake dotted lake with adventure-filled islands, backdropped by endless snow-capped absolutely stunning change from the searing red desert of hours ago!

As we rounded the long final bend on the "bridge road" to Antelope Island State Park, the view back towards Salt Lake City was shocking. With this huge metropolis only a few miles away, Nature's splendorous painting has completely hidden the commercial jungle.
....................Ah, to live in such a place, if only for a few days, will be a joy!

As the sun set on the trailer shortly after pulling into the campground, the area looked rather desolate & unappealing. A view the next morning from atop the hill behind the campground, shows one just how wrong this conclusion was, and how beautiful the Island truly is.

The Island itself is rich in diversity, much of which is represented by the many animals and birds that seek refuge here. The vast herd of buffalo that originally inhabited the Island now number a few hundred, but seem to thrive on the endless grassy hillsides. Pronghorn antelope are seen here & there, their lightning speed and shy nature making them difficult to photograph.

Although we added several "lifers" to our birding list, the star of the show for this trip had to be these peppy little Eared Grebes...

The only significant dwelling on the Island was the mormon-run Fielding Garr Ranch, which is well-preserved today, serving both as an attraction, and a working ranch for the maintenance of the Island. The Ranch is a brider's treasure, hosting many interesting species, including the Lazuli Bunting, Yellow Warbler & Great Horned Owl.

Kim found this early version travel trailer out back, pointing out the wonderful accomodations and functional kitchen....

Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the visit, was just roaming around the Ranch, and enjoying the beautiful sunshine and nice breeze!

Although every sunset was special, that last evening spent watching the big firey ball as it sank across the lake will be long remembered....