Saturday, September 25, 2010

NEW: Antelope Island State Park Auto Tour

We needed a short excursion from Salt Lake City in order to test out a recently acquired Town and Country and some ramps so went looking for a trail on our maps. We espied Antelope Island which we hadn't been to in many years so loaded up and went for a look-see.

It had been long enough that we weren't really certain of the off ramp to take – and found that the Utah State Map, which the state had published, had it wrong. And it was most likely wrong back when the blame thing was published, unless they let someone build a 30 year old house in the middle of the road.   [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Antelope Island Auto Tour]

The sinage didn't help much either and we found ourselves one exit too far BUT clearly where the map said we should be. Once we had circled back onto 1700 South (West Antelope Drive - go figure!) it was a straight-as-an-arrow shot west to the causeway and through the entry shack.

A child on a farm sees a plane fly overhead and dreams of a faraway place. A traveler on the plane sees the farmhouse… and thinks of home.”
Carl Burns
A lot of old memories came back to us over the course of the outing, like: you can smell the lake before you see it. Salt was/is used to "cure" meats and other things in order to prevent spoilage; but, out in the open, combined with water (and other things) it very substantially makes its presence known.

The island has become a State Park now - with attendant entrance fees; and, not to be out done, the county has levied a "transit tax" of $2 to ride their road over to the island, showing that a determined politician can "get you" even if they have to be innovative (Utah doesn't have public toll roads).

I was surprised to see as many fellow travelers on the island as there were (from memories I sort of expected to be the only ones there); even though we had come in the middle of the week and the buffalo had us clearly out numbered.

There is a visitors center, complete with gift shop and movie, as well as a food cabana (even though it looked closed when we went by). The beaches are still there and there have been walkways placed to get out to the water.

Rest/viewpoint stops are all around the island and many of them have covered picnic tables and even fresh(ish) water showers. The ranch is still there and all the corrals necessary for the yearly buffalo husbandry that they do.

After only running a short ways down the coast we realized that the stress of missing our turn-off had erased our intention to re-fill the fuel tank from our minds and we were nearly out of petrol. That is the one thing the island does not have, so we had to leave without running down to the other side of the island.

That will need to await another outing. The roads are good and there are plenty of hiking trails to "secret" spots if you desire to search them out. However, there are no offroad trails.

Be sure and bring cameras. There are abundant wildlife sightings, although seemingly a little more "skittish" than those in Yellowstone National Park. And there's a lot of photo's left to take of sunsets, sunrises, salt formations, plants, birds and colored rocks – all with the peaks of the "Rockies" as background.

Learn A Little More

I would like to tell you of an article that I ran across the other day about the "code of the west." It is a post on a literary blog by Christopher Taylor called "The Word Around The Net".

The post, entitled "Tough Guys" begins by painting an incredibly valid picture of the two kinds of "macho-ism" in society: the "phony tough guy" – who is "prison tough"; and the "fake tough guy" – a "metrosexual male who worries about fashion and cries about everything."

Suprisingly the answer to the issue comes from a code of conduct developed through thousands of years of experience and (once) emblazoned into the male psyche from early age but never officially written.
“There are genuine tough guys out there still, although each generation seems to produce fewer. The real tough guy doesn't feel any need to prove it to anyone - and yet everyone seems to know. The real tough guy doesn't have to posture constantly and seem tough, he is. The real tough guy knows that toughness is how you face life, not how you treat others. He can be compassionate, affectionate, gentle, sympathetic, and kind without being weak, easily manipulated, effeminate, or prissy.” Click on over to read the entire article – it's worth reading.


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