The other evening, I wandered the southern shoreline of the Great Salt Lake. The sun painted the sky red through the smoke and smeared ocher light upon the salty water. Gulls flew overheard and millions of tiny black bugs nibbled my ankles. I keep feeling the pull of these Great Basin Desertscapes and hope to explore saltpans more and more. Many folks of Salt Lake City seem to disregard the Great Salt Lake. I’m continuously pulled towards it.
This Lake is a remnant of another era, it is literally the remaining puddle of the massive Lake Bonneville which covered most of western Utah for almost 800,000 years, expanding and contracting in a rhythmic cycle as the climate changed over those millennia. The remains of its shoreline can be seen on the mountains surrounding Salt Lake City.
When I first moved to Utah I was confused by what looked to be old flat roads running level on the hillsides. I learned those “flat roads” were remains of a primordial shore, places where waves carved away the rock and soil. Animals like Mammoths and Saber-Toothed Cats lived and drank there and possibility where some of the first people who ventured into North America lived out their lives. Gazing westward from the Salt Lake is a desolate view, but it feels like a small remaining glimpse of a world that use to be.