We drove from Lake Chelan in WA to McCall, Idaho on our way to Salt Lake City, Utah. We stopped over for a night at Ponderosa State Park near McCall, ID, which is set on a beautiful lake called Payette. The drive through eastern Washington and western Idaho was such a stark change to the landscapes we had been driving through west of the Cascades. There were more browns and golds, rolling hills and even a few buttes as we entered Idaho. There were also many farms that spanned hundreds and hundreds of acres, many of which had large mansions on them. Apparently, farming is good out here. The first 5 photos are of Payette Lake and our drive from eastern WA to Salt Lake City.
The drive from Idaho was long but beautiful! Mountains, rivers and hills all in golden brown hues. When we arrived at Antelope Island State Park we were in awe! What a unique place. It’s actually more of a peninsula than an island but it juts right into the Great Salt Lake and is a place of its own. There is a long road/bridge that connects it to the mainland at the north end of the park that leads you to the park entrance. There was a tiny hiccup when we first arrived seeing as I managed to book the smallest campsite in the whole park. It was meant for a tent! There was no way we’d be getting our RV into that site, so we managed to snag a site up in the RV area with partial hookups!
After a lovely breakfast, we set out to explore the island. A couple of fun facts: Bison roam the island freely. A dozen of them were introduced to the island in the 1890s and grew from there. Bison look slow and bulky but they can run up to 40 mph and change directions quickly! If their tail is raised high, they’re ready to charge. The island was actually a permanent residence starting in 1848 before it was sold to the state to use as a public park. The Great Salt Lake is 10x saltier than the ocean. It’s salinity levels are too high to support most life, except for brine shrimp, flies and algae, which migratory birds feed on. The lake is drying up fast and has been for decades. Its only 35 feet at its deepest point and is on a trajectory to become a salt flat in the coming decades. It’s at a 170 year low, mainly due to drought and heavy diversion of rivers upstream and for crops and homes. Got all that?
We started a hike from our RV site to the Lakeside Trail, a 4.8 mi loop. The hike is exposed (no shade) but is just otherworldly and so worth the trek. Once we left our section of the lake we felt like we were the only people on earth. It just gives you such a sense of remoteness. The landscape started rocky, then gave way to the salt flats and then the lake. It was kind of eerie to witness how much the lake had receded. There was a marina that was in use a few decades ago that now looked like a parking lot. After our hike, we drove down to the beach access area and walked the half mile out to get to the lake shore. It certainly was salty. There was a layer of salt crust on any place the water had been. We enjoyed another breathtaking sunset, had some dinner and turned in for the night. Antelope Island was certainly a unique place that was so much fun to explore!