Kayaking the Great Salt Lake

by | Sep 3, 2023 | Reflections & Celebrations, Travel

   We had some cloud cover and slightly cooler temperatures over the last few days, which nudged us into the Great Salt Lake on a tandem kayak after all of the bad buggy reviews of the lake during the summer.  We persisted and prevailed! 

   It was a great day for it.  There were occasional slight breezes here and there and a few brine flies near the shoreline, but once you get out on the lake, it’s pretty much smooth sailing.  We put in at the marina and went to the right towards Salt Air probably about 2 miles or so.  We went a little bit beyond the buoys and enjoyed the expanse of the open lake.  It looks like you’re on the ocean when you look in certain directions.  There were Black necked stilts bobbing around on the water’s surface in large groups.  We came pretty close to them at times.  They wouldn’t let us get more than about 30 feet before they would dive under the water to reappear 10 or 15 feet further away from our kayak.  The brine shrimp were numerous and cute to watch.  We wondered how long they live and what they eat out in the very salty water.

  The microbialites were delightful to discover about 5 feet down under the water in places, reminding us of the primordial soup of cyanobacteria (one of Earth’s first photosynthesizing organisms) kicking off our atmosphere many billions of years ago to make life as we know it possible!  Microbialites are mounds of cyanobacteria that occur in mat-forming colonies in shallow saline waters which trap sediments as they “grow”.   Calcium carbonate is precipitated within the mounds as photosynthesis takes place adding to the growth of the mat slowly over time.

   The best part of this journey was the mesmerizing beauty of the water reflecting colors of the sky in flashes of silver, green, blue and gray sometimes appearing as visions of mercury spilling out in all directions. 

   It’s nice to engulf yourself with a view that puts the expanse of life into perspective from time to time.  We can get pretty self-absorbed and muddled in our daily problems at times.  But out on the Great Salt Lake, I was grateful to be reminded of the important things and just being present with the water, the sky, and the mountains.  What a purification out there on that vast salty lake!

  Much gratitude to this utterly unique body of water!  May the saltiest of sailors know of her treasures!

Photo Note: This picture was not taken near the Marina and Salt Air.  It was taken on another trip to Antelope Island near Bridger Bay where there are numerous microbialites.