Running from snow, Central time, and a closed campground

We had a great time with friends from the Wasatch Mountain Club this weekend at Antelope Island State Park. I led a paddling activity with 3 tandem canoes, two inflatable kayaks, and a white water kayak. The 9 of us had a good time. A few pictures taken by someone else:

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Obviously the day was a bit rainy, but the significant rainfall held off until we were all safely back at camp. We even ended up with a gorgeous double rainbow!

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This also was taken by someone else using a panorama mode on their camera. Impressive!

We left on Sunday morning to head to Iowa. As we got farther into Wyoming there were warnings about a winter snowstorm headed our way. Instead of stopping for our normal night in Laramie, we decided to run ahead of the storm. We ended up in Sydney, NE at the Cabela’s parking lot. Nice place and free. We set our clocks to Central time and decided to just stay on that for the next few weeks.

We were up and out early, planning to overnight at Adventure Land park in Des Moines where we stayed last year in mid October. We got there, and they had closed the campground to prepare for some Halloween activity! Even though it was after 6:00 pm we decided to drive the remaining 125 miles to the town our daughter lives in. We are now comfortably established in at Squaw Creek county park in Marion where we will stay until Wednesday. One of the cats doesn’t seem well so we are taking her to the vet too. Sigh. It is a laundry day too. We get to see our daughter, her husband, and our grandson tonight too, a real win.

Home for the bad weather

It has been so hot at home! When I first looked at moving to the SLC area, I checked the historic temperature ranges. On average it used to get over 100 degrees four times a year. Last month we had over 10 days! It was the hottest July on record. Even worse it doesn’t get down below 70 degrees at night, and that is by 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. We have some medical and service appointments these three weeks so we can’t just head out again or I would! Even worse than the temps is the pollution. We sit in a big bowl of mountains with two million people driving lots of cars. Add to that mining and numerous petroleum refineries and we are getting a double whammy of particulate pollution and ozone. We really, really need a storm to come through and blow all this nasty air away, but it won’t be here for a few more days.

I am dealing with the heat by not using my stove or oven. If it can’t be microwaved or cooked in the Instant Pot, it doesn’t get made. We have had a few pork loin roasts and a beef pot roast, and that helps the heat. It is sad that I don’t get to leave my blinds open during the day though since I love looking at the mountains through the windows. Then again, I can’t see the mountains well due to the pollution! We decided to take a drive yesterday out to Antelope Island. Normally we get a great view to both the Lakeside Mountains to the west of the Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Mountains to the east. Yesterday we couldn’t see the Lakeside at all, and only the vaguest hint of the Wasatch. In other words, if anyone local wants to do a rain dance, please do.

Is that enough of a whine for today?

Antelope Island State Park

Yesterday Kevin and I decided to take a drive to Antelope Island. Usually there are dreadful biting gnats that love to chew me up, but the stiff breeze must have blew them all away. I have never been there with such beautiful weather and no bugs. We were not the only people with the idea – there were lots and lots of people there.

See all the tiny dots of people in the lake? I haven’t ever seen as many people in the water.

It was also a good day to see animals. We saw deer, pronghorn, coyotes, and a chukar. Chukars are some of my favorite birds. They were imported for bird hunting, and they are similar to quail but larger. They generally walk through the campground in small groups with an interesting clucking sounds. We saw just this one, but we heard a second nearby.

Oh, and we definitely saw bison. Lots and lots of bison! The nursery herd has broken up into smaller bands of a hundred or so, and the bachelors seem to have coalesced mostly into one big herd. There weren’t very many of the solitary bison bulls that make such good photographs.

This group was on a mission to head to a different spring. While we were watching they just decided to get up and go. You can see the calves are getting big but still have their reddish color.

This group was quite happy at the springs next to the lakeshore. See how green everything is?

Here are just some more beautiful pictures of the Island. This is looking east across Farmington Bay to the Wasatch Range. Not much snow left where you can see it, but there is still a lot in the backcountry.

This is looking northeast across the causeway (the only access to the island) and Promentory Point, site of the Golden Spike National Historic site.

I know I post a lot about Antelope Island, but I really love this place, and it is close to home. The combination is unbeatable.

Antelope Island (again) plus the sewing show

I spent five hours at the Utah Quilting and Sewing Marketplace show yesterday.  Four of those I staffed the booth for American Sewing Guild, and one hour I had lunch and shopped. I didn’t get anything cool (just needles and bobbins for my quilting machine – 20% off!) so I didn’t take pictures. I then took a trip to Ikea to get some more storage containers for the trailer and headed home. Since nothing at Ikea is quick, it was a long day. I baked some nice salmon with a honey and mustard glaze that was tasty.

Kevin decided he wanted to try again to see the bison calves at Antelope Island so we took off about 6:30 for the 30 minute trip. What a good choice! We saw our first deer while still on the causeway; it was running along side us. I guess folks who say early dusk is the best time to see animals are right – we saw deer, pronghorn, coyotes, and lots and lots of bison. The nursery herd had finally gotten a bit closer to humans. Not too close as you can see from the picture (take with a zoom), but at least we could see them. Notice some low and some still high on the hills.

This picture was taken with my new camera. It is definitely better than my iPhone, and I have discovered how to transfer the pictures wirelessly. No more having to fire up the computer, pull out a memory card, transfer to computer, then transfer to the iPad! I love it.

The Wasatch Mountains still have their heads covered in snow. This is looking across Farmington Bay.

Again it was a zoom from the new camera. The next one was a lovely surprise. This is taken looking west from the Island. The best sunsets in the Salt Lake Valley are from Antelope Island.

Today we pack the trailer for the trip to California. Tomorrow we are having a natural gas line run into the kitchen and the new stove put in. Samsung, dual fuel (gas range, electric oven) with 5 burners all of varying BTU so you can simmer a sauce while boiling another big pot of water for pasta. I am pretty pumped! We have an old builder grade electric stove with a glass top that I just hate. I much prefer gas so I can judge the heat much easier.

Getting ready

We have been at home for a very long time – since mid February! However a new trip is coming up, and we are getting things ready. Kevin is continuing to rehab, visiting the PT three times a week until we leave on Tuesday. It is helping, so we should be able to take a lot of nice bike rides in California. I bought a new camera to take along too!

Note this one is waterproof. I like the water, and I have lost two cameras to it. One was in the Great Salt Lake and one on a river. Sigh. I should have learned my lesson after the first one. The new camera has all kinds of bells and whistles my 4 year old camera doesn’t, so it will probably be my main one now. I am not a sophisticated photographer, so I like point and shoot cameras.

We did go out on Sunday to see the bison babies at Antelope Island State Park. The park had posted on Facebook the nursery herd had moved to the east side where the roads are, and we were hoping to see lots of the little “red dogs.” Sadly we saw nothing except 15 – 20 solitary males. We did get a nice lunch out of it (take out Chinese eaten in the car) and some good sightseeing. I also got bit by one of the nasty biting gnats out right now. Those things love me, and they generally bite my scalp. I only was out of the car for a minute putting trash in a can. Sigh. This the view from the east side of the island across Farmington Bay to the Wasatch Mountains. The snow line is probably about 8500′. The lake is about 4200′.

Taken with my iPhone camera so not as nice as the new camera will be (I hope).

This morning I am just enjoying a delicious spring day on my front porch. It has been rainy for weeks it seems! We have gotten almost half our annual rainfall in the last 3 months, so I am looking forward to forecasted dry weather. Kevin says he isn’t even going to try out the sprinklers until June. We have so much water in the soil he won’t need to.