IT TOOK A WEEK to cross the prehistoric Lake Bonneville basin -- and I'm impressed how large it is! The original lake covered some 20,000 square miles and 1,000 feet deep, while the present Great Salt Lake is a small remnant (10 % area, only 33' deep) of its ancient predecessor which became landlocked after the last Ice Age. Dissolved salts and natural evaporation have made the shallow water seven times saltier than the ocean, and spawned an industry that extracts about 2 million tons of salt each year. It's interesting that water evaporation from the lake surface balances the fresh water flowing into the lake, so it's neither growing or shrinking. Naturally, the high alkalinity restricts native wildlife to brine shrimp and migratory birds, and the corrosive salt limits boating and water recreation, too.
At the south shore of the Great Salt Lake I passed the Saltair Pavillion -- the remains of a Moorish style resort built for socializing and enjoyment of the lake. It's been dubbed the "cursed resort" because it's been neglected, twice burned down, and now stands alone hoping that someone will come and play. How sad! The Mormons originally promoted it as a family safe place for young men to bring their dates and even had regular trolley service from the city center some fifteen miles away.
Week 11, Miles 760