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Salt Lake

Antelope Island, Utah
July 7, 2006

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Floating in the Great Salt Lake as a child is one of my earliest road trip memories. So, to pass the tradition on, shortly after we grabbed the last campsite left on Antelope Island we got into our swimsuits and marched down to the mucky shore of this briney sea. As we approached the waveless edge, thousands of midges -- non-biting gnats -- rose in small, black clouds before us. We waded into the warm water and out towards the setting sun. Ellie began to complain about her mosquito bites, stinging in the salt water. Then everything else began to hurt, and I could only convince them to lie down and bob in the buoyant water a moment before we had to rush back, Ellie high up on my shoulders. It wasn't quite as nice as it looks in the pictures.

And it wasn't done with us yet. In the morning, I woke to a beautiful site: the lake at dawn out the screened back of the van. But when I opened the door, thousands of midges who had made the van their new home swarmed inside. We gave up trying to get them out after 20 minutes, and began driving. But there were still thousands when we stopped an hour later, and two hours after that, and all across Utah, and Nevada, and even in Reno there were still dozens hanging on. Some made it all the way to our driveway, and wouldn't completely surprise me to find some still living in the van today.