Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Tale of Two Trips

Looking east across the Great Salt Lake Desert toward Granite Peak from the vicinity of Dead Cedar Wash. March 3, 2010.

The first trip began early in the morning on ALT Highway 93 as I headed north toward Wendover, Nevada. The sun had barely risen, and reflections from the desert were a bright red orange.
The second trip ended with MOH and I driving past the same spot early in the evening of April 3, 2011, almost exactly 13 months later.
Silver Island Mountains and Bonneville Salt Flats. March 3, 2010.

On the first trip, I stopped at the southernmost rest stop near the Salduro siding, where an elevated viewing area provided me this view of the Silver Island Mountains north of the east and westbound lanes of I-80. The Bonneville Salt Flats were full of water when I passed by the first time; they were salty and mostly dry earlier this month, as seen in the first photo of my last post, and in the zoomed in version below.
Silver Island Mountains and Bonneville Salt Flats. April 3, 2011.
The Silver Island Mountains show some of the lower shorelines of Pleistocene Lake Bonneville: several old beaches near Silver Island Pass are highlighted by early morning shadows on the right; two wave-cut notches are almost hidden in shadow on the left. The snow-capped peaks are probably the Pilot Mountains. March 3, 2010.
The angle's a little different, but that's salt out in front of Tetzlaff Peak, the highest peak in the foreground, and maybe a bit of water or a thin mirage near the far edge of the flats. Those are the same low hills near Silver Island Pass on the right side of the photo, the same Bonneville shorelines and notches cutting the angular hillslopes as in the previous, somewhat zoomed in photo. April 3, 2011.
In March of last year, after leaving the Salduro rest stop and heading toward the SLC airport, I drove by the place where water of the Great Salt Lake was over the road in the spring following or during the El NiƱo of 1982-1983 (May, 1983). I thought the water looked kind of high, although I'm not well versed in its normal yearly fluctuations. I was about two and a half miles west of Burmeister and the Tooele-Grantsville exit on I-80 (MSRMaps location), looking toward the Oquirrh Mountains when I took the first picture (above) on March 3, 2010.
Strangely enough, the water once again looked high to me when we passed through early this month, and indeed it was higher: a year and one month after the first trip, spring runoff from the Wasatch Mountains (and other ranges) may have been in full swing. The second photo (above), from April 2, 2011, shows the exact same fence posts as the first, due to extreme luck and clever cropping.

For the first trip I arrived at the SLC airport and went off to Alaska. On the second trip, MOH and I arrived in Ogden and, before re-crossing the desert on our return trip, we visited a brewpub, dinosaur park, and very cool canyon.

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