We loved our visit to the Spiral Jetty so much last year, I wasn't sure we should go again, for fear it wouldn't live up to our memories of it! But, we also DID want to go there again, and my brother and his family were going to stop there on their way down from Idaho, so it seemed worth it to at least see them. Sam couldn't go with us, and I was a little nervous about driving clear out there with the kids by myself, but I figured as long as we started home before dark I would probably be okay. (Oh! And Sam took Teddy with him to his meetings, so I didn't have to worry about a grumpy baby falling into the water and scraping his hands on the salt and so forth all day, so that was VERY helpful.)
We needn't have worried, because again, we had a great time! It was a much warmer day than last time, so we enjoyed just being outside! We brought our rain boots with socks—and extra pairs—this year (since wet feet inside boots were the cause of much discomfort last year), but I'm also thinking water shoes would be a good option, since the boots inevitably get water in them.
Last year the Salt Lake was SO pink, it was like being on another planet! I was a little disappointed to see that it was much less pink this year. But it had its own more peaceful beauty on this calm day. Less foam, fewer waves, and just a pale pink cast to the grey-blue water, with the sun shining down through. Still a bleak, barren landscape. Still otherworldly. Just…a different other world. :)
On the way there we stopped at the Golden Spike historic site, as one must when heading out that direction, and were so pleased to see the two replica steam engines driving up to meet each other just as we arrived! Last time we went, we only got to see them in the engine shed, so we were happy to see them actually working! I thought they stopped sending out the locomotives after Labor Day, so this was a pleasant surprise.
These guys had to reenact the historic handshake again, naturally.
Then it was on to the jetty! Of course, the boys set off to conquer the hill immediately. See them way up there at the top?
And the girls and I headed out to the jetty, and then on past it to the shore of the lake.
There was a little bit of foam! But not much.
It was still enough to play with.
After awhile we took off our boots. The salt flat areas were pretty sharp and poky (though they bothered my feet more than the girls') but there was a kind of sand bar that was fun to play on, and easier on the feet.
The pink salt on the bottom of the lake was quite visible from some angles, but the water itself looked mostly bluish across the surface.
Finally our cousins arrived! We saw their car pull up, and Daisy took off running in excitement. So did Benjamin, from the other direction.
Ben was so happy to see Daisy, he just picked her right up and hugged her!
Goldie got a hug too.
And of course, everyone was thrilled about seeing Philip and Allison's little red-headed twins again!
I love watching Daisy and Ben together. I hope their friendship lasts forever! They are only three weeks apart in age, though they've never been close in size! :) Ben is protective and sweet with Daisy. They held hands for this entire day, and most of the next times we got together, too. Sweeties!
Big boys, off doing big boy things.
Near the shore of the lake there was a long line of brownish debris. Upon closer examination, we saw it was…dead insects!! Last time we saw the occasional dried-out grasshopper on the salt flats, but this was TONS of bugs, all brittle and salty and well-preserved. It was very strange and cool. I don't know if these are all the bugs that have died all over the surface of the lake when trying to drink, and then they've just washed up here? Or if there is some other reason there are so many of them? It was a little sad, and when Malachi saw a tiny dead bird among them, he started to cry for a minute. :( But we were also just so interested! There were beetles and dragonflies and grasshoppers and mantises. All having been tricked into thinking this was a good place for refreshment, I suppose.
And ladybugs! Hundreds of them! So many different colors and varieties. We took home several for our insect collection.
I saw what I thought was a smooth, weathered piece of driftwood off on one of the salt flats. But when I walked over there, I saw it was this dead pelican! Again…not smelly, not decaying. Just dried out like a mummy. Poor pelican! What a strange and forbidding place this is.
Another twin. Or the same one? :)
This was one of the pinker pieces of salt I found. But most of it looked mostly white.
We found so many different-shaped crystals! I thought they would all be sort of cubic, as salt usually is. But there was this interesting step-pyramid-shaped crystal...
(a better angle to see that one)
and this spiky, needle-like crystal...
and these clustered, flowerlike crystals...
and these long sort of rhombuses. So interesting!
It was such a beautiful day at this strange, beautiful lake of ours! We were so glad to share it with the Nelson family! (And we did get started home and off of the dirt road by dark, so that was a relief.)