A Bathtub of Sulphur

Something about the Great Salt Lake fascinates me. Probably its smell. So when I say it "fascinates" me, what I mean is it fascinates me in the same way a bathtub of sulphur would fascinate me. Which, as I pause to consider it, is actually quite a lot.

Beware the Giant Brine Shrimp!
A couple of years ago on a cold January evening I drove my kids to a quaint marina near Saltair, a dilapidated husk of a thrice-resurrected resort, where ferris wheels wheeled, flapper girls flapped, and now bands like Panic at the Disco panic (probably because of the Giant Brine Shrimp). We braved the cold for an hour or so. I got a couple nice photos just past sundown. The kids contented themselves throwing rocks into the water.

Throwing rocks is a timeless activity. Fads come and go, but throwing rocks is always awesome. When I was in second grade, I was chucking rocks from the school playground into the school parking lot. My impeccable judgment clearly hadn't fully developed at that point. One chucked rock sailed through a car window. Mrs. Woody gave me a pink slip and I had to go see the principal AND I got grounded. For I think 45 minutes. My mom kind of sucked at the whole discipline thing.

But kids were throwing rocks long before I came along. David chucked a rock and KILLED a man (Goliath deserved it though, for having a stupid name). At least I only broke a window.

A few days ago, I took the whole family up the west side of the Great Salt Lake for another long-awaited go at snapping photos on the shores of the fascinating body of water. Other families take trips to lame places like "Disneyland" or "the beach" or "Grandma's house," but not us. We go to see putrid bogs of muck, and when we get there my socially-undernourished kids leap from the car, sniff the awful air, and yell "Cool!! Can we throw rocks here?!" It has taken years of brainwashing to get them to this point of glassy-eyed docility.

The sky got a little polarized. My bad.
Unfortunately, having four kids now, we never actually made it to the lake itself. Grace pretended she was car sick, so we stopped near a basin of hard, salty mud strewn with animal bones and old crooked power line poles with ancient, snapped wires lilting lazily in the breeze. I clicked a few dozen photos and stepped in patch of soft, smelly mud that oozed into my Birkenstocks. It was... texturally troubling. And olfactorily odious.

On the way home we stopped at a Chevron in Grantsville. Grace locked herself in the bathroom. Halen chastised me in front of the checkout clerk for buying a Coke "this late at night." I think the leather-skinned man buying a tin of chewing tobacco heard Savannah ask me whether he was going to steal her and throw her in the back of his canopied truck. When I stepped to the counter to pay, the clerk said, "You ain't from around here, is ya." Nope, we ain't. Just exploring the fascinating environs of the Great Salt Lake.