Wednesday, the Freehiking Utah Group hiked Stansbury Island, in the Great Salt Lake. Seven members of the group participated - two couples, Ken and PJ, Ken and Kay, and also Ben, Bill, and the Utahspringhiker. Since this was our monthly local hike, I’m sure we would have had more attendance if the weather had not been marginal in Salt Lake valley, but the weather at the Island was wonderful - (a lesson for all to note in the future - not always true, but I've spent many days watching and marveling as storm clouds dissipate just before reaching the Island).
Stansbury Island is a dry desert, almost barren environment, although we did see a few nice wildflowers. The attraction on this hike is the spectacular, wide-open views from a wonderful trail which follows the old shoreline of ancient Lake Bonneville. The trail starts with a fairly steep climb and then levels off hundreds of feet above the valley floor. In the end, we hiked in a one-way loop for 2 1/2 hours and for an estimated 4 miles, gaining (and dropping) an estimated 1,000 feet (note to self: consider bringing a gps for these...).
At places you see beautiful views of the Great Salt Lake, and the salt evaporation ponds. Grey sandstone cliffs, striated with layers of brownish sandstone, crop out along the trail, and you occasionally cross slick rock where ancient waterfalls once flowed.
Some of the members were concerned at first that the temperature would be too cool, not realizing that you can sometimes feel warmer hiking naked than you do with clothes on - (hard to believe, but its true.) So the weather for the hike turned out to be perfect – a sky filled with big fluffy clouds, and a nice breeze around each corner. The hikers couldn’t resist raising their arms occasionally to fully take advantage of the wonderful, cooling breeze. Nude hiking is the best, especially when you go with the best of friends. Ken (of Ken and Kay) took a few photos of the hiking friends along the trail (see http://imageevent.com/justmeina/oldstandby ).
This was such a wonderful hike. (If you hadn't heard, Utah is the freehiking capital of America!)