Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Crossing an Inland Sea

This year, beginning May 25th through June 1st, I’m going to attempt my most ambitious adventure to date: I will cross the Great Salt Lake (GSL). In a kayak. Solo.

I’ll be taking eight days (traveling roughly 20 miles a day), to cross the world’s fourth largest terminal lake (which basically means it is the end of line for water coming into it). Roughly 5,000 square miles larger than the Dead Sea (25% larger), the GSL is a remnant of the ancient Lake Bonneville, which used to cover most of the state of Utah. It contains four times the salinity of the ocean; therefore, it has no fish population to speak of. However, it is one of the largest bird habitats in the country; so there is a trade off.

I’ve been told by Dave, the Dock Master of the Great Salt Lake Marina and Antelope State Park Marina, that I am possibly the only person on record to attempt it. To quote him, “A lot of people talk about doing it, but no one ever does.” This seems utterly ludicrous to me, but I’ve endeavored to find evidence of someone else’s crack at it and haven’t been too successful.

Shockingly, the Great Salt Lake, which is really more like an inland sea, is not a terribly popular spot for year-round kayakers. I rarely see others on my training days (every Saturday, 16-18 mile jaunts). It may have something to do with the strong smell of dead brine shrimp and water so laden with salt that it forms crystals all over your arms, legs, face, head, boat and paddle. But there is something magical about the GSL: it is a marvelous work and wonder.

Hopefully, over the next two months I will provide more information. Also, if anyone has some good advice about writing a Living Will, I’d love to hear it. (No. I’m not planning on dying. But I would like to be prepared.)

PS Please take the time to check out She'll be doing all the documentation for this adventure.