There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label Antelope Island. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Antelope Island. Show all posts

23 May 2016

Fielding Garr Ranch

"I guarantee that we will see some buffalo if we go."

"Yes! Antelope Island!"

It was as easy as that. Within minutes we are driving on the causeway out to Antelope Island. The oldest child has a headache and takes a nap, but the other two are keeping their eyes peeled for buffalo.
The paved road ends, turning into a bumpy and dusty dirt road. We adventure on, and at the end of the trail, way up on the island's hillside, we see the herd.

Turning back from whence we came, I ask if they would like to stop at the Fielding Garr Ranch. The girls want to rest in the car, but Cbug is up for it. The ranch has a rich Mormon history, being a stronghold for managing the church's tithing funds. It was also a sheep and cattle ranching homestead until those became unprofitable.

Ranching operations ceased though when the Island became a State park in 1981. We listen to these stories from an 82 year old cowboy that has spent most of his life at Fielding Garr. He tells us that there is a book full of pictures and we can take one if we'd like.

We enter the barns and stables and fall back into Utah's cowboy history.
There is an open area set up for kids to try their hand at a lasso. CBug grabs a rope and shows me what he's got as the lasso is swung around over his head.
We walk into a small ranch hand room made for sleeping, an old and musty cellar, a kitchen from the early 20th century.
A trail into the woods behind the Ranch begs us to explore it. We find an old tree that has fallen. CBug climbs it and I flashback to when I was his age, doing the same thing.
Today was one of the good days.


05 January 2016

Antelope Island

I hadn't been to Utah's Antelope Island since I was a child. My memories of this place were of bugs galore, floating in a smelly lake, and being able to walk for what seemed like miles in the water with it never getting deeper.

Thirty five years later, I returned to find it a winter wonderland, full of beauty and unexpected thrills.
The Wasatch mountains have new appeal from this western view, the towns that line the valley are minuscule from out here. It doesn't take long before I find my first trail head, the Dooley Knob Spur.
The hike may be short, but with a 23% grade incline in the snow, I sweat bullets. You can continue to hike to the peak if you choose, adding another three or so miles. I add this to my list for a return trip.

Antelope Island is perhaps best known for it's buffalo herd. Seen throughout the island during the warmer months, the herd is rounded up during the winter on to the Garrison ranch to help them survive the cold months.

You can still see them though from a distance.
The biggest thrill for me was watching a family of coyote's hunt for prey. They paid little attention to the human element, focused intently on catching a meal. Their healthy coats show what good hunters they are.
On the other side of the island is Buffalo Point. You can watch the sunset from the lookout deck, or hike to the summit. The views from either vantage point will not disappoint.
Bug free, uncrowded and beautiful, Antelope Island is a northern Utah gem in the wintertime, and if you have half a day, I strongly recommend it.