After yesterday’s exciting post about dinosaurs, we are back today with something just as…errrrrr…interesting. SALT! And, lots of it!
As we continued to work our way west from Colorado to Oregon and after crossing the mountains of eastern Utah, we entered an area of the United States known as the Great Basin.
This part of The West is an endorheic basin, meaning precipitation that lands in this part of the country never makes it to the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean. The land is surrounded by enormous mountain ranges on all sides trapping any rain or snow. This, combined with an extremely arid climate, means that all the water in the Great Basic eventually evaporates.
This creates some amazing land formations. One of which is the Bonneville Salt Flats.
This wasn’t even a planned stop on our road trip. We were just making our way across western Utah when the scenery became incredible. I woke Jessica up from her nap as we pulled into a rest stop. Just 100 feet from the parking lot you could walk right out onto the flats.
We only planned to spend a few minutes here, but it was surprisingly fun! We had gotten an early start (waking up at 6am to ice on the inside of our tent), and the sun was still low in the sky. That kept the air cool and helped make some fun shadows for photographs.
We probably spent about an hour just goofing around on the flats. We jumped, did hand stands, danced, and ran off into the distance. It was the sort of play you engage in when visiting a place that is both completely new and seemingly limitless.
While the salt flats were interesting, the rest of the Great Basin was not. It took about 11 hours of driving to cross and was barren badlands for much of the way. We were reeling by the end of the drive and ready to get back to some greener pastures – literally! Happily, the end of our drive put us in Crater Lake National Park, which you can read about tomorrow!