Steve Schimmrich is a geologist and community college professor in a rural area of the mid-Hudson Valley of New York. All of the opinions expressed here are strictly his own. Sometimes he gets cranky and uses bad words.
Today we drove from Moab, UT to Layton, UT (a few miles north of Salt Lake City). On the way, we stopped at Temple Square - the heart of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons).
I was very surprised we weren't approached by the smiling, Bible-carrying (or is it Book of Mormon carrying), well-dressed young people strolling the property with name tags. I'm one of those curmudgeons that doesn't like overly-friendly people approaching me - I always wonder what they want and about their ulterior motive.
Someday I should write about the Mormon beliefs (there are tie-ins to geology - Hill Cumorah in NY where Joseph Smith supposedly discovered the golden tablets which he translated into the book of Mormon is a glacial depositional landform called a drumlin). Of course, being highly skeptical of the story will offend some people who, like the young-Earth creationists of evangelical Christianity, believe in things that science has shown to be nonsense.
Anyway, after Salt Lake City, we drove out to Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. It's a 15 x 5 mile mountainous island (up to 2,500 feet above lake level) with a core of 2.7 billion-year old gneiss (Farmington Canyon Complex).
They have a herd of bison there as well as some pronghorns...
And of course we had to take the kids into the Great Salt Lake. If you've never been there, it smells bad, is a soup of brine shrimp (my kids were scooping them up in their hands), and has loads of biting gnats. Coming out of the water, you feel a nasty film on your skin from the high salinity (ranging from 5 - 20% depending on lake levels, etc.). Average ocean salinity, for comparison, is 3.5%.
It is a scenic place, however, with views of mountains across the lake and while we were there a thunderstorm rolled in with a neat lightning show.