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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Saturday in Utah- Antelope Island State Park

Welcome to Saturday.  

Just kidding it's Sunday night and we are all dreading the idea of going to work tomorrow.  While I wish it was Saturday,   welcome to the Saturday recap of my Utah trip.   

Saturday morning we were officially out of eggs and I was officially sick of cooking breakfast.  We slept in and walked to Roula's Cafe in downtown, Salt Lake City.  Excuse the crazy Thatcher hair.   Sorry Thatch :) 

I am very Type A while Thatcher is pretty Type B.  I had the trip planned to the hour and Thatcher is great at letting me be crazy and tagging along.  First on the agenda was a trip to Antelope Island State Park.  Thatcher had been in SLC for about six weeks and had not been to the state park or seen the Great Salt Lake yet.  I was really excited to see the island, the lake, and the bison that are known to wander around the island.   

I have been to many state parks,  but this one was about a zillion times more amazing than I anticipated.  A gorgeous island, in the middle of a huge lake, with a chain of mountains as a backdrop.  Bisons and Antelope are just a few of the critters that share the island with tourists, road bikers, runners, and hikers.  There is a marina, a ranch, and miles of paved roads for biking, and dirt trails for hiking.   This park is paradise.  

Just the drive in had us both speechless.    

Thatcher's new car pulled over for the hundreth time so I could sneak out to take a few pictures with my Nikon. 

 Bison are usually in herds, this lone bison was resting by the lakes. I snapped this gorgeous shot of a resting bison by Great Salt Lake.  

We found a herd of bison grazing within the first five minutes of the drive.  They were gigantic, majestic, and terrifying all at the same time.  When I was in Wyoming at Yellowstone, I learned they can be quite dangerous so I kept my distance and used my zoom lens to get some great pictures of the bison.  

   Such a kind eye:)  

The bison were such a treat.  I had seen a few in Wyoming but had never been so close.  Thatcher had never seen a bison before so we had to take a picture of Thatcher and his new friends.  

After we said goodbye to the bison buddies, we drove down to Fielding Garr Ranch, per my demand.  After a little research ( I told you, Type A)  I discovered there was a ranch on the island.  You could bring your own horse (BYOH)  or rent one at the ranch.  On our way to the ranch we saw this group riding around the island and I nearly had a temper tantrum.   They were on ponies, and I wanted to be on a pony.   Thatcher.. is not a pony enthusiast. 

Before I visited the horses, a ranger gave us a little tour around the farm.  

We met with a ranger/farm hand that offered to give us a quick tour around the farm and lead us to the horned owl that had made the ranch it's home.   I grabbed my zoom lens and found this beautiful horned owl watching us from up above. 

After I took a hundred pictures of the beautiful owl, we walked over to the stables to see the horses.  I saw a cowboy tacking up his horse before he rushed out to meet his group for their ride.  Before rushing off he told me about the Bison Roundup.  Every fall riders pay $30 to help round up the bison on the island.  They keep about 500 bison on the island, vacinate and medicate, and sell the rest of the bison.  Population and health control for the bison.  I will have to come back to ride the bison round up. The inner cowgirl in me is dying to ride in the round up.  

Oh, I was so so so jealous.   
I vowed to come back and "rent a horse"  to ride around the island.  
And ride in that round up.  

 After Thatcher dragged me away from the ranch, we drove back towards home, stopping again to take a few hundred more photos.    You could not peel me away from my camera! 

The sun was out and the image of the reflection of the mountains on the lake was amazing. 

So many pictures to frame! 

If you go to Salt Lake City.  Put Antelope Island State Park on your list.  A gorgeous landscape, mountains, water, bison, horses..... road biking hiking... All for $10 dollar park entrance fee per car.  40 minutes from the city.   Antelope Island-  I will be back! 

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