Many of you had some very good guesses for 'G'. Genealogy was a good one as the best Family History library in the world is here in Utah. Geology was a good guess too, as we have some of the most diverse and beautiful geology in the world here in Utah. Grrlfriends was, of course, a great guess as that is one of the most important things in my life here in Utah and Utah Grrls rock!. The best wrong guess was Green Jello from Julia. Check this link for recipes of favorite Utah Mormon dishes, like Green Jello and Funeral Potatoes.
But in my opinion, G must be for the Great Salt Lake.
Most pioneers were heading to Oregon or California and didn't think of settling here because of the lake, which in turn made it 'the place' for the Mormon pioneers. They wanted to be left alone to build their own society and make the desert blossom like a rose.
Smith and I had a sail boat on the lake for many years and enjoyed sailing in the spring and fall. The lake is beautiful once you leave the stinky shore. It is a challenge to have a boat on the lake as the salt will eat everything and you spend extra time maintaining the trim, deck and motor. There are bugs during the hot months of summer...especially spiders and brine flies. This orb spinning spider is only found around the lake and they love the Marina where the ropes and rigging's are perfect places for their webs. I could go on and on about this, but there are no good memories involved, so we'll move on.
There are 11 islands in the lake (which is about 80 miles long and 40 miles wide, bigger than Rhode Island).The large islands in the southern portion are named Antelope (this was my 'A '), Stansbury (in the picture above), Fremont, and Carrington. The smaller islands are named Badger, Hat (Bird), and Egg. The four small islands in the northwestern portion are Dolphin, Gunnison, Cub, and Strongs Knob. You can see the lake and islands on this map, which shows how big the lake is and where SLC is in situated.
There is a secret in the lake, too. It's not a monster, it's a beautiful piece of art, created by Robert Smithson, called the Spiral Jetty. The location is rather remote (therefore we have never visited) and when the lake is high the Jetty is hidden from view. It's best viewed from the air.
The lake is at a low point after several years of drought. The normal average depth of the lake is around 12' and now it is low enough that some of the larger, fixed keel boats have trouble navigating the shallow waters. At the moment the beaches are very wide and if you click the shoreline photo above you can see the salt, moss and, not so nice, sand. It doesn't smell very good either. The white in the foreground of this photo is also salt and the actual lake water is only a thin line. (click to enlarge)
Ongoing conservation efforts strive to fix problems caused by man and ensure large wetland areas for migratory birds. Not only do we have California Gulls (our state bird) but, thousands of other birds live on the shoreline, including pelicans and a flamingo named Floyd (Pink Floyd...get it?). The link for Floyd has some other interesting information on the lake and also the story of how Floyd came to live on the lake.
This photo is of the Stansbury mountains to the south of the lake.
The Great Salt Lake does get a bad rap for it's smell, salinity, shoreline ick and bugs, but it can be a very nice place to visit. Antelope Island is a State Park with a visitors center and you can bike, hike and see the buffalo who live there. The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is well worth the trip, especially if you are a bird watcher. Bald Eagles also winter in Farmington Bay . We visit just to remind ourselves that the lake is a part of our Utah landscape.
Terry Tempest Williams book 'Refuge' is a beautifully written story of her mothers death and the demise of the bird refuge during the 1983 floods. It remains one of my favorite books and is worth reading over and over.
The winner of the contest (she got it right before last Friday's hint) is Sue M. in Spokane. I had no idea it would be so hard to guess and that so many Utah Grrls wouldn't know it either! Thanks for playing along.