The Great Salt Lake in Utah is home to many different hiking
trails, and thankfully I decided to hike around Stansbury Island. This is the
second largest island next to Antelope Island on the Great Salt Lake. The hike I
decided to go on was just over nine miles one way but being short on time I only
hiked four of the nine before I turned around. This place was surreal, I only encountered
a couple of people, the sights were outstanding and the trail was easy to
Getting to the island was fairly easy, you can google,
Stansbury Island Trail and it will take you right out to the hiking area. Once you
turn off the main highway, a dirt road takes you across what is known as the “Mud
Flats.” To be honest I don’t know much about the Great Salt Lake, and driving
on a road that is surrounded by the water was a little scary. The water was not
very deep but I have no idea if the mud under it is soft and you could sink in
it or if it is even safe to enter the water! It was beautiful though and once
through the mud flats and onto the island there is just water on one side of
you. The dirt road goes on for about six miles before you turn right into the
parking area. From what I understand there is a shooting range before the
parking area that you can start at but it shortens the hike and you miss out on
some of the best views. If you go past the shooting range and find the parking
area, which was kind of difficult to spot, there is a trail marker for where
you should start.
For the first part of the hike we walked through a field at
the base of the mountain. Here is where I ran into a couple of people, they
were camping at this spot. For any backpackers out there it was a small site
but is very easy to get to and has a campfire ring and a spot for a tent. Past
here is the first accent up the mountain, the incline wasn’t too bad but is a
little steep so be prepared! About half way up the trail is a flat landing area
perfect for a break and some pictures of the lake! The dogs had to be coaxed a
little to pose for a picture here! Once we accomplished that we kept going, the
trail worked its way to the top in switch backs. At the top of the mountain you
can see both sides of the Great Salt Lake. The view is mesmerizing!
From here I followed the trail which cut along the side of
the mountain, looping around the side and heading back inland. After four miles
I stopped and took a second to look around! There are cows in the valley, and
the trial kept working its way back up another mountain. I saw a couple of
trail runners and one other couple with their dog. The hike is easy once you
make it up the first hill. To hike 8 miles it took me just over two hours. The
trail was easy to follow, it is kind narrow but no big obstacles to overcome. I
plan on going back next time we are in Salt Lake and hiking the entire thing. I
recommend bringing plenty of water because there is none once you get up there.
I had to share my water with my dogs so that also contributed to cutting the
hike short! If anyone is looking for a beautiful hike, that is fairly easy I say
go on this one!
Does anyone like to ice fish? I ask this because I used to
HATE ice fishing! We would go all the time when I was younger and it sucked. I
was always freezing cold, the wind was blowing constantly and we sat on five
gallon buckets around a hole all day and never caught anything! Such a boring
way to spend a weekend I always thought. Well if you agreed with me, I hope the
rest of this changes your mind.
Dalton likes to ice fish, and I would never go with him
because as I said above my experience with it was not fun. Fortunately for me
though, Dalton convinced me to go with him one weekend. At this time we were
living in Fairfield, Montana and the options of where to go were limited. We
ended up driving to Pishkun Reservoir which is about 50 miles northwest of
Fairfield. It was snowing and the wind was blowing like usual in that area. My
mind was changed first when we set up our ice house. It is a four person Eskimo
tent that is super easy to set up. All four sides and the top just pop open
when you pull on a tab. The tent kept the wind out but not necessarily the
cold. If I remember right the temperature was below freezing before the wind chill.
Dalton had brought a small propane tank and a heater that attached directly to
it. When this was running I was able to fish in just my t-shirt, no jacket, hat
or gloves needed!
Soon enough I decided that I could learn to ice fish like
this. A nice tent to keep the wind off, a heater to keep me warm, and I never
had to go outside. When I was younger we never had the tent or heater. We were
out on the ice for probably three hours and I started to get bored. I kept
thinking about how typical it was to never catch anything ice fishing. We had
brought Peyton with us, (we didn’t have Case yet), and her and I played outside
for a while to keep from going insane. Bringing Peyton was not a horrible idea!
She had a blast, but having her in the tent was a little crowded and I worried
about her running around out on the ice. I didn’t want her to fall in. Nowadays
we don’t usually take either dog when we go ice fishing.
After about another hour or two without catching anything we
decided to call it a day and start breaking stuff down. Dalton had gone outside
to reel up the six other holes we had drilled. I should mention that we had tip-ups,
or for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a contraption that holds
an ice fishing pole for you. You drill holes a ways from the tent, then take
the tip-ups and place them over the holes. They are square so they won’t fall
through the hole. Then the pole is placed in its holder and a spring loaded
flag will pop up when something pulls on the line. We set these up to better our
chances of catching a fish. As I was saying, Dalton went to pick those up while
I cleaned up in the tent. Right then is when my mind was changed for good! One
of the lines started going out so I grabbed the pole and started reeling in! I
caught my first ever Pike and my first ever fish ice fishing! The experience
was so fun and I regret not going more when I was younger!
Also when we go, we use a big black sled to pull most everything, from the tent, to the auger, poles, buckets, heater and propane tank. It makes life so much easier and the sled doesn’t have to be anything special just something to pull everything in. We also wear YakTrax, which go over our boots and have small spikes on the bottom for traction on the ice. These are a life saver! Always be sure to check with your local Fish, Wildlife and Parks before going out on a lake. There are times when it is safe and not safe to go on the ice! Ice fishing started out as something I dreaded doing and now I look forward to it every winter. It is a great hobby to have in the cold weather and with the right gear it is enjoyable! I would like to mention that we do catch and release all of our fish.