We were pointed toward home. We’d spent a month in central CA working our butts off and we were reaping our sweet reward: a long drive back East, drinking in as much of the country as we could along the way.
We were driving through Utah, we’d seen the salt-flats (tip: if you see them from the interstate STOP at the rest-stop and check them out. The next exit you’re going to see is about 70 miles down the road, so take that opportunity when it pops up), and we were heading towards the Rockies and all their splendor.
We saw signs for the western most Zaxby’s in the USA (2 are oddly enough located in Utah) and saw the Kennecott Garfield Smelter Stack. The stack in question is the tallest freestanding structure West of the Mississippi river. Standing a whopping 1,215 feet high it’s a pretty impressive piece of industrial construction. To put its height into perspective for you the Empire State Building is pretty much the same height (if you snap off the radio tower), the Willis Tower in Chi-town is shorter than the stack topping off at 1,450 feet, and if you hail from the Pacific North-West your most famous skyline feature (the Space Needle) tops out at a mere 605 feet. So the Smelter Stack was pretty impressive.
But enough waxing impressed about a toxin-spewing chimney…
The thing that stands out the most to me about wheeling through the Mormon capital of the universe was our brief stop to see the Great Salt Lake. Our plan had been to stop, take a gander at it, maybe dip a foot in just so we could say we did. We were NOT going to get into the lake, that was considered and voted down by unanimous vote. Our plan was waylaid by the friendliest State Park worker i’ve ever met in my life. His enthusiasm for the lake was contagious.
He plied us with said enthusiasm and the cold, hard fact that we were at a minimum over 2,000 miles away from home and when would we be there again? He weaved for us his master-plan for us to experience the wonder of the lake. Change in the gift-store bathroom, dip in the lake (with admonitions to make sure we floated in it, not just waded knee deep), scuttle across the parking-lot to the showers for the marina and de-salt ourselves as best we could.
So what did we do? We did all those things. Wading out his words of, “Once you’re about nipple-deep you won’t be able to keep your feet on the bottom,” proved to be absolutely true. Laying back into the salty water proved to be one of the most interesting experiences of my life. For an instant i thought i had sat on something in the water. It felt exactly like sitting on a float in a pool. It was amazing. It was relaxing. It was a moment i’m glad that my wife and i took a few minutes and made time for. Even hours later when we began to feel like beef-jerky (it’s pretty much impossible to de-salt yourself in a hurry in a marina shower that you’re using clandestinely) i was still so very glad we’d done it.
Floating in one of the saltiest bodies of water on Earth was not part of the plan for that day, but we did it! If we had not met that particular park worker, if we had not been willing to alter our time-table, if we had not been willing to do a thing we’d actually decided earlier to NOT do… we would’ve missed an amazing moment.
Some folks never find serendipity in their lives because when it knocks they lock the dead-bolt.
So, try that new food. Take those free tickets. Get in the car and drive somewhere. Take that friend up on their offer to put you up for a night if you’re ever in their town. Float On! It could be one of the most amazing moments of your life…