Floating in the Great Salt Lake as a child is one of my earliest
road trip memories. So, to pass the tradition on,
shortly after we grabbed the last campsite
left on Antelope Island we got into our swimsuits and marched down to
the mucky shore of this briney sea. As we approached the waveless
edge, thousands of midges -- non-biting gnats -- rose in small, black
clouds before us. We waded into the warm water and out towards
the setting sun. Ellie began to complain about her mosquito bites,
stinging in the salt water. Then everything else began to hurt, and
I could only convince them to lie down and bob in the buoyant water
a moment before we had to rush back, Ellie high up on my shoulders.
It wasn't quite as nice as it looks in the pictures.
And it wasn't done with us yet. In the morning, I woke to a beautiful
site: the lake at dawn out the screened back of the van. But when I opened
the door, thousands of midges who had made the van their new home swarmed
inside. We gave up trying to get them out after 20 minutes, and began driving.
But there were still thousands when we stopped an hour later, and two hours
after that, and all across Utah, and Nevada, and even in Reno there were
still dozens hanging on. Some made it all the way to our driveway, and wouldn't
completely surprise me to find some still living in the van today.