Yesterday's hike was amazing. First of all, know that it's about an hour and a half drive from my house to the trailhead for Frary Peak, which is on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. I wanted to get there early so I could capture the sunrise from the island with my camera, so I left the house at 4:30 (I was up at 3:45 getting ready). I arrived at the gate just about 5:30. I had checked online the night before to see when the gate opened, and the info had said 6:00, but having been there before when the gate was opened earlier, I decided to try it just in case.
Actually, I believe this was a new gate put in since two years ago (the last time I got there that early) and it was on a timer, I think. It wasn't open as I had hoped, so I had a half hour to kill in the dark waiting for it to open. I was tired because I got up so early, but I didn't want to tilt the seat back and try to sleep for 30 minutes, because I might keep sleeping and miss the gate opening. I looked out the window and saw the moon and thought I'd like to try taking a picture of it with my new zoom lens. I dug that out of my pack and stepped outside. Since I didn't want to set up a tripod, I free-handed it. Here's what I got:
At about 6:04 the gate finally opened and I drove to the east side of the island, to the trailhead. The hike started out amazingly well. I was feeling alive and vibrant--great actually. I kept the long lens on the camera thinking that now would be a great time to experiment with it and find out what it could do. The moon was still up as it began to get light and I tried to get a good picture of it with mountains, birds, etc., in it. Here are some of them:
After I took the picture of the moon over a small peak (not Frary Peak) I took a few more pics and then finally did my last moon pic of this raven with the moon beside it:
Of course, as I do on every trip, I took some flowers home to Ann. Here are some of them:
I didn't see any close-up bison like I have before, but I saw these mule deer across the way. They were skittish and I had to use the full 300 zoom power of the lens to capture an image of them:
It was only a little over two and a half hours before I made it to the top. Just before the top there is a place where you have to go down quite a ways and back up again. It is the steepest part of the trail. Here's a pic of the top of Frary Peak from an adjacent peak, that makes it look much easier than it is:
That image in no way shows how far you need to go down, or how challenging the climb is back up, but I finally made it to the top, as shown by this U.S.G.S. marker:
From the top you can see a long ways. You can see how low the water is in the lake. Here's a picture of that with a vast stretch of beach that isn't there when the lake is full:
Of course, I needed more documentation that I had actually been there. I was setting up my tripod to take my own photo when a couple of young guys showed up. I went out of my comfort zone and asked if one of them would be willing to take my picture. I guess I asked the right guy because he told me after he took a few shots that he actually had tried to take people's portraits for a living, but it wasn't steady work because too many people had digital cameras these days. Anyway, here's one of the pics he took of me:
So, I actually did make it to the top. All in all it was a great early morning hike. I'm not sure if I burned off an entire pound. I was tempted to stop at the gym where I normally weigh myself and see, but I would've needed to dress in my gym clothes instead of my heavy blue jeans and long johns to find out. I'll have to wait until Monday. As for the lens, it did pretty well until the little switch on it that switches it from "Normal" to "Macro" got stuck on "Macro". I couldn't fix it and don't know if that's permanent or not. I will have to work on it later.
If you go to Frary Peak, or anywhere on Antelope Island, take bug spray. I got up there early enough that I missed most of the biting no-see-ums on the lower part of the trail, but everyone I met coming up was complaining about them, and they were there in force the last time I hiked that trail. Consider this a fair warning!
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