Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 60 – Raija’s Birthday – August 28, 2011


I rose early in the morning to go shopping for blueberries, a card and roses. I was back before Raija woke and arranged the card and roses for her to find. Raija’s birthday breakfast was blueberry pancakes top off with an egg and bacon.

After breakfast, we were off to Antelope Island as it is too far to the Grand Canyon to celebrate Raija’s big birthday there.

Looking east from Antelope Island towards Salt Lake City

Raija’s Big “XX” Birthday on Antelope Island

More than 6000 years ago, the area’s native people inhabited Antelope Island. Later local Indian tribes used the island until the arrival of the white men.

Antelope Island, with an area of 42 square miles (109 square km), is the largest island of 10 islands located within the Great Salt Lake. The island lies in the southeastern portion of the lake, near Salt Lake City and Davis County. Antelope Island was discovered by John C. Fremont and Kit Carson in 1845, when they did their exploration of the Great Salt Lake. They shot a Pronghorn Antelope on the island and in gratitude for the meat they named it Antelope Island.

Antelope Island has natural scenic beauty and holds populations of Pronghorn Antelope, Bighorn Sheep, American Bison, porcupine, badger, coyote, bobcat, and millions of waterfowl. The bison were introduced to the island in 1893. The bison do well because much of the island is covered by dry, native grassland.

Mik discovered that there is at least one snake on Antelope Island.

American Bison Relaxing in the Sun


The Garr Ranch is located at Garr Springs, one of the strongest and most consisted of the 40 springs on the island. Both indigenous and wildlife used this water source long before Garr built the ranch.

The Mormon Church operated the ranch until the mid-1870s. During the era, ranching operations encompassed the entire island. The church herds supported the Perpetual Emigration Fund that assisted Mormon members from Europe in making the trek across the Great Plains to Salt Lake City.

As only improvements on the island were around the ranch, the Federal Government opened the rest of the island to homesteading. By the turn of the century most of the homesteaders had failed to prove their claims and John Dooly Sr. purchased the entire island for one million dollars.

The focus of the ranch soon turned to sheep and the operation expanded to more than 10,000 sheep to become one of the largest and most industrialized ranching efforts in the western United States.

In the 1950s sheep ranching became unprofitable and the operation turned to cattle. The island ranch continued to function as one of the largest commercial operations in the state until the island became a state park in 1981.

Old ranch barn used for shearing sheep

View from ranch yard

Ranch Yard

Old Corral

Main Ranch House and Bunk House (Right)


(Left to Right) Main House, Bunk House & Spring House


Mik Cooling Off

Antelope Island UT Tour

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