Swimming In Red Salt: Beauty & Pain

We live close(ish) to the Great Salt Lake. So, of course, we decided that we needed the experience of swimming in it.

One bright Saturday morning it was THE day. We woke up tragically late, ate breakfast with extreme slowness, pulled on our clothes with the speed of a snail and finally made it out to the van around 12pm. We settled in for the veeeery lengthy drive.

I read. A lot. Also looked out of the window, played with my stress toy (and got stressed out by Dovid’s ear piercing screams).

At long last we made it to the SPECIAL section of the Salt Lake. Actually, we arrived at the parking area .7 miles away from the water (yes, I brought my podometer).

We trudged down the non-path towards the water, stopping to observe the Spiral Jetty rock formation. It was very cool and pretty. It had been underwater for a looong time but because of the drought here, it is quite far from the edge now.

On and on we trudged. The very hot sun grilled our little heads. My arms started turning red instantly. The water looked oh so far away.

We made it at last. The ground was so strange and so beautiful. It was dried salt. It was so sparkly and ahhh! It is really indescribable and the pictures do not do it justice.

The water was pinkish-reddish-orangish. It was incredible. I’ve never seen water naturally that color before. The pictures don’t show it at all – the colors were so much more vibrant.

Apparently there is a bacteria that lives in this section of lake and creates the incredible color.

Most of us got into the water right away. I made the mistake of not bringing shoes that could get wet. The bottom was completely caked in salt. Very sharp, very hard, salt formations.

I happened to step in too fast and got lovely cuts on the soles of my feet and tops of my toes. The salt stung SO BAD and my feet were throbbing for the next very long time.

Aside from that painful part, being in the water was amazing. It wasn’t freezing and once you got in, the sun was no longer so oppressive. Because of the crazy amount of salt, you could float with no effort at all. It just held you up. You couldn’t sink if you wanted to – and believe me, Nahum tried plenty of times (and also stung his eyes horribly with the salt water).

We hadn’t been in the water long before the salt started to cling to our clothes and any hair that happened to be under water (and for once I regretted not having ever shaved my legs).

The longer we stayed in, the more we could feel it crystalizing on our skin and clothes.

We stayed out for a couple hours, playing, floating and being very careful to avoid splashing (salt is extremly hard to get out of eyeballs).

When we were finished, we painfully made our way across the needle-like ground and back onto the blazing shore. My clothes were almost instantly dry. They were completely caked in salt (as was my skin) and extremly stiff.

The walk back to the van was quite uncomfortable as our salt caked clothing rubbed against our delicate skin. Baruch’s legs are covered in abrasions from his shorts.

Have you ever had a piece of tape stuck to your arm hairs and felt the pain of jerking it off? That is exactly what it felt like trying to get the dried salt off of my skin. It HURT. I got most of it off and then settled into the van to wait 30 minutes until we reached the bathrooms. Baruch sat beside me, moaning, so stiff that he couldn’t buckle his own seatbelt.

Let’s just say that it was a very long half hour.

When we arrived, Daddy, Baruch and I used a hose to wash away the rest of the salt. Then I changed clothes. I can’t tell you how hard it was to get my shirt off or how nice it felt to change into clean, flexible clothing!

Baruch’s shorts πŸ˜‚

Poor Jehosheba and Nahum decided that they would endure the 2+ hour drive home in their salt encrusted clothing. They have more endurance than I…

We took a bottle of water from the lake and boiled the water out. Look at the insane amount of salt that remained!

All in all, it was an amazing day. It is an incredible experience and I recommend you try it if you are ever in the area. Just be sure to bring water shoes.


19 thoughts on “Swimming In Red Salt: Beauty & Pain

    1. Yep, exactly! πŸ™‚ (You could always come for a visit and take pictures while you’re here πŸ˜‰πŸ˜Š)
      The book was The Nazi Officer’s Wife by Edith Hahn Beer. It was really interesting!


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