Greetings From Antelope Island, Utah

Antelope Island State Park, on the Great Salt Lake in Utah, boasts one of the nation’s largest bison herds.

by Michael Boyink/mike@douglascountyherald.com

They should call it “Maybe Antelope Island.”

Because maybe it’s an island. Or maybe it’s a peninsula. 

It all depends on the current water levels in the Great Salt Lake. Too little water and the connecting land becomes visible.

We visited Antelope Island State Park while staying in Salt Lake City, Utah. True to its name, it was an island at the time. 

The antelope part was also true. In addition to bison, chukar partridge and other wildlife, we spotted a few pronghorn antelope roving the grasslands.

Good thing.

Otherwise?

We’d remember Antelope Island as “Bug Island.”

Some people experience dense infestations of biting no-see-ums on Antelope Island.

For us, it was “midge flies.”

We happened to visit the island smack in the middle of the big yearly hatch.

Driving to Antelope Island State Park in Utah, the black shadows over the water are large swarms of midge flies.

We first spotted them on the seven-mile causeway leading into the park.

I thought the shoulders were on fire.

Every bush or clump of grass had a cloud of thin black smoke swirling above it.

Then the splatters on our windshield told us the truth.

That wasn’t smoke. Each twisting, drifting black mass was a swarm of flies.

By the time we got into the park, the entire front end of our truck was coated with dead midge flies.

According to the park service, midge flies don’t bite.

Our license plate after visiting Antelope Island State Park. The rest of the truck looked the same.

So it must have been something else that attacked us when we got out of the truck.

After a quick walk down to verify that the Great Salt Lake was, in fact, salty, we retreated back to the truck for a slightly less aerobic driving tour of the rest of the island.

With its rolling grassy plains, sweeping vistas, green and brown foothills, and distant snow-covered peaks reflecting in the waters of the lake, there was no doubt. Antelope Island is beautiful.

Years later, what I remember most are those black clouds of bugs.

They’ve become a visual metaphor for me. 

I imagine them swirling above people’s heads. Little black clouds of fears. Of past hurts. Of physical sickness. Of addictions. Of failed relationships.

The clouds remind me that each person is more than they appear. 

Something up in that cloud of nastiness may be influencing the words they are saying, or the actions they are taking. 

And I’m no different. I have a cloud of my own.

But there is a Son who can shine through that cloud. I pray that His light cuts through your cloud. 

And mine.

Antelope Island State Park is about an hour’s drive out of downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. Current bug conditions are reported at stateparks.utah.gov/parks/antelope-island/current-conditions.