Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Tad More on the Great Salt Lake

During Fremont's explorations of of 1843, he had the opportunity to see the Great Salt Lake with his very own eyeballs and said a little about it.

"We were upon the waters of the famous lake which forms a salient point among the remarkable geographical features of the country, and around which the vague and superstitious accounts of the trappers had thrown a delightful obscurity . . hitherto  this lake had been seen only by trappers, who were wandering through the country in search of new beaver-streams, caring very little for geography; its islands had never been visited; and none had been found who had entirely made the circuit of the shores; and no instrumental observations or geographical survey of any description had ever been made anywhere in the neighboring region. It was generally supposed that it had no visible outlet; but among the trappers, including those in my own camp were many who believed that somewhere on its surface was a terrible whirlpool through which its waters found their way to the ocean by some subterranean communication . . . And my own mind had become tolerably well filled with their indefinite pictures, and insensibly colored with their romantic descriptions which in the pleasure of excitement, I was well disposed to believe, and half-expected to realize."

And Fremont even gets a little romantic by comparing his first view of the lake with Balboa discovering the Great Western Ocean. And he goes on about landing on an island and making camp, saying in his journal: "We felt pleasure in remembering that we were the first, who in the traditionary annals of the country, had visited the islands, and broken, with the cheerful sound of the human voices, the long solitude of the place."

Of course, they never found the whirlpool, but they did discover the solitude of the place on the island away from all the noise of  the Indians and other men of the party who remained in the main camp on shore.

They would really be amazed if they could see it a hundred and sixty years years later with all the mining operations on the south shore and the noise of the beachfront entertainment sites like Saltair and Blackrock and not far away the city of Salt Lake with its bustling trains and traffic sounds. 

Ref: The Founding of Utah by Levi Edgar Young and Memoirs of My Life by John Charles Fremont.



  1. Sometimes maintaining the solitude of an absence of cheerful human voices might be a jolly goood idea!

    1. They were escaping not only the cheerful voices but antagonistic one. Everyone needs a little solitude now and then.

  2. Solitude is good. Ask Superman! :)

    1. He would be a good authority on it.