Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Great Barf Lake

Ironman is now 3 and a half weeks a way. No joke. I've started referring to the day as "Satan" because this word much more accurately captures my sentiments in context.

"Satan will be here in just over 3 weeks."

"I have to learn how to swim before May 5th or Satan might kill me."

"May 5th, 2012, will be my first Satanic experience."

Etc.

So to prepare for the arrival of Satan, we threw Larry and Seymour into the trunk of Daniel's car and headed west, toward the Great Salt Lake--soon to be renamed "Barf Lake," after I get in touch with the State Legislature, both because of its effect on anyone who gets near it and because of what I'm convinced it's actually filled with. I believe they meant to name it The Great Barf Lake in the first place but the early Mormon pioneers were worried that living in Barf Lake City would dissuade visitors from coming to buy their hand-made doilies. So they went with "Salt."


Why the Great Salt Lake for our second attempt at an open water swim after the first miserable failure?

1. It only looked this far on the map [holding two fingers close together].
2. It's currently the warmest lake within 4 hours of us.
3. It sounded super fun.
4. We didn't do our research.
5. Satan has ruined our reasoning abilities.

And I know what you're thinking: "But Eli, didn't you grow up in the Salt Lake Valley? Have you never been to the lake after which that valley was named? Also, you are super cool and I wish we were best friends. Call me." First of all, thank you and me too.

But second, I guess I have been there before, a long long time ago, and I remember it being a miserable experience attempting to have a scout camp on an island on the lake where it was so windy that we had to hold the roof of the tent up with our hands all night long. But distance makes the heart grow fonder, so I have since let my love for Salt Lake City translate to love for its great lake. And so we went.

Our attempt to get to Barf Lake immediately after work was thwarted by some stop-and-go terrible traffic heading west of Salt Lake City. For those unfamiliar with the area, let me be clear: There is no reason that there should ever be heavy traffic heading west of Salt Lake City. I have driven this road 6 times in my life. All 6 times made me appreciate the little things. This is because the only thing west of Salt Lake City is a barren wasteland turned nuclear dump-site (you're welcome, America) and one mosque-looking concert venue called "Saltaire" that was built on the edge of Barf Lake 5 billion years ago for reasons I've never understood.

We were told that the traffic problem had to do with "road construction." I'm still unsure why anyone ever felt a need to construct a road out this way in the first place, let alone felt obligated to maintain it.

But we finally arrived and put on Larry and Seymour. We first had a half mile walk through the flies and dead animals before making it to the shore-line. The terrain looked a lot like every picture I've ever seen of the moon. But with diseases. And without an American flag.

Then the water. We hoped to dive in and start our epic journey to the center of the lake but were disappointed to instead find that the shallow, up to our ankles, water extended on and on and on. And on. We literally walked into this muddy water for about a mile before it got up to our knees. At this point we finally tried to lay down in it. They aren't kidding about the name of that damn lake. There is so much salt in it that we not only floated, but actually hovered above the water. And then it went into our noses.

For 4 generations the wildlife will be talking about what happened when that water went into our noses.

Have you ever poured boiling sulfur into your sinuses with a Neti Pot? Ever taken a hot nail and hammered it into your throat? No? Then you likely can't understand the sensation of Barf Lake's fluids entering your face.

Let me be clear: this is a terrible terrible experience. If I hadn't already made the 2012 Worst Things Ever list, this would be on it. Right next to Glee.

But because we are terrified of Satan and all of its demoralizing capabilities, we swam anyway. We swam with our heads out of the water and in the flies. And we swam with all our might. We are still not sure whether we actually moved during the swim. Because of the moon-like qualities of the terrain, we wholly lacked depth perception and the island we were attempting to swim to never appeared any closer no matter how much we thought we were moving toward it.

Eventually we headed back toward the muddy beach and made the trek to the car to find a woman sitting in front of it attempting to have some alone time. This made it slightly more awkward for us when we stripped down naked because there was no way in H E double hockey sticks we were going to ride home in our Barf Lake soaked swimwear, which we had worn under Larry and Seymour. But public indecency isn't even on the top 10 of our most serious concerns right now. (All top 50 spots are taken up by Satan).

Heaven help us.

The Great Salt Lake by day. This looks like several feet of nice sandy beach. Be ye not fooled. It's covered with feces of animals you've never even heard of and is a mile long.

The Great Salt Lake by night and its wildlife.
~It Just Gets Stranger

33 comments:

  1. Anything that ranks with Glee must be genuine torture.

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  2. Honestly, visiting hell is probably the best way to understand Satan, I get the reasoning. But I still want to know, WHY???

    The Salt Lake is good for one thing: Salt. Oh and brine shrimp, which incidently, should be the only thing swimming in it. Ever.

    I grew up is S.Ogden, the closest I ever got to the Salt Lake was Willard Bay, another body of water I suggest no one swim in. And I was told Salt Lake was worse, worse!!

    It only took a quick trip to Antelope Island to convince me it was true. I didn't want to get out of the car, let alone anywhere near the water.

    You are truly brave, and crazy. Good luck with Satan, I hear he's pretty tough.

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    1. I biked around Willard Bay on Saturday. It didn't look much less disgusting.

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    2. Is it bad that I was raised in Willard and still have never.been to the bay? And I love to ride my bike... I feel like a sheltered child...

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  3. One time, when I worked at a day care, we took the preschool aged kids on a field trip there. Don't ask why...I'm sure it had something to do with how cheap the day care owner was when it came to providing for the children. It was so disgusting we couldn't believe it. Being a life long resident of Salt Lake County, you would think I would know these things. The poor, poor children are probably traumatized. Now that I think of it, did you go to a day care in Sandy Eli?

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  4. The second picture looks an awful lot like the moon . . . and I'm glad to see the Queen of colors made the shot.

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  5. How long were you able to swim in it? It sounds like trying to swim in the Dead Sea.

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    1. We probably only swam for about 30 minutes. But we walked through it for about an hour.

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  6. can I just say, I can not WAIT to read about the ironman.

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  7. i pushed the thumbs up icon in my brain at the mention of Glee + Barf Lake swimming being on the same horrible list.

    Well, just think how grateful you will be that nothing that Satan will throw you can be as awful as what Salt Lake can prepare you with. :)

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    1. True. I should go visit other awful places in the next few weeks to develop some better perspective.

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  8. I didn't even notice the Queen of Colors in that picture at first! I love this.

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  9. That's some fierce wildlife by night that the Great Salt Lake has. I wish June Snapple would be banished to that hell hole!

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    1. I know one mom who would definitely agree with you.

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  10. I am looking forward to reading about your experience with Satan. I have a date with Satan's Minion on June 9 - a sprint triathlon on Hunter Mtn in upstate NY. I am anticipating the 10,000 daggers since the lake water is expected to be 56 degrees. Satan's Minion is sick - the plunge into the lake is scheduled for 7:30 in the morning. I can't even consider the bike ride up and down the mountain roads - does screaming on the downhills help?

    For what it's worth, I am sending good mojo your way. I want you to live to tell about your Triumph over Satan so I won't fall into The Pit of Despair as I contemplate my own date with Satan's Minion.

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    1. Best of luck. And, yes, in my experience, screaming on the downhills makes a huge difference. Thanks for the mojo! I'll return the favor when I have some to spare.

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  11. I can see Antelope Island from my upstairs windows, and I can't think of anything that would induce me to swim in that! The smell when the wind comes off the lake ought to be warning enough! I hope Larry recovers!

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    1. Larry hasn't spoken to me since.

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  12. Having had the opportunity to "swim" in the Dead Sea myself, I'm now curious. How did you manage to have this experience without searing your eyeballs?

    If the answer is goggles, were they really that good? (And if so, what kind do you use?)

    Or did you, in fact, get at least one tiny drop of that witch water in each eye and feel like you were going to scream! And then try to rub the water out with your hands which of course were ALSO wet and salty and just know you were going to be the first tourist in history to be rushed away in an Israeli ambulance from the world's most famous "health spa" for immediate eye removal surgery!! And also, also feel REALLY stupid!!!

    No, no, no. What do you mean? No, this isn't about me... and I don't need therapy...

    "Hi, my name is Kel. And no matter how hard I try, I can't stop getting salt in my eyes."

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    1. I did have goggles (Speedo) and they kept the water out of my eyes very well. I should have also put a plastic bag over my head.

      I "swam" in the Dead Sea in 2008 and I remember them telling us not to put our faces in the water. The Great Salt Lake reminded me very much of the Dead Sea. But without all of the naked Europeans.

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  13. "Also, you are super cool and I wish we were best friends. Call me."

    I think that regularly when reading this blog. :) You should visit Boston, and we can commence the 'fun friend' montage sequence I have planned in my head. I am only partially joking.

    Creepy, I know...whelp...

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  14. Not all west of Salt Lake is Barren wasteland… you drive far enough and you get Reno, then Tahoe… but then I guess in direct proportion Barren Wasteland wins...

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    1. True. And eventually you get to Park City, after going around the whole world, and that part is nice. So I guess I'm being a little unfair.

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  15. this is Crazy!!!! omg! Naked haaahaahaa! (that was funny)... but everybody says its an experience i must have! guess not...

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  16. You read my mind Eli. I think you are super cool and I secretly wish we could be friends in real life. But until then I will continue to read and be entertained. Thanks for the info about the lake. I have lived in Salt Lake several years and have not experienced it. Now I won't feel like I am missing anything.

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  17. Your description of the lake gave me heebie jeebies... you brave soul.

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  18. I lived in Utah for 6 years and never once visited the "Great" Salt Lake. I could smell it from Ogden and knew I wasn't missing much.

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  19. Hysterical as always. Loved the Neti pot joke especially.

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  20. I realize it's been months since you posted this- hilarious as always! Sadly, if they hadn't built a road heading west out of SLC, my family and I would never have moved to the desertous wasteland, where we sit on bales of hay at the movies and grammar is, apparently, optional, known as Tooele.

    I love your blog, thanks for making me laugh.
    Steph
    www.filmcriticsdaughter.blogspot.com
    www.curioussoup.blogspot.com

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    1. I'm a born and raised Tooelian and I find your comment offense. And the SaltAir building itself is beautiful especially in the old days when it was Garfield Beach. http://www.deseretnews.com/top/75/7/Garfield-Beach-10-Utah-buildings-we-miss.html

      Yes, it smells horrible and the salt eats your skin and you float even if you're not trying to. But it looks beautiful from a distance.
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/calanan/2600067868/

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