ANTELOPE ISLAND -- Antelope Island State Park started a new program this year to encourage novice mariners to take up kayak oars and explore Great Salt Lake.
"It's just a simple, relaxed trip to get people interested in the lake and get them some experience on the water," Wendy Wilson, park naturalist, explained.
"We're going to talk about life in the lake, the brine shrimp, the brine flies and the birds that rely on those little critters. So, those are some of the excuses for going out, but the real fun is, we'll just enjoy the lake and enjoy the morning."
Wilson has conducted two tours a month since March and said the tours may continue into September.
Guests may rent kayaks from Gonzo Boat Rentals at the Antelope Island Marina, or they may bring their own.
Rakel Elmer, of North Ogden, and her family brought their own kayaks and had an extra to lend to a certain, less-than-intrepid reporter.
Elmer said she learned of the Antelope Island Kayak Tours through the Standard-Examiner. "We've never been in the Great Salt Lake, so we thought we'd try it."
Three of her children, Jordi, 9, Naomi, 13, and Makaiya, 14, said they preferred kayaking in the salt water of Great Salt Lake to kayaking in freshwater lakes.
At one point, Naomi abandoned her kayak to take a swim in the lake. She described the experience as "jumping on a tramp in the air, how you don't move or anything, just float there."
Sene Williams, of Layton, enjoyed her kayak adventure, too. "I loved it. Everyone should come out and experience Antelope Island on the water, not just driving through and looking at a museum. It's a fantastic experience. We should value this island."
Williams also had a special message for the Antelope Island staff: "Thank you to Antelope Island and their staff. I think they're wonderful."
Wilson said she thinks kayaking is addictive because it's unique.
"You experience an area in a different way than you normally would. It's the same with other programs that I do, things like full moon hikes or sunset hikes. Those tend to get a lot of response as well, because it's doing something that you could do normally on your own, but in a way that's a little bit different. So I think it's just the uniqueness of it that makes it addicting."
"Come play on Antelope Island and Great Salt Lake because it's amazing," Wilson said. "If you haven't been out here, especially if you're local, you need to come out because it's a treasure in your own backyard."
Antelope Island is open year-- round and, in addition to boating and kayaking, offers hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping, swimming, wildlife watching and spectacular views of amazing sunsets.