09-May-2001 -- A bad day exploring is better than any other day. Today, May 9, 2001,
turned out to be a great day of exploring, so it was a double-great day.
Much of the State of Utah lies within the Great Basin, an area where rivers do
not empty into an ocean. Perhaps the most famous landmark of the Great Basin is
the Great Salt Lake located near Salt Lake City. It receives water from the Bear
River and its tributaries and from the Jordan River and its tributaries. The
only way that water leaves the Great Salt Lake is by evaporation or
transpiration. Its water is more salty than the ocean's.
A much less famous landmark is the Sevier Lake. It is the terminus of the Sevier
River and its tributaries. The Sevier is somewhat unusual. Its headwaters arise
near Bryce Canyon National Park and then flow north for about 150 miles to a
place near the town of Fayette, Utah. Here a natural channel directs the waters
into a drainage where the flow is to the south and west. It's quite amazing – the
river flows north and then it flows south.
The Sevier River is heavily used for irrigation. Water rarely reaches the Sevier
Lake. It is almost always dry. (It was not dry in 1983 when the river flow was
the highest in recorded history.) Because of the natural wet and dry weather
cycles, the lake bed is vast, flat and white – covered with the salt and alkali
deposits left over from evaporation. The Sevier Lake is somewhat near the Great
Basin National Park, which is in eastern Nevada.
N39 W113 is very near the eastern shore of the Sevier Lake. The USGS map shows
the nearest town to be Clear Lake. There is no town at Clear Lake. There is a
lake. The area is a refuge for migratory birds. It is owned and operated by the
Utah State Division of Wildlife Resources. There is only one house, where the
on-site manager lives.
The closest town of any size is Delta, Utah. There are other smaller towns –
Meadow, Oasis, Deseret, Hinckley. All of these towns are in Millard County,
which got its name from former United States President Millard Fillmore. The
county seat of Millard County is Fillmore, which was the territorial capital
city in the days before Utah became a state on January 4, 1896.
I enjoyed my visit to this confluence very much. The day was warm (about 90
degrees Fahrenheit) and there were rain showers in the area, although not more
than a couple of drops ever reached me. I rode my ATV for the last 15
kilometers on a road that was very overgrown and rough. I saw birds,
grasshoppers, butterflies and a lizard. There were ants under one of the rocks I
used to build my cairn.
Once again my thanks to Alex Jarrett and all the volunteers at confluence.org
for sparking in me the desire to visit these fascinating new places.