While Aparna’s plans to visit the Bolivian Salt Flats (cue Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking) are on hold due to the global pandemic (some would say the stars are not aligned), the Huston-based lawyer and co-founder of My Golden Balloon, a luxury travel company, makes her way to the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, USA.
In a time where travel is limited, I felt freed as I boarded the plane from Texas to Utah. After thoroughly disinfecting our seats with our own wipes, my friend and I laugher nervously through our masks and settled in for the 3 hour flight. We saw the scenery below change from flat fields to the majestic mountains of the United States’ western states. We landed in Salt Lake City in the early afternoon and rented a SUV to head towards the famed Utah Salt Flats.
While not able to make it to Bolivia during this time, I had to find the next-best domestic option! It took our group to a place called Bonneville, which we reached after speeding west down a flat road for 1.5 hours from the airport. We reached a rest stop and got out of the car to peer into the vast, white expanse. It was breathtaking! Salt stretched for miles on end with the blue sky seemingly much bluer over the harsh whiteness of the land. We witnessed children playing and licking the salt on their fingers. We saw cars in the distance racing with no obstacles in the way. Way off in the distance, there was a wedding set up with a temporary structure with a photographer dashing about and guests milling around.
We decided to take our rental SUV on to the flats, and tentatively drove through a gap a little further up the road from this formal rest stop. We drove slowly at first, before speeding through the cracked grounds with the windows down. When we stopped, we started our speaker with music blaring and laughed as we took in the miracle of Mother Nature. After photographs galore, we were on our way again. We stopped closer to the wedding – watching the bride and groom cut their three-tier cake as the sun blazed above them. We moved on to the small bodies of water that popped up almost like a mirage now and then. The water was clear blue with hues of greens and browns found along the borders of these extended puddle-like ponds.
It was like nothing I had seen before – truly a special treat in the northern part of Utah. We raced back across the flats before easing past the curb into the rest area again and heading onward to our hotel in Park City. A successful detour that served well as a Covid times teaser of the Bolivian salt flats visit in my future.