Updated: Dec 9, 2020
DARKNESS COVERED BONNEVILLE SPEEDWAY ROAD, the final stretch to the famous Salt flats where every car commercial driving at 120 mph in the middle of nowhere is filmed. I was very curious what “salt flats” entailed. Was it just a field of salt grains on top of dirt that spread for miles? Or is it like the dunes except it’s covered with salt instead of sand? The conundrum of thoughts flowed as I drove five hours from Grand Junction, Colorado eager to answer the question and to discover more of Utah.
Dazed from the long drive, I sped up at the final stretch only to be greeted by a salt ramp leading to the flats. I couldn’t see beyond and the road ahead of me, I took a left and found myself driving on a crusty path not knowing if it was safe. I dizzily got off the car after a few feet in the crusted ground to check where I was parked. The ground seemed stable even though I had no understanding of the alter consequence.
I set up my bed at the back of my tiny SUV where half was covered with stacked blankets and pillows and the other half consisted of my large water jug, food, and my camera equipment. While I was standing behind my car with a tooth brush in my mouth I noticed the emptiness of the flats. It looked as if I stepped in to an alternate universe where life was scarce and everything man-made had disappeared and all you could see was the stars behind a large silhouette of mountains, I felt at peace.
The next morning, I woke up to cars speeding their way in the Salt Flats. The sun was just about to rise, I was distracted by the craftsmanship of the earth while peeking from the window. I grabbed my Jetboil and filled it up with water to prepare my morning tea and later oatmeal for breakfast. While I sat inside my car having my morning le petit dejeuner, a truck pulling a trailer parked a few feet away from me. The truck carried a powered parachute, I was deeply fascinated by the inner workings of this contraption and watched the entire time.
After half an hour, the vehicle was completely set up and ready to glide. I grabbed my camera with a long range to capture it even from a far. Just like a plane it had a running start but it took off faster than a plane, I was a little scared watching them glide around with just a parachute and a large fan giving them momentum. But the more I watched the more I started to become envious to try it.
Despite not being able to try it, what bothered me the most is that I was extremely hesitant to ask them if I could try or maybe pay them for a chance to glide in Salt Flats and it wasn’t because of my ability to turn into a chicken when it comes to confrontation but because of the virus. My whole Utah trip was very odd because of my restrictions to interact with people especially in groups. I always whispered to myself that “I rather talk to no one than get sick and forfeit the chance to travel without obstacles”. So I just watched.
Ever since I indefinitely moved to Colorado I promised myself to discover around while I am able to work remotely but in return I need to be more introverted and limit myself to going to tight public areas. National Parks are an example of public areas that when I visited I try to find isolated areas even if I have to miss the best views or the best hikes. “There’s always a next time”, as I tell myself to refrain from speaking to others.
Before I left the flats I had a vision in my head to how I want to portray the emotional feeling being in the area. I had crafted my own storyboard in my head of a short video of me running wild and free. I set my camera and drone around to capture this feeling of peace that overwhelmed me during my stay.