When you have arrived at the south west corner of the west dike to Floating island, then drive north on the dike for 13.3 miles to Floating Island, through the barrow pit and around to the east side of the Island. Look for a marker on the right side of the road. Turn of the road and follow the tracks through and around the hummocks towards the rail post that is on the flats. Be careful when driving on these mud flats. If they are wet, stay off. If your wheels begin to press into the mud, slowly turn around and park then walk to the rail post
The plaque on the rail post off of Floating Island reads:
"About five o'clock, p.m. we reached and passed, leaving it to our left, a small butte [Floating Island] rising solitary from the plains"
Edwin Bryant, Aug 3, 1846
2000 Utah crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU - 20
You will notice next to the post, a yellow carsonite marker and a six inch square concrete block. The concrete block was placed in 1986 by the author and his friend, Dan Miller. The blocks were spaced every 2000 feet along the trail from the Air Force Bombing Range Boundary to the north towards Silver Island Point. They are about 15 inches long and are buried in the center of the trail. The commander of the Hill Air Force Base did not want any markers on the trail but we put them in anyway.
Bryant continues telling about passing Floating island: Around this ground is uneven, and a few scattering shrubs, leafless and without verdure, raised themselves above the white sand and saline matter which seemed recently to have drifted so as nearly to conceal them."
The mud flats in this area were flooded with the salt water from Great Salt Lake pumping project in 1987 because of the increase in rise of the lake water. We came out to this area in 1990 and all we could see covering the area was about 4 inches of salt. We looked around for the concrete block and OCTA member, Dave Bigler, found a square block of salt and under it was the concrete block. We then placed the yellow carsonite by the block. Since then the rain and snow water has dissolved the salt and carried it north to the Newfoundland Basin, the lowest area on these flats. We later placed the Rail Post here by the block.
The Air Force, after the archeologist wagon digs of 1986-7, have since placed a wire fence on the west and south bombing range boundaries. They also have signs that warns everyone of the danger of being on the range. The archeologist wagon excavations were from 5 to 7 miles back south east from here. This is the main trail and there is a variance to this trail about 4 miles back. The author calls the variance trail the Retrieval Trail because it was not used as much as this main trail and probably was used for the retrieval of wagons left on the flats while the stock were taken to water at Donner Springs.
The isolated butte that Bryant talks about just west of here, is of course Floating Island. It was given this name because the Island seems to float in a mirage of water when you are driving along I-80 twelve miles south. The top portion of the Island stuck out of the surface of Prehistoric Lake Bonneville and the mud flats was the bottom of the lake. The mud flats were drilled many years ago, south west of here, to a depth of 8000 feet. The Island has an Indian cave or overhang on the south side which was found to be about 7000 years old, but has since been seal off with iron bars. Return to the main road on the Island.
Turn right on the road and travel 4.8 miles in a northwesterly direction from the island to a gravel bar and then to a short cutoff road to the main Silver Island Road. Look carefully for the cutoff with a - wood stake - pile of rocks - or you may miss it. Turn right on the cutoff then at the main well graded road turn right again. Continue on this road in a northeast direction for 3.9 miles until you come to the Silver Island Point where there is another rail post marker.