Sand Hollow State Park is getting a lot of bad reviews on Yelp and other sites for this one microscopic reason, swimmer’s itch. 

It’s that time of year when this beautiful reservoir fills up with boats and people and the dreaded microscopic parasites from infected snails. The allergic reaction some have from this parasite burrowing into their skin, leaves unsuspecting swimmers with a skin rash that is hard to combat. 

Here's a sampling of the 1-star reviews from Yelp:

“If I could give this place 0 stars I would. So apparently there's a thing called SWIMMERS ITCH here which is a microorganism the ducks bring...LET ME TELL YOU, it sucks some huge ONES. I am beyond itchy,” said Gizelle S. 

“HORRIBLE. AWFUL. DO NOT GO IN THE WATER. Our entire family got swimmers' itch, huge welts and hives all over our bodies,” said Denise M. 

“Seriously this lake was recommended by locals' as we are from Ca. If I could give it a Big Zero I definitely would...suffering from a bad case of swimmer's itch' which I guess this lake is infested with parasite' do a search for yourself,” Eizabeth S. 

Swimmer’s itch is from this parasite larvae that burrows into a person’s skin. The internet has a ton of information on it. There is a whole list of ways to try and avoid getting infected from applying baby oil, creams containing Deet, and showering after getting out of the water. 

There are also many remedies after you get the itch like taking Benadryl to relieve the itch or applying apple cider vinegar or baking soda to the inflamed portions of your skin. I have never found any of these remedies very effective. 

The best way for me to avoid getting swimmer’s itch, is staying as far away from the reservoir as possible. 

 

Dragging a Magnet Along the Bottom of Southern Utah Waters for Treasures 

Magnet fishing is all the rage on YouTube. It's where you take an industrial strength magnet, hook it to a rope and throw it into a body of water. By dragging the magnet across the bottom of the lake or river, you hope to catch any objects that have been dropped there by mistake. 

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After watching people drag tools, metal housewares and even bicycles out of bodies of water all over the world, I decided to try my hand at magnet fishing here in Southern Utah. I purchased a strong magnet from Harbor Freight, attached a cable to it and I was ready. 

When magnet fishing, you’re looking for a dock, or a bridge, or maybe a canal near a place people often pass. If people have lost anything in the water that is metal, the magnet should retrieve it. We certainly have plenty of bodies of water here in Southern Utah and I pondered the best place to try. 

Diversion Dam on the Virgin River
Diversion Dam on the Virgin River
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I decided to visit the Virgin River where residents often visit to skim board. There is a diversion dam here and I figured anything washed down the river would end up behind the cement of the dam or below it. What I didn’t factor in is how fast the river is moving with our massive spring runoff. 

Standing on the side of the diversion dam, I threw the magnet into the raging torrent. The water was moving so swiftly, I nearly lost hold of the cable when the magnet went in. The current carried my magnet over the diversion dam until it finally hit the bottom underneath. I carefully dragged it across the bottom and up the side. As I pulled it free of the water, I was surprised to discover... there was absolutely nothing attached to the end. 

What I hoped I would find on the end of the magnet
What I hoped I would find on the end of the magnet
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With the help of some young men, we continued to toss the magnet in and fish for lost treasures. After about a half hour of dropping the magnet in different locations along the bank, we still had not even caught anything metal. After many attempts, we gave up and headed home.

The water is raging in the Virgin and would probably pull off anything the magnet picked up. It has probably also pushed anything dropped in the river down to Lake Mead by now.

What I actually found attached...nothing
What I actually found attached...nothing
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I’m not giving up though. I’ll try again at one of the reservoirs where people load their boats or maybe on the end of a pier.

I am starting to think some of those videos of magnet fishing on You Tube could be rigged. But even if magnet fishing turns out to be a bust, it’s fun hanging out by large bodies of water in Southern Utah. 

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