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  • Land Art | Spiral Jetty

    Monday, July 6, 2020   /   by Chris Green

    Land Art | Spiral Jetty

    Hello there. It has been a minute since the last time I wrote about my adventures. Don't you fret...I have been adventuring near and far, but always socially distanced and staying wicked safe.  One of those adventures put me at the Spiral Jetty on the north side of the Great Salt Lake. I have heard about the Spiral Jetty for as long as I can remember but had never seen it for myself, until last weekend. I thought it was on the south side of the lake for all my life. Good thing we had GPS and we asked for directions before we left on the adventure.

    As we were getting closer to our destination, we were seeing all sorts of birds. I asked my adventure buddy, "Should we become bird watchers?" And she responded with, "I think we do bird watching just the right amount, watch them as we drive by!"  Even though I didn't pick up a new hobby it sure was neat to see birds that I don't see every day. There were black ones with red stripes and big white pelicans with black wing tips and orange beaks. I asked again if we should take up bird watching....this time I just got the head tilt and a smile. 

    As we get even closer to the Spiral Jetty, we realized that we will be going right by Promontory Point. You know, where the railroads came together and they drove in the Golden Spike? Then it hit me, that as a teenager, my friends and I had been to Promontory Point, but we never went to check out the Spiral Jetty.  I was scratching my brain shell, wondering why the adults wouldn't have taken us just a little bit further to see the Jetty?  (the answer is to come) 

    So, now we are closer than ever and we take the left turn that GPS told us to, just to end up at a sign that was hanging on a fence that clearly states that we are now trespassing on private property. Since we are not criminals, we turned around and got back on the main road, leaving me scratching my head once again.  We saw another car coming from the other direction, so we thought the Spiral Jetty must be that way.  We were right [or I should say, they were right]. The road turns into the parking lot and even if you wanted to keep going in your vehicle you can't, unless you have a moon buggy! 

    There is lava rock everywhere. We decided to take in the full view first, so we went up the hill to see it from afar. As we stopped to take some pictures [see below], I looked down and there was a small cable that went under some rocks to what looked like a plastic box. I had to find out why in the world this cable was there and what is it attached to. I moved a couple rocks from the pile to find my first geo cache! WHAT?!!! Are we Indiana Jones finding treasures in the middle of nowhere!? We opened it and there were some toys, a card, a plastic knife and a little note pad and pen in a plastic bag. We opened the note pad and wrote our names and the date that we were there on and a quote from yours truly. I don't remember my quote...I guess that gives us a reason to go back and refresh on whatever wisdom fell out of my head that day. We didn't have many options to leave behind, so we left a pack of gum and a pen from Title Guarantee [because the pen in the bag no longer worked and we didn't want to be the last to check in at this spot].  Enough about the geo cache...back to the Jetty.

    As the curious crow [bird reference] that I am, I had to Google this art piece to learn all its facts. I learned that it was human-created  in this instance by a man, named Robert Smithson. He and a crew used a dump truck, tractor, and front loader to arrange the rocks that form the spiral. According to the Dia Art Foundation, they used about 6,000 tons of black basalt and earth from the site to make this sculpture. The Spiral Jetty was built in 1970 and by 1972 it was submerged, due to higher lake water levels  until the early 2000s. That's when it hit me  no wonder those adults didn't take us out here to see the Spiral Jetty all those years ago  It was under water. 

    It has been under water and not been able to be seen longer that it has been visible.  Craziness! This art piece is the coolest because you can walk on it! Being right on top of it has such a different view than the one from the mountain side. Take a picnic or hit up Maddox in Brigham City on the way home to make this a complete adventure. Driving from Salt Lake to the Spiral Jetty and back is about 4.5 hours of drive time plus however long you decide to look for my quote and look at the Spiral Jetty. Happy and safe travels my friends!

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