Monday, March 23, 2009
The Spiral Jetty.
I am having such a good time in Utah! Lots of wonderful people, beautiful scenery, and adventures. Mostly adventures of the rock climbing/bouldering kind, but yesterday, Matt and I had a crazy journey to see the Spiral Jetty.
Ever since my ephemeral media class a few years ago, I have been interested in some of the earlier artworks that kind of revived the Earth works movement. One of them is definitely the Spiral Jetty, made by Robert Smithson in April 1970. The spiral is probably the oldest, most wide-spread symbol on Earth. The image of the spiral has been found in most ancient cultures around the world. It can represent an inward journey to find oneself, an outward journey to find a greater power, the daily birth and death of the sun, the change of the seasons, and the continual flow of life in general.
How Robert Smithson ever decided on this incredibly out-of-the-way stretch of the Great Salt Lake for his art, though, is beyond me. It was at least two hours from Salt Lake City, on one of the farthest-north stretches of the Lake. It was about 16 miles down a dirt road past the Golden Spike, where the last railroad nail connecting the First Transcontinental Railroad across the U.S. was driven. We drove through the swamps surrounding the Great Salt Lake, which I didn't even know existed, and they were eerily like the scenery of Resident Evil 5, which Cody has been playing religiously. We passed by unfenced cows and drove over whole families of tumbleweed. We were at least an hour's drive from any form of civilization.
Finally, we encountered about three other cars as we approached the final mile stretch before the Spiral Jetty.
Unfortunately, our trip did not end with us jumping out of the car and having a care-free afternoon. You see, Matt was going to back up instead of continue along this especially bumpy part of the dirt road. We decided to walk the rest of the way. However, when he backed up, he swung the car a little too wide and it ended up off the road, high-centered--stuck in the middle on a rock with the tires virtually useless. If we had been in a car with 4WD instead of the hybrid, I'm sure it wouldn't have been a big deal. However, as it was, the bumper snapped partially off and there was nothing we could do but find someone to pull us out.
We walked out onto the Spiral Jetty to find an SUV which had passed us earlier, and the guys were very nice and helpful. They pulled us out and the bumper popped right back into place. Once the car was back on even ground, the gas gauges stopped reading empty (which was freaking us out, as the nearest gas station was at least an hour away, and we had no cellphone signal to call for help) and all was well.
Anyway, the Spiral Jetty was very cool. Sometimes it is covered by the Lake, but the waters had receded far into the distance today, where they were pink from the bacteria and algae that are able to survive in the very high salt content of the lake. The rocks were black and porous, and the sand was hard from being packed with salt.
Matt said, "I've never seen so much salt in my life!"
After the cold, raining walk on the Spiral Jetty (of which I will post personal photos when I return home) and harrowing experience of being out in the middle of nowhere, we were very ready to get warm and eat some dinner. We went to the Citris Grill in Salt Lake City, where we had yummy sweet potato fries and warm brownies, and then we went to REI, only to have them close five minutes after we walked in.
We came back to Matt's house to watch "To Catch a Thief." Alfred Hitchcock movies always make me laugh.