The Great Spiral Jetty Adventure

Yesterday we went out to the Spiral Jetty.

But first, on Wednesday I did some more frittering.  Went to the public library (of course), bought some coffee, went to the Gateway Mall.  I like the Gateway mall;  it’s what an outdoor mall should be.  A couple of levels, very pedestrian friendly, compact yet with lots of shops.  There’s even an Olympic Plaza from the 2002 games.  I would have liked it even more if I’d had a lot of money to spend!

Yesterday Jenny was off again and we decided to try to see the Spiral Jetty.  I remember ages ago my friend Lacy (art teacher) showing it to me in a book on art installations in nature.  It’s over an hour north of town (I keep forgetting how great big the Great Salt Lake is).  On the way up we passed Hill Air Force Base and had some fighter jets accompany us as they flew training missions between the mountains.

Due to some misconstruing of directions, we passed the exit and ended up in Nowhereville, Utah.  After finding our way back to the right highway, we drove, and drove, and drove some more.  It sure seemed like a long way to me.  It also seemed awfully empty, with just farms around.  Little did I know.

We visited the Golden Spike National Historic Site, the last stop before the Jetty.  I was interested in it, since I’d read and enjoyed Stephen Ambrose’s book Nothing Like it In the World.  There wasn’t actually much there: a visitor center, two steam engines,

and the last railroad tie.

 Jenny wondered who you would have to make angry in the National Park Service to get a posting “way out there.”  Little did we know.  (Cue ominous music.)

It was “only” sixteen miles from the visitor center to the jetty.  We started out on pretty decent gravel roads.  I wondered why they twisted and turned so much; it wasn’t like there was anything out there to avoid, just miles of emptiness.  I also wondered why about halfway there were a bunch of no trespassing signs warning that either side of the road was private property.  As Jenny said, “What would I want to do off the road?”  There was nothing out there but cows.  Lots and lots of cows.

Our smugness quickly evaporated as the road became a track and the track became a rocky mess.  The portion of road in the cow picture above was before it got too rough to take pictures.   It ended up being a very long and adventurous sixteen miles. 

We finally got there and other than the hoards of nasty bugs, it was a fun thing to see.  Kind of beautiful in an odd way, isolated way.

There were mini jetties people had made.

Canadians had been there.

There was lots of salt.  On rocks . . .

and in little “pools.”

We even walked out along the jetty a ways.

It was a long way back, but a great adventure.

We topped it all off with a visit to Bombay House for Indian food last night.

Bonus:  Top Quotes from the Great Spiral Jetty Adventure

  • This isn’t too bad.
  • Hi baby cow.  Do you like Counting Crows?
  • What would you grow out here?
  • Does it seem like we’re hitting a lot of bugs?
  • That cow looks mad.
  • I want to go back to the visitor center and buy that book and see what this guy was smoking when he had this idea.
  • Ut-ut-ut [as I try to talk during a particularly bumpy stretch].
  • That’s a HUGE cow patty.
  •  This looks like the perfect place for those black helicopters.
  • Dinner’s on me tonight – if I don’t have to pay for a new suspension for the Jeep.
  • Lacy Ryan has a lot to answer for.
  • That cow wants to play chicken.
  • Civilization! [Back at the previously scorned visitor center]

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