Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Utah - Spiral Jetty

After our visit to the Golden Spike NHS, our day wasn't over.  We had plans to see another place nearby and then eat lunch at In N Out Burger on the way back to SLC.  Time got away from us and suddenly it was 2pm and we were still at the NHS.  With no lunch.  I should know by now to always, always pack some sort of food.  Did I mention that we were out in the middle of nowhere?  Yeh, we were.  Our only option was to make do with the very limited, VERY expensive food in the gift shop.  We each had a box of National Park animal crackers,1 piece of Buffalo (I thought they were bison?) jerky, and one bite of a chocolate Golden Spike.  It was over $30 for this handful of food!  A very expensive lesson....ALWAYS take along some food, even if you don't think you'll need it.  At least we had our own water bottles with us :).

Our next destination was about 15 miles further into "nowhere".  We left the NHS, made our first turn, and the pavement immediately ended.  Now I know why google maps said it would take 50 minutes to travel 15 miles.  Fortunately, there hadn't been any rain recently, so the roads weren't too bad.  Rough and bumpy, yes.  But no big deal.

We were going to see Spiral Jetty.  Spiral Jetty is an earthwork sculpture that was built in 1970 by artist Robert Smithson.  This sculpture is located in the north arm of the lake, the saltiest part.  There is a causeway that blocks off this section of the lake causing the salinity to be 27 percent.  That's a lot of salt!  Also, the water in the north arm is pink.  There is a certain type of algae that thrives in such high salinity causing the pink color.  It was light pink when we were there, sometimes it is almost red. 

The sculpture was built during a drought, lake levels were low.  Within a few years the water levels returned to normal and Spiral Jetty was submerged.  It stayed hidden under water for 30 years!  It has just in the last decade or so been making an appearance again.  Because of its long soak in the super salty water, it is now covered in pink and white salt crystals.

A very interesting place, we were all glad for the opportunity to experience it.

***And yes, we stopped at the first restaurant we could find and had a proper meal :)

1 comment:

  1. So THAT explains the pink salt you see sometimes in chunks? Or is that something totally different? Hmmm..Curiouser and curiouser.... I love following your escapades--like a mini-travelogue!!