Tag Archives: Nevada

St. Thomas

20161125_132737I’ve been wanting to visit St. Thomas for some time. I was close by while visiting Double Negative. I’d heard the road had been washed out in the spring, but I was close, so I drove over and the road was open.

For decades, St. Thomas, a Mormon settlement, was the largest city in southern Nevada. Located in a valley fed by the Muddy River and the Virgin River, there was an abundance of water, so a great place to farm and live in the desert. Native peoples had lived in the valley for centuries. Then, Hoover Dam was built and Lake Meade created. St. Thomas was underwater in no time at all. With the droughts and usage, Lake Meade has dropped and 20161125_134210St. Thomas has been re-exposed.

There’s a 2.5 mile loop trail that takes you from the old boat launch down to the town site and around some of the foundations. That’s all that’s there. Foundations and a few metal remnants.

It’s odd at times because you’ll be walking through sand and then through piles of little clam shells. Of course, there were colonies of mollusks when the place was under water.

20161125_140627The sign says the trails aren’t maintained, but most of the foundation sites have been cleared of plants and grasses, so there’s some maintenance going on there.

Anyway, it’s a nice hike, pretty easy, and there’s lots to think about, from the old town, to knowing there was about 100 feet of water over the top of the site (over your head), to the river and mountains around you.

Double Negative

20161125_122951For my #FridayFieldTrip I visited the land art piece, Double Negative, by Michael Heizer,  near Overton, Nevada. It was completed in 1970 and is owned by the Los Angeles Modern Art Museum. It’s two eroding caverns in an isolated section of desert on the Mormon Mesa (Also called the Virgin River Mesa).

I do wish there was a sign with a catalog description, as there would be with a piece in the museum. It would have been nice to get some information while standing there.

There are pictures on the web that show Double Negative in it’s original form, but over the past 46 years it has been weathered and beaten up a bit, so the sides aren’t plumb. And, I think that’s one of the cool aspects of land art. There’s the original vision, and then the ongoing effects of wind and rain and humans and animals and whatever else might come. 20161125_123209The holes are pretty deep and I guess I could have scrambled down, but it didn’t feel like the right thing to do; so, I took some pictures, contemplated life (it’s incredibly quiet there!), and then headed on my way.

The view from the top of the mesa down into the valley of the  Virgin River was simply amazing.

 

Seven Magic Mountains

Today’s #FridayFieldTrip was a quick drive out to see the Seven Magic Mountains, an 14359267_10154423370456145_6977719680576813023_ninstallation art piece by Ugo Rondinone. Here’s some info:

From the website: “Seven Magic Mountains, a two-year public art installation, is located approximately 10 miles south of the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and St. Rose Parkway in Henderson, Nevada. The installation site is a short distance from legendary Jean Dry Lake where Michael Heizer and Jean Tinquely created significant sculptures in the 1960s.

“Internationally renowned Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains is a large-scale site-specific public art installation located near Jean Dry Lake and Interstate 15, approximately ten miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada. Comprised of seven towers of colorful, stacked boulders standing more than thirty feet high, Seven Magic Mountains is situated within the Ivanpah Valley adjacent to Sheep Mountain and the McCullough, Bird Spring, and Goodsprings ranges of mountains. A creative expression of human presence in the desert, Seven Magic Mountains punctuates the Mojave with a poetic burst of form and color. The exhibition opened May 11, 2016 and will be on view for two years.

There’s an ongoing debate among the locals about whether this is art, why the rocks weren’t left natural (they’re painted harsh, elemental, nearly neon colors), and whether such things deserve public funding. My opinion: I think it’s great. Ugo does cool stuff around the world, all of it a bit wacky. And, why not? I wasn’t there long, about 30 minutes, but in that short time on a Friday afternoon, nearly a hundred people visited the site. People were talking and laughing and taking pictures and selfies. Even the few young visitors there touched the rocks and looked up in wonder.

They remind me of stacked marshmallows. And, they’re huge. Size is deceptive in the vast desert, so they don’t look so big until you’re standing under them and walking among them.

While out there, I drove the main road through the Jean Dry Lake Beds. Careful if you follow that path. There were lots of folks with guns practice shooting at targets and the few signs in the area are peppered with gun holes. I really don’t get people…