Today’s #FridayFieldTrip was an exploration of some of the rock art in the White River Narrows. There were a few spots with amazing rock art, including the amphitheater, where these images came from. Huge, wide rock panels covered in lines of images.
I’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 St. 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.
The 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.
For 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. The 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.