Tag Archives: Nevada

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…

Shooting Gallery

14202726_10154383563161145_5959439791452368374_nFor my #FridayFieldTrip, I returned to the Alamo area and searched once again for the Shooting Gallery Petroglyph site and this time I found it. Without GPS coordinates (and general mileage numbers), it would be virtually impossible to find the turn off. (Even with those it was pretty rough. Then, a portion of the second road has been washed out. Luckily, others had gone before me and blazed a bit of desert path as a bypass.

14322655_10154383563211145_1491018150718291557_nI was pretty excited when I found the registration box. I headed out, followed the directions I had, but spotted something up in the hills. So, I scrambled up the mountain of boulders and was rewarded with some excellent petroglyphs that weren’t in the GPS list. Plus, I got a good view of the valley.

I headed back down to the desert floor, followed the boulders to the west, and found an alcove that I know has been a village spot. I sat under an ancient juniper and mediated for quite a while, enjoying the shade of the old tree and the great energy of the place.14238258_10154383563241145_4598199050077403964_n That’s also where I found this petrolyph that really spoke to me.

Eventually, I got back into the wash and found several other glyphs. I didn’t climb up into the rocky canyon to get close to the Parhaganet Men, and I also never found the starburst antler deer. I thought I’d find them on my way back, but ended up in the wrong wash (there were at least three washes that converged into the valley.

14222341_10154383563196145_2202717405215141743_nOn my way back to my truck, I suffered a bit of heat exhaustion and spent about an hour resting in a shady, sandy spot with my head filled with the knowledge that this was probably a place with big cats. (I’m reading Life of Pi, so big images of big cats fill my head!)

Anyway, I recovered, discovered I was walking up the wrong wash, and, using GPS, found my truck and then my way back out to the main road.

I don’t know why this site has caused me so many issues (two trips to find it, not seeing the “famous” rock art, heat exhaustion, et. al.) I do think I’ll go back in cooler weather and see if I can’t find the star burst and hike that side canyon, too. For now, I’m just happy to be alive to take another Friday Field Trip next week.

Grapevine Canyon

14068049_10154336882991145_2966787848766762657_nOf all the petroglyph sites I’ve visited this summer, Grapevine Canyon was about the best for both number and quality of rock art. While most of the art in this canyon wasn’t representational (human or animal), the designs are quite numerous and many quite different from the other sites I’ve visited.

I got the sense while there that this was a 14034699_10154336883086145_2836455009977989840_nfrequently used site, perhaps seasonally. There is a waterfall at the end of a hike that would run in the spring.

This hike is well marked (there’s actually a sign, unlike most sites). There’s a nice parking area and a restroom. If you choose to visit, I recommend that you not walk up the wash. Instead, stay on the rim of the wash. There’s a well-traveled path there and it’s easier walking than the soft sand and upward incline of the wash. (I walked in the wash and out the rim and recommend the rim!)

20160826_133121I also had the opportunity to drive Christmas Tree Pass to get to the site. I chose the “long way.” It’s a well-graded road with some amazing views.