“The lake [Great Salt Lake] is too difficult to approach to be taken for granted; the tang of surprise and the shock of recognition are a part of its character.” ~Dale L. Morgan
After nearly an hour of white-knuckled, totally unplowed, ice-covered and drifted dirt road travel, we arrived at Rozel Point, the home of the coil jutting earthwork sculpture named The Spiral Jetty. I found the sculpture so overwhelmingly crowded during my first visit to the Spiral Jetty that I never even ventured down to walk the 1,500-foot-long (460 m) spiral. Visiting the Spiral Jetty in Winter, we were completely, gloriously alone.
The Spiral Jetty is located 15 miles south of the Golden Spike National Historic Site Visitor Center and I hadn’t considered the fact that the road is dirt and not maintained after the visitor center. I get these ideas in my head like we’re going to visit the Spiral Jetty in the middle of winter on this Saturday regardless of how much snow fell in the last few days. We had underestimated how long it would take to get there from Salt Lake City and arrived with barely enough time to explore before sunset.
My advice, if you’re going to visit the Spiral Jetty in winter take an all-wheel-drive car, pack a bunch of extra layers just in case, and a shovel. The road was a total ice sheet and if you were to slide off the road or get stuck there is no cell service and the likelihood of a passerby to help is low. We saw only cows and a herd of wild horses.
The Great Salt Lake is shrinking at an alarming lake and the shore of the Great Salt Lake is so far away from the Spiral Jetty it is hard to imagine that the sculpture was completely under water for nearly 30 years. With continued drought and over-irrigation, I wonder if the Spiral Jetty will ever be submerged again.
The landscape surrounding the Spiral Jetty is unique and strange and I love it. It looks dramatically different each time I’ve visited.