The Weekenders | Spiral Jetty

1/22/2015 | Amy Tibbals
Monica Dennis

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Ready for another worldly [or an other-worldly] adventure? Hit the road and head north on this 100-mile trek to the Great Salt Lake's beautiful earthwork sculpture. Nice and close to the city, and no hotels are actually necessary for this one. We're calling it a Weekender, but really, this is more of a Day Tripper. The Spiral Jetty was created by Robert Smithson, located at Rozel Point in the Great Salt Lake. It's a stellar departure from the art of galleries and museums; 6,000+ tons of basalt rock and earth formed into a 1,500 ft. long, 15 ft. wide coil at a spot where the water levels rise and fall. It disappeared into the water from 1972 to 2002, but it's currently very visible and quite ripe for a day's getaway. The fate of the jetty is yet to be determined [submerged again with some precipitation? preservation efforts?], but we know where she currently stands, and we highly encourage you to see this fantastically-strange and beautiful bit of our state.

Gold-Line

SPIRAL JETTY, NORTH SIDE OF THE GREAT SALT LAKE, 2 hours: Your northbound voyage on I-15 should take you right on through Davis County…and Weber County…and right into Box Elder County. Your exit is just two past good ol' Brigham City. Once you get off I-15 toward Corinne, it's gonna start to feel a bit like you've gone back in time, but continue to march west on Highway 13 [beyond Corrine, this becomes Highway 83], 'cause you've still got a little while. Corn fields, country feed stores, hay trucks, cattle guards…"oh, it's all part of the experience, honey." Follow the signs for the Golden Spike State Park [there will be a left turn off of highway]. If you're so inclined, stop and take in the tremendously historic feeling--this is where the Union and Central Pacific hooked up to hold hands in the completion of the first transcontinental railroad [history is sensational!]. Wipe the proud tears from your eyes and keep driving [and stay right, as the road forks]. The dirt roads will get bumpy, and the number of cattle will greatly increase. Soon, though, the barren, picturesque landscape will overwhelm you. The road will bend, the clouds will part, and--cue the singing angels--you'll see Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty, circa 1970.

Check In: Geocaching anyone? Don't forget to sign the guest book — Check out the podium above the jetty at the end of the dirt road. Find out who was there before you. If you're in a treasure hunting mood, the new arrivals in the geocache will be a stellar conversation starter. Leave something and take something. The view is astounding, panoramic even, and deafeningly quiet. For our trip, the lake was low, so the walk down was pretty exhilarating [Mama Nature's unpredictable, so it's always a different experience]. Either way, you'll find the guest book at the end with names in the sand. This creative space has an energy that is worth 'checking in' to.

Eat Out: Picnic & BYOB, the trunk; Mim's Bar & Grill, 4020 Utah 13, Corrine — Grab the cooler and pack up the day's fixins. Not only is this a road trip to the middle of nowhere, but you'll probably want a snack or a sip while you enjoy the jetty art as it was meant to be seen. Or, if you prefer the quickie experience with a round of documentary photography before you hit the road again, you can stop off at Mim's Bar & Grill. It's a biker bar known for the ambiance of a loud jukebox and hand-cut fries [mmm, fries]. Besides, an old-fashioned cheeseburger after a long day's adventure never hurt anyone. Ever.

Spend Pesos: Golden Spike State Park, 6200 N 22300 W; gas station, anywhere — This lovely state park requires an entrance fee, but we say it's worth it. Don't try circumventing the fence to get out of it, either--park hosts will correct you. And, since you should plan on a full tank of gas [safety first], there's a little station in Corrine just near Mim's. Meander in and get yourself a souvenir if'n you so desire. Magnet in the shape of Utah, pair of sunglasses, novelty lighter, pack o' gum…the possibilities are endless. Best part, though: you don't have to spend anything. Seeing the Spiral Jetty is entirely FREE, so pile into the vintage Wagoneer and go get your fill of this earthly work.

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