The world is such a beautiful place! Some lucky people explore as many nooks and crannies as they can – soaking up cultures and languages and adventures wherever they go. Homebodies (like me) may explore new places through photos and books and travel blogs. However we choose to experience the world, I think we often forget what treasures can be found right outside our doorways. We need to see our own little corner of the world through eyes of discovery.
I was reminded of this a few moths ago when my son’s extra credit assignment prompted us to visit the Spiral Jetty. First it prompted us to Google the Spiral Jetty. We had never heard of it, and neither had the Northern Utah natives we quizzed. We set out, determined to see it for ourselves (and earn a passing grade in a History class).
Our first stop was Promontory Summit and the Golden Spike National Historic Site. This destination was less mysterious, since we had visited it once before and had learned about it in our own history classes. The main attractions at the visitor’s center are the replicas of the engines (Jupiter and No. 119) that met at this point in 1869. They were sadly missing the day we visited, so we’ll save that little adventure for another time.
The guides, though, are very familiar with the Spiral Jetty, and were quick to recommend to each visitor that they drive about 20 miles down a gravel road to visit it. Apparently, people come from all over the world to see it in person. Europeans often stop in to ask directions, finding the meeting of two railroads much less interesting than the neighboring earthwork sculpture.
It’s simple and secluded, and really very lovely. It’s a nice little stopping place if you’re heading north to Yellowstone, or South to Salt Lake. With proper adult supervision it’s a child-friendly destination with lots of room to stretch and move. It’s a short, rocky walk from the parking area to the jetty, and then you can walk along the wide path created by the jetty itself. It isn’t not handicapped accessible, and there are no amenities, though the national historical site (with restrooms) is only 20 miles away.
Water levels vary depending on the time of year and whether we are experiencing a drought, and will determine whether you can walk on the jetty, or even see it. Check the official Spiral Jetty website for water levels, directions and more information on this hidden treasure.