So part two, a day late.
We finished up our lunch and were excited to find that we were less than ten minutes from Salvation Mountain. What's Salvation Mountain, you're asking? Well friends, it is this:
and let me tell you, it is amazing. All of that rain and traffic and horrible z-grade diner food and when we first caught glimpse of this, it was all worth it.
Salvation Mountain is an enormous sculpture made by one old man who lives on the property and has been building it for years and years. It appears to be made almost entirely out of bales of hay, mud, and paint, with a few found junkyard objects thrown in. When you first drive up to it, you see the mountain itself
The mountain is climbable, but on the day we were there it wouldn't have been safe. We could barely walk on level ground in boots without falling. Adjacent to the mountain is another smaller mountain (of sorts) that you can enter. It is composed of several caves
along with walkways and courtyards and just general random mini structures.
It seems that Leonard Knight, the artist behind this work, just built and built and built. There is even a replica in front of the mountain of the mountain itself:
Surrounding Salvation Mountain is a circle of cars. Those are painted too:
One might be tempted to write this off as outsider art kitsch, but that is not the experience of actually seeing it in person. When you see it and climb it and interact with it, its message of sheer joy is absolutely overwhelming. I asked Matthew what he thought it would be like to love anything as much as Leonard Knight loves God and his sculpture and he said "terrifying. And amazing."
Agreed. It was beautiful.
And I still owe you guys part 3: Slab City, Niland, and Bombay Beach.