This past weekend James helped me wrap up my Birthday month celebration with a surprise trip to the West Coast. The days spent in California were the most exciting, adventurous and wanderlust filled days I’ve experienced in a long time. Thanks to James September 2015 will always be a month to remember.
Our adventure started in Sunny Los Angeles where we didn’t get any sleep on the day of our arrival. Instead we drove all around, in and out of Los Angeles from dusk till dawn. We concluded our initial journey around 6 am on Venice beach. We arrived to a foggy ash like canvas sky waiting for the sun to strike up a master piece with its golden rays. After the sunrise showed up at 6:45 am we made our peace with the day, and headed to our temporary home in beautiful Marina Del Rey to charge up and rest for a few hours.
When James asked me about the places that I would like to visit during our time in California I immediately responded with Salvation Mountain as my main option. This man-made multi-colored attraction has been on my bucket list for years and I couldn’t pass up the chance to finally getting to experience it in person.
Salvation Mountain is Leonard Knight’s homage to God and Love. It is made out of adobe clay, straw and many gallons of paint. The vivid monument is located in California’s Colorado Desert, about an hour from Palm Springs and near to the Salton Sea. Sadly Mr. Knight passed away last year after a long battle with dementia.
This is a site where images can’t capture the magnitude of detail throughout the space. You have to experience it on your own to truly feel and understand the amazement I felt during our visit. Every tangible space is filled with colorful motifs making you feel as if you just walked into a sequel for Alice in Wonderland. Mr. Knight used techniques he learned from the local Navajo community to expand the Mountain in the formation of the Hogan (a dome structure made of adobe clay that’s main purpose was to give insulation from the extreme temperatures of the desert.
The Museum section was constructed in a similar way. It is in a semi-dome shape where several items like photos, empty beer bottles, and written notes that were gifted to Mr. Knight by the visitors, scattered around the space. It was reminiscent of an underground enchanted maze, where car parts and clusters of twisted tree branches guide you along the way.
On May 2002 Salvation Mountain was declared a National Treasure by the Congressional Record of the United States. For more information and to find out how to plan your trip to this magical place visit http://www.salvationmountaininc.org/
Photos By James Batkin-Smith
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