It is almost impossible to talk or think about Slab City without Salvation Mountain as well. They are attached at the hip in both physical proximity and urban lore. If you enter Slab City by the main route you cannot help but drive right by the Mountain. Willow and I, both being fervent believers in Dog, do not usually go out of our way to visit religious… anything but to be at Slab City and not take even the briefest of peeks at Salvation Mountain is like being in Rome and not stopping to look at even one of the churches which are architectural wonders.
As Ally The Greater, her two dogs Herbie and Amara and Willow and I walked in the general direction of the “Mountain” we aim towards the cross that we can see sticking out seemingly from the dunes ahead.
Before we get there we pass two old water tanks and stopped on a shady side of one to let the dogs take a sniff about.
Speaking of architectural wonders, let it be said that Salvation Mountain is not one. The first one fell down and this second version is a cobbled together collection of straw bales, mud, tree trucks, car door, plaster and untold countless 10’s of thousands of gallons of paint. When we arrived at the edge of the cliff that leads to the base of the mountain area we can look down upon the rear of the section of the mountain complex I thought of as “The Caves.”
We walked over towards the cross that crowns this towering achievement and met a couple of people and their dogs.
Since we’re here we might as well document our presence.
I’m not a fan of being in pictures myself but break down and allowed Ally The Greater to take a couple of shots of my girl and I.
After taking in the view from the top we walked around past the cross and down the hill at the right side of the mountain and were greeted by this sight.
To the right of the main Mountain there stands the “caves” area that we looked down upon from up above and we headed over to take a look. I actually enjoyed this area mostly for the cool and shady little nooks and crannies but also for the Technicolor nightmare, Dr. Seuss, Beetlejuice, fry toy vibe of the painted tree trunk supports.
Hidden around corners and in little alcoves we found areas that held little devotional prayers, remembrances and sayings. Some were embedded in the walls, others written on slips of paper and left on a wide step.
As I mentioned elsewhere, in general, I consider this entire thing to be a giant monument to one man’s obsession to pouring as much brightly colored poison over as great an area of desert as possible but others have a different opinion and that is all right too.
I can appreciate the actual physical labor it took to create something this massive by hand and can see how it would be considered “art” in some circles and, indeed, Salvation Mountain has been deemed a famous piece of folk art worthy of protection.
All in all we were glad we took the walk over to see the site and made plans to swap pictures with Ally the Greater once we got back to camp.