After Joshua Tree, we drove along the Salton Sea to Niland, California to see Salvation Mountain. I had been wanting to come here for a long time but it always seemed so far away. And, well, it was. It took us about two hours to get here from Joshua Tree and by the time we got there we were only 50 miles from the border to Mexico. We even had to go through border patrol. Salvation Mountain is in a place called Slab City. There is a very small town and people living in trailers and that's it. Then there is this painted-mountain weirdness a few miles out.
Salvation Mountain was made by a man named Leonard Knight. The project began in 1986 as a declaration of Knight's love for Jesus. He hoped that whoever came to the mountain would be inspired to accept God into their hearts. The monument is made of the mountain itself and a few little rooms called the Hogan and Museum. My favorite was the Museum, a dome supported by brightly-painted trees.
While I'm not Christian, or particularly religious, this mountain felt like it meant something. All the work that Knight put into the monument made me feel his message, and, if anything, appreciate his dedication to his beliefs. It's a place about love. It feels very surreal and otherworldly, which is how I think I could describe most of the desert, honestly. But that mystery added to Knight's huge and powerful message.
So Ian and I climbed around the mountain and explored the little rooms. We got there just as the sun was going down, which made it all the more eerie. As we left, though, the sky created a gorgeous sunset that we literally rode off into, leaving the mountain behind. It was a beautiful place and I hope to go back someday.