About 12 miles south of Las Vegas, NV is an art installation that is certainly worth a stop when traveling on I15 between California and Vegas. Vegas can wait, take some time to explore this unique art.
Seven Magic Mountains
My arrival at Seven Magic Mountains was timed for sunset, hoping for some of that great Southwest glow. The brilliance of the dayglow colors is very surprising. That and the fact this roadside art cost $3,500,000. The price is even more remarkable when you learn it will be torn down in two years. That seems a bit expensive for seven stacks of brightly painted boulders. I may have been happy to do it for half that price. However, it is not really like the $3,500,000 was flushed down the drain, as the money went to engineers, truck drivers, road construction and several gallons of the most vivid paint colors I’ve ever seen. It’s art!
Eliminating people from my photos is often a mistake, as they can give a sense of scale. These rock towers range from 30 to 35 feet tall.
Signals from Outer Space
While visiting I was lucky enough to see and photograph one of the Magic Mountains communicate with outer space. Periodically, instructions are sent to the towers regarding what colors each rock is to be the following day. In turn, the rock tower sends back up into space the recorded messages from tourists for the day and images of any vandals. It was all a part of the $3,500,000.
The People You Meet
It is interesting how the short interactions and chance encounters during our journeys can have unknown positive effects on us in the future. I likely would not have found out about Seven Magic Mountains had it not been for a chance encounter with Rachel and Jaclyn at the Cadillac Ranch outside of Lubbock, Texas in 2014. Most people my age wait until retirement to start any extensive travels. Not so with many of the younger people (Millennials ??) I’ve met while traveling in retirement.
While taking sunrise photos of the Cadillac Ranch I met numerous groups of people, all making cross-country journeys with their best friends, from Seattle going to Florida or Connecticut to California. All seemed to be starting a major new phase of their lives. Rachel and Jaclyn were one such couple of best friends. The two of them went out of their way to stop and experience the famous Cadillac Ranch. I happen to know people living in the area who have likely driven by this site 50 times and not stopped once. Too often we get caught up in life, rushing from one spot to another and miss some simple joys. Also, we do not look at the stuff right in our own backyards with the same sense of wonder of a tourist or traveler.
Exchanging names and Facebook info, I have followed the travels of these two. Jaclyn seems to have traveled more than I have at this point. We happened to be in Croatia at the same time. It is because of one of her Facebook posts I learned about Seven Magic Mountains.
I have also learned from people like Jaclyn and Rachel there is more than one set way to experience life. Wait for retirement or live life to the fullest along the way. I am in awe of their extensive travels and their life choice of not waiting for retirement to enjoy and explore the world.
Happy trails to you….
Been to Cadillac ranch,but have not to 3.5,painted rocks, why they gonna take it down?
It is just one of those temporary art projects. New York has them every once in a while, like the Christo and Jeanne-Claude in NYC. Check out my Cadillac Ranch post if you have not already seen it. http://www.haroldhallphotography.com/category/rt66/
We are leaving Sedona on Tuesday heading to California, might have to take this detour. How long is the drive from I15. Thx.
It is right off of I15, a hundred yards…. Look it up on Google to get an orientation and to see which exit to take. There are likely signs coming up from the south just as I was when I was coming down from the north. Near Jean on S Las Vegas Blvd. Good luck.