This railroad crossing is the only urban remain of the town of Lucin. It was founded as a watering station for steam locomotives, the Lucin Ponds were reservoirs of the water collected through a pipeline from the melting snows of the nearby Pilot Mountain Range. Where the ponds used to be there are clumps of surprisingly tall cottonwood trees. They are now protected as an important resting site for migratory songbirds, attracted by this small patch of shade and water in the Great Basin Desert. On our way to see Nancy Holt's Sun Tunnels we waved hello to the railroad engineer inspecting this crossing. We had to drive three hours until crossing paths with another car, the driver waved hello and we waved back. I imagine that we too were the first people he saw in hours.
The Spiral Jetty seems to be a device to promote a journey through a series of historical sites. It has the effect of bringing past events to our present experience, and in that sense is a Kublerian work. Driving from Salt Lake City for a couple of hours it takes us to the Golden Spike National Monument, and the history of the Union Pacific Railway. Smithson built his work on the centennial of the railway connection between the East and West coasts of the United States. Moreover, the first jetty we see when arriving to Rozel Point is the ruin of a former oil drilling site. In 1970, the Spiral Jetty was situated on a terrifying site, with blood red water, caused by the Lucin Cutoff, an engineering 'earthwork' in which a railway line cut the Great Salt Lake in two. The oil prospection at the site continued up to the end of the 20th century. Here we only see remains, but a few decades ago this place smelled of crude oil and was scattered with dead birds.