Saturday, January 03, 2009

Zzyzx: The Spa in the Mojave

When the Mojave National Preserve was created in 1994, I remember being a little unsure about what, exactly, we were preserving. (This was before I discovered the MNP.) Then the urban landscape overtook the desert around Las Vegas. I’m glad now that something was set aside before the entire Mojave Desert was covered in Wal-Marts and tract homes.

Last year, my family visited Zzyzx. Today it’s home to a desert research group, but the remains of the former spa built by Curtis Howe Springer still stand. In 1944, Springer filed a mining claim on the land and proceeded to build several buildings, including a spa and hotel. The only problem was that the land was never officially his. The BLM took the property back in 1974.

The abandoned buildings on the edge of the dry Soda Lake are slowly being claimed by the desert. A boat embedded between two palms sits next to the horseshoe pit. The vast dry lake bed sits white and flat for miles, just beyond a spring-fed pond ringed with palms. The old spa’s outdoor pools still hold water. Through windowpanes without walls, the Providence Mountains rise in the background.

This was my favorite photo trip from 2008, but the pictures were never posted because about ten days after these pictures were taken in April, my mother got very ill; on May 6, she passed away. On this particular day, however, my only concern was how to find the best photograph on a beautiful spring day.
Photo Information: My photographs of Zzyzx.

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