Salvation Mountain

“THE THINGS THAT EXCITE YOU ARE NOT RANDOM. THEY ARE CONNECTED TO YOUR PURPOSE. FOLLOW THEM.” -Ruben Chavez

There’s so much beauty in spontaneity. It brings excitement, courage, and a wildness that you forget is within you. At least, that’s how it felt when two of my friends (Sharon and Angeline) and I decided that we were going to take a trip to the famous Salvation Mountain… that very night.

About Salvation Mountain: 

It’s located in the lower desert of Southern California in Imperial County. Leonard Knight created it as a way to share God’s love through artwork. It’s 50 feet high and 150 feet wide. The theme of God’s love is everywhere here, and it has about 10-15 coats of paint over every surface.

How I got there:

I have been talking about going to Salvation Mountain for so long. During my last week in San Diego I realized I had to make this trip happen, as it’s only about a two hour drive from SD.

Spontaneously, Angeline and Sharon and I decided to just go! We left within two hours of making the plan and drove to the front of the property to camp overnight in my car.

I was so surprised and so stoked that they were on board with me about this adventure. I’m typically the one throwing out wild ideas that no one goes for, so to be on the same page with Sharon and Angeline was awesome. We slept cramped in my car, for only a total of three hours, and then got up at 5am to explore the mountain.

In the morning we met the sweet man who runs and lives at the property. He opened up the mountain early for us (as we were ready at 5am and I believe he usually doesn’t open it until after 6am.) Pro-tip: he really appreciated us staying outside the property during the night time so if you visit please respect the closed sign! Also the mountain is totally free to visit but there is a donation box available.

How the Mountain got there:

My quick summary follows but if you’d like to read the full story, visit the Mountain’s official site here. When Leonard Knight was 35 years old he accepted Jesus into his life and was forever changed by it. He wanted to share his new love for God with the world but didn’t quite know how. One day in 1970 a hot air balloon caused a huge stir in his town and he realized a hot air balloon could be his way to share God’s message. He tried to make his own hot air balloon but never got it to work, so finally he settled in Imperial county and started to build a small monument. This monument grew into the mountain that it is today and he began to add things like the Hogan, and the Museum. The museum’s colorful boxes are a reflection of the hot air balloon he once wanted to build.

Overall:

This monument is a must for the adventurous or curious. It’s free, open to all, and quite a sight for the eyes. I loved my spontaneous experience there with friends. So glad to be able to check this one off the San Diego bucket list.

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