Oregon Land Art (Sri Yantra)

So, when I was a kid, I had the chance to do some pretty cool stuff that I think helped to inspire me as a traveler. For example, when I was 12, I camped out in the Oregon desert for a couple of weeks while helping my dad and some of his friends build a 1/4 mile design on the floor of a dry lakebed. It was really hard work because we didn't user any machines or special surveying equipment. We spent our serving as human power for the plow (used to make the lines) and lining up flags so that they'd be straight lines. It's a terrible photo, but I'm second from the left.


In the end, though, I'm pretty sure the effort was well worth the time invested. Viewed from the ground, you can see that this was no small feat - we had to draw some pretty big lines!

Desert Sri Yantra 1990: Northern outer gate looking east before completion of gates

From the air, you can see the design fully. It's a Sri Yantra which originated in India and is very beautiful. It was really accurate too because small errors are smoothed out as a result of the large scale involved, possibly making it the most precise version ever to exist.

Desert Sri Yantra from 9000 Feet

We kept the project anonymous and left no traces of us having been there. About 40 days, the Air Force based in Boise, Idaho discovered the design and it became a big mystery - folks on CNN thought it was aliens or special military antennas. The chatter died down pretty quickly though as my father and the rest of the team took credit. That said, there are still folks out there that think it was a big cover up job. One of my favorite quotes is, "why would well dressed men from another state come here and do something like this." As if the way you dress implies something about your sense of adventure...

I know differently. While the design is no longer there it serves as a reminder to me that getting out and doing far out stuff can be a lot of fun and really rewarding as well.

Article by Miles Witherspoon