Little Finland, Nevada – The petrified limbo

Clouds of sand are sweeping over the ground; round dried bushes are rolling over the road. They are called tumbleweed. I couldn’t have thought about a better name. Today, the wind causes havoc and lets us know that it is still winter in Nevada. On our way to Little Finland in the Gold Butte area we pass the nearly 8000 ft high Virgin Mountains, then the Whitney Pocket, red and white sandstone hills that seem to grow out of the green plain, and eventually Devils Throat, a 100 ft deep sinkhole that’s secured with a fence and whose origin is unknown. Joshua Trees and huge cactuses grow here. We find several smooth sandstone walls covered with pre-Columbian petroglyphs. The paved road turns into a gravel road and finally into a wash – check conditions with BLM office in Las Vegas before driving there. Rumours are circulating that the area shall be closed to public access, or it shall be protected as National Monument.

The parking lot for Little Finland or Hobgoblins Playground, as it is also called, lies at the foot of a mesa. Large Californian fan palms cuddle up to the wall, seeking shelter from the roaring winds. Climbing up an ATV-trail at the side of the mesa we are in the middle of a highly eroded rock plateau with a large number of rock remnants. I think I landed in the middle of the purgatory. I recognize monsters, grotesque faces, dragons, and yelling faces. My imagination runs amok. I even reveal Pinocchio, but he shall have lied so much that he probably has to roast for a while in the limbo. An arch formed like a heart promises hope though. An endless number of forms and sculptures were captured by nature into the red sandstone. I could keep rummaging around for hours, if there wasn’t the icy wind. And there is something more that sets me thinking: Many fragments and destroyed shapes crumbled from the rocks, though probably no fault of human’s own for the major part, but of rain and wind – exactly as they were created. But still, there might be some slabs, broken by a thoughtless footstep. Will future generations have the opportunity to see this wonder? Or shall the area be closed, so that nobody can see the goblins any more?

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