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Published: August 10th 2006
Goblin Valley State Park - Goblins
These are the rock formations that the park is named after.
The past two days have certainly been chock full -o- scenic goodness! We left our campsite in Moab and made a stop in at Wicked Brew Coffee Drive Through to load up on our favorite caffeinated beverages before hitting the road. The highways we traveled through Utah had great views out every window. The speed limit was 75 and the roads were empty so between our many stops for pictures we were able make great time across the state (staying within the speed limit of course!).
Our first stop on Tuesday was Goblin Valley State Park. The main features of this park are amazing mushroom-shaped rock formations that are referred to as “goblins.” Walking among them truly feels like navigating a martian landscape! We decided to brave the afternoon heat and sun for a quick 1.5 mile hike which lead us through the goblins, out to a great view of a rock formation called Molly’s Castle, and up a slot canyon before returning to the parking lot. We considered staying the night but decided that the heat would probably get to us by the end of the day. On the way out of the park we spotted a Pronghorn Antelope
Goblin Valley State Park - More Goblins
Johanna and Aaron seek shade for lunch.
grazing near the road! This park is a must-see if you ever happen to be traveling through the middle of nowhere in Utah!
We continued down Utah’s lonely roads until we came to Capital Reef National Park. We had planned to pass through this park rather quickly, but ended up needing to stop often to take pictures of the incredible scenery. Every corner revealed a new and different view. The air in this park is said to be the cleanest in America with visibility well over 100 miles. We were pleasantly surprised after rounding one turn to find a fruit orchard where you could pick your own fruit and pay on the honor system.
Next we drove through the Grand Staircase National Monument. The panoramic views were quite dramatic - as were the steep cliffs next to the road! Johanna began to get a little car sick but quickly recovered upon arriving at our final destination for the day: Bryce Canyon National Park.
We quickly set up camp and rushed over to Sunset Point for a view of the Bryce Amphitheater Hoodoos lit up by the setting sun. Unfortunately we were a few minutes too late for
the perfect view. This helped us decide to stay in the park for another day and another chance at a sunset viewing. Later that night, we got a different and more rare view when we went back to view the Amphitheater under a full moon. Aaron was able to play with the settings on our camera to take a few pictures that come close to showing just how dramatic the view was.
As for the next morning, an alarm had been set in an effort to rise at 5:00am to see sunrise in the Amphitheater, but it somehow failed to go off. This was probably a blessing as the skies were quite overcast. Yup, another day of rain. Luckily the clouds parted a little after noon allowing us to explore the park and its many overlooks. Around 2pm we departed on a 4-mile hike down into the hoodoos of the Amphitheater. We were disappointed to find that one of the most photographed slot canyons in the park (Wall Street) had recently suffered a cave in and was blocked off. We did our best to see the trees growing in that slot and then followed a different route back up
and out of the canyon. With about a mile and a half left, the skies once again darkened and began to rumble. Yup, storm time. Luckily the storm seemed to stay in the distance and the rain was minimal…but it was still a bit unnerving!
After returning to the car, we decided to clean up and get dinner. Johanna requested pizza, and since delivery was not an option and a pit fire does not cook pizza very well, we headed just outside the park to a diner.
On the way back into the park we decided to give Sunset Point one more chance. Everything worked out this time! The clouds parted and we got the sunset view that we had been looking for!
Tomorrow we plan to head into either Zion National Park or to the Grand Canyon depending on which site has the best weather. No doubt, we will probably bring a few clouds with us given our track record. That’s ok though - we haven’t melted yet.
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