Goblin Valley SP

Very nice State Park with unique other worldly geography.

Wow, what a great one night stop! It was hard to get reservations at this place and I can see why. There are only 27 sites and there is a lot to see. I was in it for seeing where “Galaxy Quest” shot the scenes with pig lizard and Gorignak. Turns out there are people out there who actually took the time to match movie backdrops to the exact locations inside the rocky valley where the actors stood. I feel more nerdy knowing that is a thing, but also more sane knowing it wasn’t me.

To start the day, we had to bid farewell to Linda with dogs, who is making a beeline for home. Just too much crazy for one trip and we wish her safe travels and less tight quarters when she gets home. We hit the road with a shopping stop planned in Green River. This is about the only town along that stretch of highway 70 and it’s not much to speak of. We did find an adequate grocery store so that we were ready to head into the 24/12 national park extravaganza.

Gorignak’s home planet. Also home to Pig Lizard. RIP.

After about twenty miles down highway 24, I dropped Richard at the start of Temple Mountain Road so he could ride it, and then headed up to the park. He rolled in with enough time for us to go check out the “goblins” in Goblin Valley before dinner. This area is a geological oddity in its unique mix of silt and sandstone deposits. The erosion that has taken place in this valley produced hoodoos unlike any others. The big bulbous spherical rocks that sit atop delicate and fast eroding bases do in fact resemble fantastical creatures. And there is a whole army of them all assembled in one place where you can walk among them freely. It’s very surreal and looked like a fake set someone threw together and left behind.

We went back for a Blue Apron “Togarashi Chicken” dinner and I opted to cook indoory in Dory, since the wind was picking up. I can now give a full review of the new Suburban stove and I totally love it. The flame is more even and the dial is way more sensitive, allowing me to really control the cooking temperature. The rice was the best I’ve ever made while camping and did not boil over. And the chicken tenders cooked to perfection without creating smoke. I had come to just accept that cooking inside meant smoke, to the point that we always removed the “cooking timer” (aka smoke detector) and ran the ceiling fan full blast before starting. There just wasn’t any smoke this time and I attribute that to the lower and more even flame. The stove also starts more easily with a better ignition switch. I am super happy about it.

Beautiful desert sunset.

After dinner, we went out to the trail for the “Three Sisters” to watch the sunset. It was a toss up for a while whether the sun would get blocked by clouds, but instead we got a full show. It was one of the more beautiful sunsets I’ve seen and it was made even more picturesque with the backdrop of these iconic hoodoos. I took a lot more pictures than I’m posting.

The wind had been increasing since the afternoon, but instead of dissipating, it had grown alarmingly. Wind is not my favorite towing weather and I was wondering when it was going to let up. After the sunset, we went over to the Goblin Valley overlook and picnic table area, the one place anywhere where you can get any cell service, and Richard looked into weather forecasts. It said the wind advisory was going to last until around 10am the next morning. So it seemed like if we killed some time with a morning hike, we might miss some of it. We were wrong, but the hike was fun.

We did the “Carmel Canyon” trail right after coffee and shower. The 1.5 mile loop takes you through a deep valley with a short stretch of slot canyon. The descent down to the canyon floor was steep and a little slippery with sand on sandstone underfoot, but I scooted down on my butt in some places and made it around the loop like a boss. A slow, butt scooting boss!

Carmel Canyon looking like it’s dripping with carmel.

We then got in our last cell service fix and found out the wind was going to last until 10pm. If anything, the gusts were getting stronger. Like actual dust storms were forming and everything was getting covered in fine red sand. At least we would not be driving busy highways, so we packed up and planned to just go slow. We filled the fresh water tank in Dory and did not dump the waste tanks so that she would have more weight to counter the wind buffeting.

Stay tuned to hear about how it went. Next stop: Capitol Reef National Park!

Total miles: 112.9, 17.7. Site 22 – handicap site and we called to see if that was ok. It is, as long as there is nothing else available when you make the booking. No hookups. Good dump station with both rinse water and potable water. Only place with any kind of cell service is at parking area shade cover for the valley. Vault toilets at parking area and regular bathrooms in campground. Not sure about showers. It has been a long time since we’ve been in a campground bathroom at all. Nice shade covers and picnic tables at the sites with wind panels, but it depends which direction the wind is coming from if they work.

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