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Canyonlands and Goblins

September 28, 2013

Utah – Tuesday, September 17

Tula and I took a walk around all the loops of the campground first thing this morning – it was bigger than I thought when I drove in last night. Then we finished the drive to Canyonlands National Park, which is so close to Arches that it seemed silly to not get to that one also. I stopped at the visitor center again for some suggestions about walks, and then set off to enjoy the park. My first walk of the day took me to another Mesa Arch. Even though I’d seen a lot of arches yesterday, this was another pretty one.

Then I drove a bit farther and took a 2 1/2 mile walk out to see the canyons. I was keeping my eyes on a storm moving in, so I didn’t quite do the whole walk – I think it would have been a 3 mile trip if I had. But thunder was rumbling so I turned around. I got rained on a bit, and then the storm seemed to move by south of the park, although it was a bit hazy out.

The best walk in the park was the Rim Walk – at the end of the scenic drive into the heart of the park. The canyons were extensive, and the views were wonderful. The rim walk was about 2 1/2 miles round-trip, and the main observation area was fenced, but then there were no fences or guard rails on the rest of the walk. But there was plenty of room on the rim, and although some people would go near the edge to get photos, it wasn’t dangerous, although I wouldn’t take a young child on the walk! The canyons were carved deep into the ground, sometimes in a very curvy pattern. It was fascinating to see all the shapes and colors of the rocks.

After I had enjoyed all the trails I wanted to in Canyonlands, I had to start thinking about my return route to Salt Lake City – I had to be back there by tomorrow evening because I had a Thursday flight to Seattle. I had 2 donations left to make in Utah, and I knew where they were going, and both of them were back in the Salt Lake City area, so I didn’t make a donation today. I was going to take a bit of a roundabout drive to get back to the city because I wanted to stop by Goblin Valley State Park. After already walking almost 7 miles today, I was happy to sit in the van for a while. I finally got to Goblin Valley State Park, and I asked about camping even though it was a bit earlier than I would usually stop. They were full, although the ranger said I could use one of their parking space campsites, but that wasn’t quite what I had in mind, so I planned to just enjoy the park and find somewhere else to camp. Goblin State Park preserves more rock formations – different from what I’ve already seen. The formations really looked like an army of stone goblins marching across the desert floor – really bizarre! Tula and I went down to walk among all of them, and I just marveled at Mother Nature’s artistry. I’ve seen so much rock the last few days, but it’s all different and fascinating! We enjoyed walking around a bit more, and then I continued along my way. I drove south a bit, past more huge rocks catching the setting sun, and came to the little town of Hanksville. I noticed a small campground behind a local restaurant, and at first I just passed it by. As I drove on, I saw that there was going to be some more amazing scenery which I didn’t want to miss in the dark (bearing in mind how fast it gets dark!) so I went back to the campground and got a spot. To my surprise there were nice showers and a laundromat, so I got laundry done, which I had to do before flying to Seattle anyway. I was glad to get that out of the way. The mosquitoes were kind of bad – I’ve been pretty lucky as far as they go this summer, but I think I was kind of close to a river, and there were a lot of mosquitoes. A truck even went around spraying for them. Depsite the pests, I sat outside with my lantern and took care of some bookwork before turning in.

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