Thursday, November 8, 2012

Moab Trip--Day 1: Elk, San Rafael Swell, & Goblin Valley

Last weekend we took a three-day trip, with Moab as our main destination. I had signed up for a 5k Adventure Race, part of the Moab Trail Marathon race. My husband agreed to take three whole days off. That might not sound like much to some; I work with a bunch of people who regularly have three days off each week. But for us, three whole days together is quite an occasion. So I started planning early, bound and determined to make the best of those three days. I looked through guidebooks and trolled the Internet looking for the best things to do and places to go.
Not far out of town, we came across something I hadn't planned for. We saw a big bunch of beasts out in the distance. Were they wild horses? No, that didn't seem right. They were elk. Totally unexpected, as we had never seen them there before. Fortunately I had my camera handy, and we pulled over to the side of the road to watch them.
The elk started running. Where were they going?
Towards a herd of pronghorn. Oh my goodness, it was like Wild America right in our backyard. Wow!
We passed several more herds of pronghorn--probably 40 to 50 in total. My husband reminisced about how few pronghorn he saw as a little boy. The population sure has increased since then.

The first hour and a half of driving we were with my brother and his friend. She was having some car troubles and we wanted to make sure they made it okay. It was a good thing we did, as her car broke down and we had to give it a jump. Fortunately that allowed them to get to a bigger town where they could get replacement parts. We bid adieu and headed our different directions. Soon we were on I-70, heading across the middle of Utah. We needed a stretch break at one point, so we pulled off at one of the many rest stops along the scenic San Rafael Swell.
It was hard not to take off hiking down in the beautiful country! The agreeable temperatures made it even more appealing. Desert Boy was full of energy, so we climbed around a bit.

Don't fall!

It made me want to climb so much! But I had decided climbing wasn't on the agenda for this trip, at least not technical climbing. We had other things to do and places to go. The next was Goblin Valley State Park, about 40 minutes off the Interstate. I had seen the signs several times, but never had taken the time to visit. This time we were going.
Here's the view from the parking lot. It looks like a lot of little gnomes. If it looks slightly familiar, it might be because a scene from the movie Galaxy Quest was filmed here.

I told Desert Boy we could play Hide-n-Seek, and he took off running.

Where are you, Desert Boy?
It was a good game, and as we were visiting off season, we had it nearly to ourselves. Plus we were perfectly comfortable in jeans and shirts.

Desert Boy took a photo of us. We are trying to be better about getting family shots, and I realized we should try for a few couple shots, too.

Amid all the dry, desolate goblins we found one little muddy pool. The kids wanted to know how deep it was. I told them they could, but they weren't allowed to fall in.

This was their solution. It fit with the little chant they say frequently: "What's going to work? Teamwork. What's going to work? Teamwork." It is always music to my ears.
Goblin Valley State Park has three fairly short trails. I think we were on part of one for a little while. I would love to go back and do more. We drove through their campground and found that the campsites are not only located in a great location, but the campground has showers! That made us want to go back even more. A few amenities while camping are highly desirable to this family! Plus I would love to go hiking around the goblins under a full moon.

Our day wasn't finished--my Internet research had revealed a nearby slot be continued...


jhami said...

Wonderful photos! That's it! I'm going to go to Goblin Valley for sure sometime! Very cool!

I Am Woody said...

I have always wanted to visit that place!

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