Mesa Arch & Goblin Valley State Park

Trip Start Oct 10, 2012
Trip End Oct 26, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Thursday, October 18, 2012

After spending more time in Canyonlands National Park this morning, and being wowed by Mesa Arch, the highlight of our day was in Goblin Valley State Park. I'm running out of superlatives to describe what we are experiencing here in Utah, and this place left me speechless, possibly the reason this post is a couple of days late.

It’s not that Goblin Valley boasts Utah’s most impressive panoramas. The colors of its formations are definitely not vibrant. We saw no Native American petroglyphs and heard no dramatic stories of pioneer conquests in the face of insurmountable odds. Goblin Valley is simply creation’s playground, a geological funhouse.

Even though we’d researched this place in advance, we were surprised to see, from the parking lot overlook, a valley floor filled with brown, bizarre-shaped, blobs of mud. Harder sandstone on top apparently resulted in the development of these goofy-looking, geological groupings as ancient seas ebbed and flowed, sculpting as if with a silly sense of humor while softer materials eroded away beneath harder brown sandstone.

In our search for a trail through this maze of hardened mud, we worked our way from one valley into the next. Recent rains have left behind isolated pools of water, and we happened upon a tiny trapped bat that caught my attention with his struggles to get free. We scooped him out of the mud with a stick and, in doing so, pulled a pile of the gooey mud with him. His wings and legs remained stuck in the mud we’d scooped with him, so we doused him with several droughts from Denise’s water bottle and left him in the sun to dry. Hopefully, he had enough energy to take flight as the cover of dark returned him to his nocturnal element.

After three hours of exploring and photography, we left the valley, headed for the metropolis of Hanksville, population 219. This won’t be an overnight on our program, but the Whispering Sands Motel served us ably, recharging brains and bodies for more adventure planning in Capitol Reef National Park tomorrow.
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andreatravels on

Amazing photos, Dan--and you haven't even been to Bryce and Zion yet! Utah seems to be another planet in a lot of ways. I will have to go back to Canyonlands one of these days...I seem to have missed a lot of these places.

friesendm on

"Another planet" is how I've been thinking of it too. Seems like it has its own geologic rules to play by.

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