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Fondest memory: For a destination that was supposed to be mostly a place to get a shower, we were driving into an incredible landscape and that was saying a lot considering where we had spent the previous month or so. Combing the southwest deserts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah for the previous six weeks, we felt we had just about seen it all when we drove towards an ominous dark sky hanging over Goblin Valley State Park. That foreboding sky seemed to move from us as we neared it and yet another Utah State Park unfolded before us like so many other prizes had. We had stumbled upon them as a place to camp between National Parks and to grab showers while catching some surprisingly stunning scenery. Showers really shouldn't be such an important point but when you have not had one in five days and you've spent those days hiking it seems it is the only thing that matters.
So, after setting up camp right amongst a few goblins in a spot which featured a space-age covered picnic table, we sped over to the showers to enjoy one of life's great pleasures. There are few joys greater than water running across your body after many days without especially in such an arid climate. Freshly scrubbed we returned to our spacy spot but decided to not waste any time and headed off on the Camel Canyon Trail. This 1.5 mile loop would put us into position to view not only the goblins but also Molly's Castle from a different perceptive. There was a fair amount of trudging up some steep hills but soon we found ourselves alone out in the desert once again, enjoying a late afternoon walk and the oncoming of what promised to be some gorgeous glowing light. (concluded below in Fondest Memory)
Written Jul 4, 2009
Fondest memory: The scenery alone would have made this walk well worth while but on heading towards Molly's Castle we noticed something moving not far ahead of us. On closer inspection, it was a lone pronghorn, out to begin his evening feeding now that the day had cooled off somewhat. Surely, he had noticed us before he became apparent to us as though weary he seemed not to be overly worried with our presence. I grabbed a few close-ups without intruding on his territory, thanks in large part to a 450mm lens I was carrying. We walked a bit further towards Molly's Castle but with the sun going down, we wanted to get back to the goblins to capture them in their best light. Our pronghorn friend was still feeding as we walked by and he allowed us an even closer look.
After an amazing photo shoot of the goblins themselves, we hurried back to ground control to wrestle up some dinner. We didn't want to cook in the dark and with such an atmospherically pretty spot, we figured we could enjoy a meal and beer amongst our own goblins. Despite the campground being full, it was quite serene. Our tent glowed as did everything around us. Even with the overwhelming beauty of the landscape, we could not help but think of our pronghorn buddy. We would later learn that pronghorns are the second fastest mammal in the world, after only the cheetah. It's no wonder he feared us not. So, we were just were happy to get a good look at him. But at the time, we liked to think the reason he didn't run was not due to his superior speed but because he wanted to get a better look at us too.
Written Jul 4, 2009
Favorite thing: Showers are available last time I visited. There is a $6.00 fee to enter the park the last time I visited.
Update 2013: The entry fee is now $7.00. Showers are not available to day users, only campers. There are 4 individual shower rooms. My group used all 4 and from what we can tell,, Shower 1 and 3 were the warmest (from left to right, they are not numbered). There is a button to press and the water runs for a few minutes. Just press the button again. There is no limit to how long you can stay in.
Updated May 4, 2013
Favorite thing: There is no trail in Goblin Valley. If you venture down into the Goblins, make sure you stay oriented if you do not have a compass.
Updated May 4, 2013