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We arrived at Goblin Valley on Halloween. That was not planned. It just happened.

The landscape of Goblin Valley is pretty unbelievable. As you approach the park, you can see the looming Wild Horse Butte that dominates the horizon. The campground sits right at the foot of it. During the short fall days, the light is constantly changing, giving new looks to the rocks and cliffs. Sandstone walls give the camping area a sense of protection from the elements. They also provide a pallet for people with high-powered spotlights to illuminate in the darkness. The second night I was there, numerous people were enjoying that activity while I was trying to do night sky photography. According to its website, Goblin Valley is known for its dark skies, perfect for attempts to photograph the stars. I had mixed results.

The goblins of Goblin Valley are stone shapes that resulted from millions of years of geologic history. They are made of Entrada sandstone (debris eroded from former highlands redeposited on a tidal flat). The goblins show evidence of being near an ancient sea with the ebb and flow of tides, tidal channels and coastal sand dunes. Fracture patterns within the sandstone beds create zones of weakness. The unweathered joints intersect to form sharp edges and corners with greater surface-area-to-volume ratios than the faces. As a result, the edges weather more quickly, producing spherical-shaped goblins. This information is from the Goblin Valley brochure.

Whatever caused the stone shapes in the valley, it is well worth it to get down off of the overlook and walk throughout the three valleys of goblins to get an up-close view of the impressive and whimsical rocks.

 

One Comment

  1. The dogs look so strange in that desert environment, but new adventures are for them as well as you.


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