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Tag Archives: Utah

We’ve been home for over two weeks now and I’ve finally finished editing the 4000+ raw image files I brought back with me. The girls are still anxious to get in the car and go places. I thought maybe they would be tired of travel but no, anytime, anywhere, they are ready. They were great traveling dogs. They got along with everyone they saw on the trail and in the campgrounds and everyone that met them said they were well-behaved dogs and SOOO good looking. We all kept each other warm during the long cold nights, piled up under wool blankets and down comforter.

The car and the tent trailer worked well for over 4000 miles and I was happy to have a trouble-free trip. People worried about me traveling alone (what? dogs don’t count?) but we never had any problems along the way. No one ever stepped on a cactus or got bit by snakes. Good luck? Good karma? It all just felt right. And the endless sunny days and star-filled nights. Oh my.

My favorite part of the trip was all of the hiking in Utah. It was fabulous and really, I only just touched the surface of the places I visited. There is so much more to see.

I had intended to take selfies all along the way but I only managed one. It was at Fisher Towers.

And this is my last photo from Utah. Morning over Canyonlands.

The landscapes of the southwest are expansive and sometimes, you need to travel by car in order to begin to take it in. These images are from the scenic byway – highway 95, the Moki Dugway and the Valley of the Gods.

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.

 

Have you ever seen photos of slot canyons in the southwest? The beautiful rock and narrow passageways are beyond belief. These tunnels through the rock are formed by erosion over the eons. And during a rain event, you certainly would not want to be in one. I was lucky with the weather. During October, southeast Utah received over four inches of rain! While I was there, there was not one drop of precipitation. However, the dogs were lucky to find puddles or small streams of water on most of our hikes, left over from the previous month’s rainfall. I did always carry water for them but they seldom needed it.

The two slot canyons featured here are near the Goblin Valley State Park (more on that later) where we camped for two nights. The canyons, Bell and Little Wild Horse form a loop. They are located on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands and dogs are allowed. In fact, these were rated as dog-friendly. And I suppose if I had smaller dogs or if I had a human hiking partner, maybe we would have gone further and made the entire loop. As it was, we came across obstacles that were four feet or more and I had to assist Luna a couple of times and catch Sky once before she fell backwards. But what really stopped us in Little Wild Horse Canyon was a rock wedged in the slot. I would have had to go under it or clamber over it and who knows what other obstacles I might find past that one. You can see Sky crouch to get under it and the photo is deceptive and doesn’t really show how high it was. Oh well. We had gone quite a ways and turned back to explore Bell Canyon. Again, there were four-foot obstacles but then we came to one that was five feet or so and I could not imagine lifting both of my 63 pound dogs over it and then hefting myself over it too. Later I found out that were obstacles as high as eight feet!

Slot canyons are a test of my claustrophobic inclinations. I generally avoid closed-in areas. I was mostly ok with these canyons since I could often see the sky above me. However, near that wedged rock, the canyon was very narrow and dark. It was fun and stunningly beautiful. And the cottonwood trees were so beautiful.

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