Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Goblin Valley and Capitol Reef

Before I start in with this post, I feel I'd be remiss if I didn't at least mention the fact that I raced on a 4-man 24 Hours of Moab team a couple weekends ago. Rather than go into a whole lot of detail, I'll sum it up by saying it was a whole lot like last year (kick-A team, kick-A time, etc.), with the exception of a couple things: 1) overall, we were 1 lap faster than last year; and 2) we didn't win like we did last year... in fact we just missed the podium, despite our best efforts with regards to item 1. The competition was deep this year.

After abandoning my wife and kids over Moab weekend, I decided it was my turn to take a pull (a rarity for me, as those who have ridden with me know). I loaded up the kids and headed south for a camping trip (and let me just say that my 15-year-ago-self would be extremely disappointed by the amount of crap I now load up for a simple camping trip).

First stop was Goblin Valley. The last time I went to goblin valley was about 18 years ago. When I last went, there was no paved road, no pavilion, and especially no people. Back then, we road our mountain bikes down into the valley and did wall hits on the "goblins." I'm not sure if riding in the valley was against the "rules" at that time, but there certainly wasn't anyone around to bother us about it.

A lot has changed since then, likely because of those idiots who post about their Goblin Valley trips on their Webernet blogs. Oh wait... Um, anyway, during this weekend's visit, instead of a deserted valley, there was a group of BYU students playing a game of ultimate Frisbee in one of the clearings (not clear enough though, as evidenced by the twisted ankle suffered by one of the participants):

There were also sun bathers (I guess the crutches kept her out of the ultimate Frisbee game, so she had to find something else to do, since the landscape is so mundane/non-scenic):

Regardless of the number of people, Goblin Valley remains one of the coolest places on earth. Especially for kids. The perfect spot for a game of hide-and-seek... well, it's perfect until your 3-year old finds a hiding spot that's so good that you start considering enlisting the help of others or calling search and rescue to help find him.

Goblin Valley is a freaky place:

On the recommendations of Jeff and Jason, we hit Little Wild Horse Canyon on day two. Between Goblin Valley and Little Wild Horse, the area can best be described as nature's playground for kids.

Little surfer dude riding the stone waves:

After I carried my daughter across the water, I turned around to grab my boy and, well... so much for having dry shoes for the rest of the trip:

And then onto Capitol Reef National Park. Somehow, in all of my trips down south, I had never visited Capitol Reef, other than a quick drive through the Southern section during a trip across the Burr Trail 15 years ago. Unfortunately rain was threatening the entire day, so we had to avoid some of the more remote slot canyons, but we did see some decent scenery:

... and hiked out to a deserted arch/bridge (what's the difference anyway?)

Capitol Reef offers some big views:

Capitol Reef seems like it has a bunch of ignored bits of goodness. A lot of trails and canyons that are off the beaten path. I've been dabbling in running this past month, and seeing all of these unknown (and unrideable) trails on a map motivates me to get to the point where I can head down and bust out a 10-15 mile trail run to see some places that I've never been before, without requiring a pack and sleeping bag to pull it off. The main thing holding me back from getting to that point in my running is that I'm having a tough time kicking this biking habit. Speaking of which, I'll see you at Fall Moab this weekend: