Time for the yearly trip to Utah and this time we picked Goblin Valley to explore the State Park and some of the easy slot canyons. Stinger came along with us to celebrate his birthday and Chad met us out there on Friday. Early Thursday morning we had the Yukon so packed full that we had to strap the tarps, chairs, and Miles' bike to the roof. Of course it was snowing in Summit County but we plowed on through with stops in Fairplay, lunch at the Glenwood Brewery, and a break at Green River. After about 9hrs total, we pulled into Goblin Valley, the campground was full but we had directions to another awesome campsite on BLM land right outside of the park next to Wild Horse Butte. We got everything setup and it didn't take long for Denali to be covered in sand, and Miles to have shoes full of sand. Miles kept running back and forth between our tents to climb in and out of them or was chasing a ball around as we would kick it off of the rock walls. Stinger and I got some firewood and we explored the area around camp before cooking up some chili and teaching Miles how to build a campfire. We also taught Miles how much fun it is to pee outside while camping! Lots of laughs around the campfire and off to bed during the chilly night. 

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Miles was awake at 5:30am on Friday and so excited to wake up in a tent. He immediately jumped up and ran over to Stinger's tent yelling "wake up Stinger!". We made some awesome breakfast scramblers and warmed up as the sun hit our camp. We drove the few miles into Goblin Valley and walked all around the stone gnomes that looked like mushroom rocks plopped all over the valley floor. Really cool stuff and ya just wander around where ever you want to. We convinced Miles that we were hunting for "desert chickens" and every time Stinger made a strange noise Miles would perk up then look behind the rocks for them. Up, over, and around the giant rock playground for a couple hours then back to camp. 

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Jean went off for a bike ride and Miles took a nap in the warm afternoon. Stinger and I drove down to Hanksville to get more ice as Chad was on his way. After he showed up, we hung out for a bit then did the short drive to the Little Wild Horse Canyon trailhead. We took our good ole time walking up the canyon as the dogs hid in the shade. There was one tricky ~6' cliff to get around, we helped the dogs up/down and scrambled up ourselves. At the split of Bell Canyon and Little Wild Horse we turned up Little Wild Horse and soon the walls got taller and more narrow. Miles was having a blast picking up rocks and sticks and walking through the rock tunnels. Here we saw "Stinger's future" which lead to laughs and jokes for the rest of the weekend. The next section was narrow and twisted back and forth. Really cool! We turned around after this since Miles had a load in his shorts, the dogs were pretty warm, and Stinger was turning purple from sunburn. 

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Back at camp we played wiffle ball for hours, since we didn't have any balls we made some out of paper towels wrapped in aluminum foil. For shade we rigged a tarp between the Yukon and the rock wall then grilled hotdogs and brats for dinner. We told stories around the campfire and laughed the night away as Jean diagnosed Stinger as being "morally bankrupt". 
Saturday morning was omelets and scramblers again then we headed off to Crack Canyon. This took a little longer to get to but gave us more ideas for campsites on future trips and led us through the desert on some 4x4 roads. Surprisingly it was a little cool and some clouds were off in the distance. Of course we kept flash floods in mind but never felt more then a few sprinkles of rain. At the 4x4 trailhead we walked the short distance to where Crack Canyon starts. Right off the bat there's a small dry waterfall and the canyon walls shoot way up into the sky. It was easy to jump down or hike around. Soon after is a "subway section" which was really cool. The dogs were enjoying the cool weather and Miles loved playing around on all the rocks. Most of the rock walls through here were pock-marked with holes and pockets of all shapes and sizes. Jean and Miles hung back while the rest of us went ahead to the second section of narrows. These were only a few feet wide and there was a big chockstone called "the slide" to get past to continue down. Denali and I jumped right down while Stinger and Chad stayed back with the dogs. Continuing on was awesome! Narrow walls that twist around and lead to a much wider sandy wash. I turned around here then stayed with Miles as Jean went down to check it out. 

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Back to the trucks for a beer, then back to camp. Miles watched movies in the tent while the rest of us hid in the shade and played wiffle ball some more. The wind picked up at times and was blowing sand all around, but it wasn't long before the sun was back. I scrambled up the cliff behind our camp to have a look around. The rock is barely held together by mud and its cool to see all the different layers.
Throughout the afternoon we tried to figure out how much it would cost to ship Stinger's body back to Philly and whether or not he would have to go via plane, train, or boat. We also came up with a new nickname for Chad... Mr Belvedere. Our other topic of deep discussion was why Stinger's tongue is so swollen. Spaghetti and meatsauce for dinner that night and once again, lots of laughs and stories around the campfire. Miles chased Stinger and I around while we pretended to be World War II fighter pilots shooting at him, good technique to thoroughly wear him out before bedtime! Sunday morning came way too fast and we packed up and headed out of camp knowing we had a long ride home. As usual, everything is covered in sand, but its a great reminder of what a fantastic camping trip this was!

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