We left Goblin Valley with a promise to ourselves that we would return. This destination deserved more than a day’s exploration. However we had a date with a shower!!!! And the kids had a date with a couple of comfy warm beds instead of the cramped confines of their space blanket lined SUV wayback. That’s right, a hotel! Cate’s stepmom had a bunch of racked up sky miles and offered to get the kids a hotel room for the night! So we all took off for Moab, which was only about an hour and a half away. Our plan was to stay on Dalton Wells Rd where we camped on our maiden voyage. On our way out, we stopped by goblin Valley one more time in order to take some drone footage and utilize the campground sanitary dump.
We merged onto the main highway and soon found ourselves surrounded by a snowy desert landscape, so that’s the way it was going to be!? About 15 miles outside of Moab was the turnoff to Dalton Wells Rd. When we had last visited, several years ago, it was high season, and there were campers scattered around all of the dispersed BLM sites. This time we had the snowy area to ourselves. We picked a site at the bottom of a large outcropping, and began to set up camp.
With camp set and the trailer unhooked we ran into town for some groceries, to make sure the kids had no snags with their hotel, to grab some showers, and drop off some laundry.
The following day Cate woke up early and ventured out into the cold morning twilight to capture some sunrise pictures at Arches National Park..
After checking out of the hotel, Kepler and Mx headed back into the wilds to find us. They drove up to camp on the snowy BLM and started converting the truck from driving mode to camping mode. We hungrily devoured lunch and then the kids and I took off for Arches while Cate watched the Goat and had a paint day. The trails were icy and snowpacked. They were passable, but lacking proper footwear we recalculated and turned it into a driving tour of the far end of the park which was excellent and picturesque. Later we did a few short hikes in the non-snowy parts of the park taking in some iconic formations such as Delicate Arch, Double Arch, and Balanced Rock.
The following day we all piled into the Yukon to head to the Needles section of Canyonlands National Park. Canyonlands is a HUGE 337,598 acre park is divided up into 4 distinct districts. The needles was a 75 mile hour and a half drive from Moab. It was a spectacular drive, we passed a ghost town and stopped at Newspaper Rock, a 200 square foot wall of petroglyphs, some of which are up to 2000 years old.
It was late in the afternoon when we arrived back at camp. Kepler and I were eager to get out of the car, while Cate and Mx wanted to check out Mesa Arch in the Island in the Sky district.
In the meantime Kepler and I decided to explore the outcropping behind our campsite. It was quite the climb and was rewarded spectacular views.
Again, it turned bitterly cold as the sunlight faded and we retreated to the camper to eat, talk about the day’s adventures, and plan our next stop, which would be finding a camp outside of Zion at Sheep’s Bridge.