Our kids are now Arches Junior Rangers, and we've done a good amount of exploring here. It has been very scenic, but the kids wouldn't say it had the most adventure for them. Fortunately, along with the great scenery of Arches, we were also able to have some great adventure.
Two hours from here is Goblin Valley State Park. It is truly in the middle of nowhere, with highway signs that even warn you that there will be nowhere to stop at all for the next 104 miles. Impressive!
We got to Goblin Valley, and I asked the ranger our typical question, "What are the must see and must do things here, when you have four children?" Being an exceedingly helpful ranger, the man said, "Just drive back there. They'll figure it out." It turns out, though, he was right. We drove back, and saw this:
Goblin Valley has so many rock formations to explore, climb, squeeze through, and be photographed. Take any kid here, and he or she will immediately know what to do. There was no hiking path, just an exploration! This was our daughter's favorite park, with all the opportunities to explore and just play.
doesn't this "goblin" look a bit like a dinosaur?
heading towards a cave
E climbing around under the "goblins"
Miss I found this a great place to have a tea party
Later in the week, we went to Mill Canyon. This was BLM land, with only dirt roads, and no one else anywhere around. We came to do the dinosaur trail. Fantastic! The sign said that the dinosaur trail was an extreme experiment. What happens if you leave real dinosaur fossil bones in the canyon wall, right where they were found? Will people destroy them or steal them? I hope that never happens, because it was so cool to be so close up to the dinosaur bones. Signs were posted to tell us which bone and which dinosaur we were seeing. Here's Y pointing at a bone.
Here are some more photos. While the signs talked about vandalism and stealing bones, nothing was mentioned about touching the dinosaur bones, so it was really memorable for the kids to gently touch a dinosaur bone, right where it had been found.
Overall, the kids rated Mill Canyon higher than the Grand Canyon. I see their point. It's so neat to be completely alone in nature, feeling like you're exploring and finding things no one has the chance to see. It was the same at Goblin Valley - so fun to do more exploring in a really remote area. If anyone goes to Utah, we highly recommend all these stops!
Tomorrow, we'll go explore a trail that is supposed to have fossilized dinosaur footprints. I love the variety God created in our country! Rock formations, sand dunes, dinosaur bones, caves, swamps, beaches, canyons, mountains, white water rivers - there's so much variety in this country! How wonderful! We hope you're enjoying your corner of the country, too! Love from the Utter family!!