Goblin Valley Nocturnes

In the months since we planned this trip to Goblin Valley, I couldn’t wait to be here at night! I brought a bunch of lenses and different flashlights, and I h...
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In the months since we planned this trip to Goblin Valley, I couldn’t wait to be here at night! I brought a bunch of lenses and different flashlights, and I had a great time playing around. Despite being a bumbling novice with the more technical aspects of a camera, I still came up with some pretty cool shots. We went to the far side of the valley to ensure no one else was around, and it was amazing!

What was not so amazing was that when we headed back to the parking lot in moonless, total darkness, we quickly got lost in the maze that is the valley…I mean, really lost! We came up to a 6 ft deep, canyon-like gulch that snakes throughout that turned us in circles as we kept encountering it, and after the 5th time we decided to just cross it. We then scaled a huge hill, which I figured I could then see the parking lot from…nope, just a 50-60 ft drop with undulating hills as far as the high-powered flashlight would illuminate. We then tried a different direction, but as it turned out was even further away. I called out many times in the hopes someone would flash a light our way…no one, we were totally on our own. Kudus to my wife for not panicking, and for bringing her iPhone even though there was no service. It has a compass, but unfortunately we still had no idea what direction to point it in!

It’s now starting to rain, and all my equipment is killing my shoulders. It’s pretty likely that we aren’t going to die out there, but we’re becoming resigned to the fact that we will have to find a nice, friendly goblin to hunker down with for the night. We climb another hill, and then see a red tail light way in the distance. Hooray, I can set the coordinate on the compass - due north, you effin’ moron!

We now have to climb up and down these huge, slick, mud-covered hills to get there - brutal, and we’re running out of energy ( we had already hiked several miles in the heat to Corona Arch earlier that day). A few hills later, I take a rest and see an animal’s eyes reflecting in my flashlight.They’re really big, and moving toward me…it’s a donkey! No, wait - it’s a person! No, no, it’s my lyin’ eyes…it’s merely a reflector on a metal pole! Finally, I focus my light in the distance and barely make out our car, which thankfully I parked at the far end of the lot closest to where we were or I wouldn’t have been able to see it.

The hills are killing us, so I analyze the way the water run-off is snaking through the bottom and we climb down and start hiking through it. This is kind of scary because a) the power was running down on the iPhone and it’s vital compass, and b) ummm, Holy shit, it’s raining…flash flood??? Even though we’re continually going in different directions, it eventually takes us north. We’re in a huge “V”, and now the bottom gully becomes so thin we can only put one foot in front of the other. I finally see a drainage pipe, and after crawling up the steepest hill yet, I step onto the parking lot - WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I patiently wait for my mud-covered wife to crawl up after me, and wonder how the hell she managed to procure divorce papers in the 90 minutes we were lost :)
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