Destination: Goblin Valley and the Reef

Sensational Geology!

Goblin Valley      San Rafael Reef      Little Wild Horse Canyon

Goblin Valley State Park and Little Wild Horse Canyon are two natural playgrounds for kids! The geologic formation of these places set imagination spinning.  The San Rafael Reef in the same area is also an amazing rock wall tilted to almost vertical position!

Family Trip--Little Wildhorse Canyon1

Top Row: Hoodoos (geologic term) found in Goblin Valley State Park
Bottom Row: Uplifted rock to almost vertical position is called San Rafael REEF, near Goblin Valley.

We have had a great time at Goblin Valley with the kids by dividing into two groups and playing hide and seek, using two way radios to give clues as to where you are hiding, because it is a large are full of funny-looking formations. It’s also fun to look at the hoodoos and tell what they look like to each person. We’ve found turtles, horses, elephants, etc. Fun!

Goblin Valley is a campground with restrooms and campsites with fire pits, etc.  It’s not easy to get a spot there, however. Behind the San Rafael Reef, close by Goblin Valley are many good primitive camp spots. We camped up against the hill. In this same area is a narrow slot canyon named Little Wild Horse Canyon that is a super fun place to explore!

Family Trip--Little Wildhorse Canyon

All photos are different areas of Little Wild Horse Slot Canyon.

It is a fairly easy hike, even tiny kids can do it (see bottom right photos–she’s two and a half. The canyon is full of pockets, holes, and twists and turns. It’s like exploring a basement hallway in the San Rafael Swell. Crazy fun! The spring a this year–a few weeks ago–there was knee deep water in part of it that you had to wade through. That was even more fun!

 

Destination: Moab and Arches

Sego Canyon and Arches

We actually started this family gathering in Green River and stayed in a motel there. It is an hour away from Moab. The first day we hiked to some Native American Rock Art sites in Sego Canyon near Green River. Dinner, of course, was a burger at the famous Ray’s Tavern.

Sego Canyon

Sego Canyon is filled with many types of rock art. On top of a rock are footprints (top left); Grinding stone grooves  in the rock that was once lying flat (top right); Petroglyphs and Pictographs; and a ghost town as well.

The next morning we drove to Moab. Some of the family went  on some trails with ATVs. The rest of us shopped and went sight-seeing, and visited all of the art galleries. In the afternoon we visited Arches National Park.

Family Trip--Arches1

Top Row L-A small arch in the park; C-Hiking up the solid rock; R-Hiking to Delicate Arch. Bottom Row–Hiking to Delicate Arch–a pretty long hike, but so worth it!. R-Our ballerina daughter-in-law did some poses for me under the arch.

There are several arches to see, and we love to hike, so we trekked  to the farthest, and most famous–Delicate Arch. Everyone in the world should see this national park! Amazing formations, and amazing views!!

Destination: Black Dragon

Black Dragon Canyon– Camping/Hiking

We have been hiking and camping in the San Rafael Swell so many times and have seen so many parts of it, that I would say we have seen about all of it, except that is impossible to do in one lifetime! We had hiked the canyon rocks before, but an old timer told us there was a cave up behind the boulders, so we went searching. My husband and I found it, but it was so full of soft dirt and dust that we thought when we brought our whole family back, we needed to put masks on them (middle right).

Family Trip--Black Dragon1

The cave is exciting to find. It takes some searching. There is only a small opening that you have to stoop to fit into (bottom right looking from the bottom of the cave up to the opening). The cave is so deep and dark that we all had headlamps (bottom left).   The ceiling and floor are lit up by the flash, and you can get the perspective. There is plenty of other wonderful sites to see in this high rock walled canyon (top left) like pictographs (top right). The Black Dragon pictograph here has been enhanced. It is very faded. It is a fun place to go, and there are lots of camping sites close by, and many other sites–see Goblin Valley and the Reef

Destination: Joe’s Valley

Joe’s Valley ATV Trails

We rented four wheelers for everyone and went up to Joe’s Valley on the trails there.  There are plenty of places to camp, and the trails go on and on. Besides four wheeling, there is bouldering, fishing, hiking, and lots of pretty mountain scenery!

Family Trip--Joe's Valley four wheeler

It rained for a bit, but that just made mud and what is more fun to drive through than mud? Everyone had a great time and wanted to do it again! This is the family reunion that the kids talk about the most.

Cost:

ATVs – $80.00 each at Extreme Adventure Rentals in Castle Dale, UT

We got a break on the cost because we rented so many (7); and since it was a Saturday we were able to keep them until Monday!

 

Destination: Huntington State Park

Huntington  State Park

When it was my turn, I brought the reunion close to my home. I live in Emery County. My mom was born in Huntington, so, but we never lived there as a family. I reserved campsites for everyone at Huntington State Park. It is a reservoir that is close to the town of Huntington, so it is not high in the mountains and has warmer water than most lakes. There are bathroom facilities with showers at this park.  We put up more shade so we could gather together for meals and games (bottom left).

Family Reunion--Huntington Lake Reunion1

We rented two Wave Runners from Provo (today prices start at about $500.00 a day). We all took turns on them, and it worked out great!  A friend brought horses for those who wanted to go on a horseback riding trip (top right). We visited the local cemetery where many of our ancestors are buried. Mom talked about her memories of Huntington.

Friday night we attended the Castle Valley Pageant nearby, which tells the story of the settlement of Emery County. We ordered pizza for everyone and took them with us (bottom right). You can also buy food at the  concession stands.

Ben's photos

Pre-show Activities on the set of the Pageant. Kids riding in wagons; fiddlers playing outside a dugout; crowd gathering in the audience seats; there are quilters, a blacksmith, a maker of toys, etc. fun!

 

At the pageant, as you wait for the sun to go down, there is a pioneer village that you can walk through and see how life was lived back in the 1800′s. They watch a Blacksmith make horseshoe rings, and each of the kids get one; they can ride in a covered wagon, etc. It is the a great pageant, the only one that uses live animals.