Expanding Our Horizon

posted in: Utah 2023 0

Day 11 (Monday, October 16, 2023)

Today’s plan includes a drive west, not all the way to Capitol Reef NP, but into the 4-wheel drive area around the Bentonite Hills. Having seen a vlog post online just shortly before our tip, we knew we had to add these to our sights.

The trek north of Hwy 24 starts out like many other off-road trips, but about a mile in we face – a river. Or maybe only a creek – but definitely steadily flowing water, about 20 ft wide! Kirk backtracks to the last turn and tries another path in the right direction – where we hit the same water, but now we’re behind a Forerunner. We let that truck try its luck in the water crossing first, and after they’ve made it successfully, we follow suit. Phew!

From here on out, it’s a dry drive up into the hills, until after one turn, we find the Bentonite Hills. A landscape as if from a different world (or as the passenger form the other Toyota said: from Star Wars), this area is a must-see if you’re on your way to or from Capitol Reef!

Day 12 (Tuesday, October 17, 2023)

Truck, trailer & travelers are all ready to get back out there – into the wilderness – after 2 nights in Hanksville, UT. We’re not going too far today but explore a new destination: the Goblin Valley State Park.

The park’s campground was all booked up already, but in the park’s expanded areas are plenty of Dispersed Campsites to pick from. And while the one we had been aiming for (dubbed “the patio” by another Vlogger), we actually find an even better one just around the corner – it comes with its own private mini-slot canyon and goblins!

Once all set up, we take the truck to the park’s visitor center and then explore the main sights of the park: the valley of the goblins! Unlike so many other parks or sights, visitors (including dogs) are allowed to walk through/between the goblins, even climb on an dover them! It adds a special connection to the visit – another “plus” in making this one of our new favorite destinations in Utah!

Day 13 (Wednesday, October 18, 2023)

Today we just relax. After all, that’s what we’re here for!

Day 14 (Thursday, October 19, 2023)

After a fairly lazy morning part of the day (well at least for Kirk, while I have to get in a half day worth of work) we decide to go explore some of the off-road paths off the paved road in this western extension of the Goblin Valley State Park.

Checking out the range east of ours, we find a lot of beautiful sites – many taken, some still open – and several campers (including large fifth-wheel oy haulers and bumper pull travel trailers) getting dragged over the very bumpy roads in search of their perfect spot. We head well south, past the park boundary and into the Big and Middle Wild Horse Mesa Wilderness Area. The way back out towards the road leads us through the wash (a mostly dry river bed) that I get to drive, while Kirk flies his drone to follow along.

When it gets dark out here, it is DARK! Even more fun to see two of our “neighbors” (their site is around the next bend) produce a light saber fight on the hill between our sites. Kirk spots them – and starts playing the Star Wars theme to support their efforts! 😊

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