After my debacle in Zion, Goblin Valley was exactly what I needed. Situated out in the middle of nowhere on some road no one cares about near Lake Powell is a modest State Park called Goblin Valley. Even when I lived in Utah I had no clue this place was even a thing and just heard about it through the grapevine. So hell, why not check it out. I cancelled my plans to hit up Bryce Canyon on the way because I was feeling fed up with tourist traps. Thru-hiking definitely spoiled me for the worst.
On the way to Goblin Valley I couldn’t help but notice hundreds of dirt roads branching off the main highway without any indication that it was private property. I’d just become more interested in free camping in areas people typically don’t venture off to, so each one was taunting me: “Pull off the road here! There could be an awesome campsite along this road!”, but I kept going because I’d heard there was also free camping just outside the park.
It was getting dark when I pulled in, and of course the main developed campsite was full. That’s fine because I had no interest. I turned off onto a dirt road and made my way down a bit until I saw a sign informing me I was leaving the park and to stay on established roads. Game time! Every dirt road was an opportunity now, and I took the first one leading towards a city of huge mud spires. To my absolute delight the road ended in a narrow canyon and revealed the absolute best fucking campsite I think I’ve ever seen.
This area was so beautiful that I had no interest in paying money to go into the state park and looking at tiny little mud ‘goblins’, there’s enough to do here. I spent the next few days exploring the area as much as I could, but unfortunately I was hit pretty hard with some lung problem. As far as I know it was bronchitis, but only a doctor could tell me that, and well.. no doctors out here. Not that I’d go if there were, that stuff costs money, yo. Anyways, my body took a huge hit and I spent most of the time sitting in a chair and passing out through the day. There wasn’t much on-foot adventuring taking place, but it was still probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Not everything’s about stomping new ground and conquering shit, sometimes sitting out in the middle of the desert and doing absolutely nothing but staring out at it can be just as rewarding as a long hike.
Goblin Valley absolutely made up for the travesty that was Zion. It was dead silent the whole time, even as people started pulling in with their camping gear. There was however a minor incident where a car pulled up and a kid in the back seat yelled at us for stealing ‘their campsite’. Silly people. Anyways, I’m starting to adapt to living out of a car rather than a backpack. Maybe it’s not as thrilling, but there are some awesome pros to it.
So here’s a little piece of advice: Don’t pay for camping. I mean, unless you want to. It definitely helps fund state/national parks and such, but if you’re on a budget and don’t like crowds, why pay for camping.. Ever? BLM lands rock people, I’m telling you. The only downfall is there’s no water spigot, and no toilet. That’s it. The campsites aren’t any worse when their free, and in fact they are much-much better. You’ll see, I’m about to blow your mind in a couple updates. I’ll also make a post on how to find/access such magical areas when the time comes.