Goblin Valley State Park has one aspect which separates it from all the other national and state parks we visited. There are no carefully marked paths. There are no no-go areas. You can wander wherever you want, and lose yourself among the fantastic sandstone formations.
It's a fantasy playground for the mind. Every step you take reveals new shapes, new forms, that tantalize the imagination. And just around the next cluster of rocks, who knows what you might discover?
It can get a little lonely here. On the day we visited, most of the people wandered around in the area closest to the parking lot. After the first few minutes, we didn't see anyone for hours. It was just my wife and I, wandering among these fantastic shapes, and enjoying our solitude.
All that freedom and solitude can get a little worrisome, however. Without visible landmarks, and clearly marked paths, we found it hard to find our way back. We wandered through valleys, climbed between formations, and often had to retrace our steps. We climbed up hills, but could see no clear way to return.
We fixed our eyes on a distant hill, and moved steadily in that direction. We followed washes, where the rains had carved deep ruts through the soft earth. We clutched hold of our hats as the afternoon winds whipped at us. We spotted a jackrabbit bounding across the desolate terrain.
Eventually, our sandstone guardians released us. We reached the car, and shook the dirt from our shoes. As we left Goblin Valley, it started to rain. Had we angered those stone guardians by our presence? Had they summoned a storm to send us away?
We were in awe of them, but we were not afraid.
We were never afraid.