Goblin Valley State Park

Leslie wanted to visit Capitol Reef National Park on our way home and I readily agreed because it is one of the parks in Utah that I have never seen before. On our way there I saw a sign giving the mileage to Goblin Valley State Park, a park that I had heard about two years before but didn’t have time to visit that trip. Since it was only 21 miles off our route, I thought it would be a good idea to stop. I’m glad I did; the park was nearly amazing as it had been described.

There were even some amazing sights on the 21 mile route. I think this must have been the Goblin’s Castle


Just before the park entrance we saw some Goblin scouts.

From the parking lot the Valley of the Goblins reminded us of the Terra Cotta warriors found in Emperor Qin's Tomb

I am glad we visited the site in the daylight because I imagine the weird shapes could become terrifying monsters in the dark.

Canyonlands’ Island in the Sky

Canyonlands NP, at least the Island in the Sky portion of the park, is just up the road from Arches NP. I’ve been there before, but since Leslie hadn’t been we decided to spend an afternoon there before heading out to Goblin Valley and Capitol Reef NP.

Island in the Sky provides completely different views than Arches. Instead of looking up at remarkable rock structures, you stand on top of them or look down at them. In that sense, it reminds me of the North Side of Grand Canyon.

While there’s much that’s impressive, I’ve always been drawn by the road that drops down into the canyon.

Leslie made it pretty clear that if I ever do drive it that I’ll have to drive it by myself.

Still, it’s hard not to be drawn to a road that seems to lead to nowhere, or, perhaps, into a distant past.

For some, it’s apparently enough just to stand

on the edge without descending into the belly of the beast.

It’s hard to believe that ancient natives could survive here

though petroglyphs testify otherwise.

A Last Glance at Arches NP

Considering how spectacular Arches National Park is, it’s clear we’ve never spent the time there that it really deserves, even though we saw more on this trip that we’ve ever seen before. For instance, I don’t think we had ever seen Wolfe Ranch; I’m sure I would have remembered if I’d been there before. This is actually the second house on the ranch; this was the first one. Apparently it isn’t only the trees that persevered. If we had had more time, we would probably have walked to Delicate Arch, one of the most photographed arches in the Park. Instead, we drove up the road to a scenic turnout and used my 100-400mm lens to get this shot of Delicate Arch. On our way out we stopped and took a short hike to this rock formation where we were surprised to by long, narrow passages through the rocks. The most popular activity in the park, at least when we were there, was obviously biking, but I suspect the activities are only limited by your imagination, though I would never, ever dream of doing this kind of adventure.

Lost and Found

As I was writing yesterday’s blog entry it occurred to me that I was missing a couple of shots I had taken at Arches NP. I was doubly convinced that I must have taken them when I saw Leslie’s shot of me walking toward the arch with my camera slung over my shoulder. However, being convinced didn’t help me find any such shots. After an extensive search, I concluded I must have somehow deleted them while transferring them from the camera to my laptop to my desktop computer.

Although I wouldn’t be posting all these shots on the web without modern cameras, computers and programs, I find the constant changes that are part and parcel of upgraded technology confusing and irritating. Before I left, I upgraded all the software on my laptop, and several programs were changed.

In the past I've stored photos from a trip on the desktop of my laptop because they’re easier to find there at the end of the trip. Apparently the new Mac OS changed the settings on my computer and tried to load all the photos stored on the desktop to iCloud and immediately ran out of room and sent warnings to my iPhone that I had exceeded my limit and they would delete my photos in the next 30 days. Not wanting them deleted and not knowing how many photos hadn’t been uploaded, I downloaded my photos directly to the hard drive. Apparently in the process I duplicated some of them.

It didn’t help that Adobe decided to change Lightroom to Lightroom Classic and introduce a new Lightroom CC that would also store all your photos in the Cloud (and charge you another 10 dollars a month to do so.) Small wonder that ended up with some photos in folders and others left out. With over 2,000 photos the last thing I needed was duplicates.

I resolved that I would spend the morning deleting duplicates and consolidating folders. That’s a lot easier said than done when you’re dealing with several thousand files, and their accompanying sidecar files generated by Lightroom and Photoshop. After several hours, though, I found the lost files that hadn’t been accidentally deleted after all.

I think they’re better than the ones I posted yesterday,

particularly this one with the man standing inside the arch, revealing just how immense the arch is.

Arches National Park

We headed for Arches National Park after our last weekend in Broomfield and arrived around 4 P.M, too late to start a tour of the park with the ongoing construction. Luckily, the decision to look for a campground early resulted in a prime spot not too far from the park entrance.

Nothing like waking up in a gorgeous canyon with the Colorado River running next to your camp site.

Though it’s known for it’s beautiful arches, there’s a lot more to the Arches NP than

arches. In fact, one of the first stops features this breath-taking canyon that brings back memories of the John Wayne movies of my childhood.

As attractive as the sweeping vistas are, my camera was also drawn to trees that could easily have been created by a bonsai master.

Leslie commented that the strangely beautiful rocks made her wish that she had taken courses in geology in college.

Luckily, you don’t have to be a geologist to appreciate their beauty.

We were nearly half way through the park before we saw our first arch. It was a bit of a walk, but well worth effort,

especially since the same walk led to a second, if somewhat smaller, arch.

Hiking Near Broomfield

Although things were a little hectic in Broomfield on our visit, we did manage to get in a couple of walks and take advantage of the beautiful weather and observe a new ecosystem. Prairie dogs are common in Broomfield, but I was amazed how long these two held their pose for me

until I realized that there had to be another reason for the pose. Sure enough, a Red-Tailed Hawk circled overhead.

I also managed a nice shot of this Red-shafted/Yellow-shafted intergrade, an increasingly common cross between a Red-Shafted and Yellow-Shafted Flicker.

We got our longest, and toughest, walk/hike in the last day we were there, and I spent most of the day watching the girls/dogs/Tyson lead the way.

Despite some recent snow, the area reminded me a lot of Indian Heaven in early Fall with its palette of brightly colored foliage and scattered trees,

though the distant rocks made it clear we were hiking just outside Boulder, Colorado,

part of the Rockies.

A Visit toSanta Fé

If you’ve followed this blog for very long, you’re probably aware that I’m not fond of cities, with the possible exception of Seattle. Needless to say, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Santa Fé. It certainly didn’t hurt that Greg took us on a tour. I’m sure it would have been a very different experience if we had just visited on our own.

Although we saw a very small portion of the area, I was impressed by how many homes and businesses had adopted the traditional adobe style, like the El Dorado Hotel.

Our tour also doubled down on visiting Catholic churches with a stop at The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. Religious or not, it’s impossible to deny that religions have inspired artists.

Considering how many adobe churches we had seen since entering New Mexico, it seemed a little strange that this church was built in the Romanesque Revival style. One of the guides told us that he cathedral was built by Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy on the site of an older adobe church.

We also stopped at Loretto Chapel which featured this famous spiral staircase which seems to lack any central support.

As a semi-serious woodworker, I’ll have to admit that I was awed by the skill it took to build this.

Apparently this church was also commissioned by Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy,

and was inspired by a famous French church. French or not, this simple, yet over-the-top, altar struck me as truly beautiful.