Socially Distant Utah, from Canyonlands to Capitol Reef

We stopped at Lin Ottinger’s Moab Rock Shop on our way out of Moab, where we saw dinosaur fossils and gems from all over the world strewn about dusty shelves both inside and outside the store. A Japanese man interviewed the elderly shop owner as a lighting crew and cinematographer followed. We were just there so my 11yo could get a souvenir gift for his best friend. I picked up petrified wood book ends for my paralegals’ office.

Forty minutes later, we pulled into Dead Horse Point State Park and gazed downward at the horseshoe-shaped canyon where, supposedly, a bunch of horses starved to death many decades ago.

Twelve miles later, we entered my 33rd National Park–Canyonlands. We followed the “island in the sky” hiking trail along the edge of…well, a canyon, and at the bottom of this canyon were additional canyons, and it was like a Canyon Inception that I had zero desire to plummet into.

We stopped at Ray’s Tavern in Green River for burgers along the I-70 before continuing to Goblin Valley State Park, which provided the landscape for the “alien planet” scene in “Galaxy Quest,” which provided great entertainment to my bride and the children, who’ve apparently seen the movie many times and answered my “What do y’all do while I’m in the office all day during quarantine?” question. We watched the sun begin its descent from among rocks shaped like goblins.

After another hour of driving into the evening, we pulled into Capital Reef National Park, where we checked into the Capitol Reef Resort (which sounds fancy but is a series of teepees, covered wagons, or cabins around a grassy area with fire pits). This is an “international dark sky” park, which made stargazing from our cabin extraordinarily awesome.

We had s’mores and enjoyed the Adirondack chairs around the fire pits before going to bed, eager to explore the park for the two days that followed.

One Comment

  1. Deborah Moebes

    Goblin Valley was 100% worth the minor detour. And Canyonlands is WAY under-rated. WAY.

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