July 18, 2011 Boulder, UT to Hanksville, UT

We have got to get our sleeping patterns straightened out. This morning we are up at 5 AM again! After making ourselves some breakfast and packing up our tons of stuff, we make it out the door around 8 AM. It is supposed to be hot today and we want to beat the heat to the places we are visiting.

The first thing we do is head towards Capitol Reef National Park. To get there you have to traverse Boulder Mountain. This road was not fully paved until 1985. It is very rugged and high, probably about 10,000 feet. Cows and deer are meandering on the road. We stop at an overlook where we can see the canyonlands that we traveled through yesterday and the Henry Mountains, the last mountain range in the lower 48 states to be mapped and named. There’s no heat up here. The temperature hovers around 60.

Mary at the overlook

Then down the mountain and into Capital Reef National Park.
John at Capitol Reef National Park

The landscape is a jumble of rock spires and striated chocolate covered walls. Unfortunately there is major construction going on which limits what can be seen and also a threat of thundershowers and flash floods which limits sightseeing even more.
Chocolate colored walls

After the usual picnic lunch, we drive to Goblin Valley State Park. Our GPS wants to send us down a sketchy looking dirt road. We decide (wisely, I think) to take the longer paved route. When we get to the park entrance, the ranger agrees that the dirt road would not have been a good choice.
Our GPS has a sense of humor

Wind and water have eroded a former mud flat into a land of mushroom-like formations or goblins. We hike down into the valley, climbing among the weird shapes.

Mary and friends among the goblins

Manny, Moe and Jack

We are staying at the very down-scale Whispering Sands Motel in Hanksville, UT. But it is clean and satisfactory. We have a horrid dinner at the local steakhouse, get gas at the Hollow Mountain filling station, gape at the selection of boats parked in the desert and retire early.
The Hollow Mountain filling station

Whatever floats your boat

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