Since it is a long weekend, I felt obligated to head out of town. A few months ago I came across an article that listed all the days the national parks would be free of admission for visitors. President's Day was one of these celestial days. A group of friends and I began planning another trip down to Zion National Park. Unfortunately that plan fell through so we decided to go to Goblin Valley.
We woke up pretty early since it is a three-and-a-half hour drive. We wanted to have most of the day for hiking. Next to Goblin Valley, there is another trailhead that has both a six mile and an eight mile loop. We decided to start with this trail before heading into the state park. we wanted to do the six mile loop so we would have enough time to do the other park.
This is where our journey gets, uh, interesting. The first part of our hike was wonderful! The slot canyon was amazing. We stumbled over rocks and up ledges, trudged through sand, and dodged twigs, rocks, and little gifts from animals. The trail wasn't marked very well so it sometimes felt like we wandering in the wilderness Old Testament style. At one point we found a map. This was the worst map I have ever seen. First, it was topographical. You needed a degree in topography to read this thing. Second, the trail was barely marked on it. It was almost impossible to tell what was a trail and what was not. We chose to keep heading straight instead of turning due east. We didn't want to do another slot canyon, so we decided to take the tail around the mountain.
We walked, and walked, and walked. At this point, we hadn't seen another living soul in hours. I was beginning to get a little worried. We hadn't packed in lunch since we were only planning on taking the six mile loop. Katie had put on her pedometer and we had already gone about 8 miles. Around every turn we just found more canyon and no parking lot. Two of us climbed to the top of the mountain to scout out the trail. At a complete loss of what to do, we decided to say a prayer and ask Heavenly Father which way to go. We all felt strongly that we should return to the sign and take the other slot canyon.
It was late in the day and I was worried that we weren't going to make it back to the parking lot before we lost the light. We decided to keep a steady pace until we got out of the canyon. I was pretty tired by now and I was starting to feel it in my legs. I felt like I had just gotten a hip replacement. We walked briskly for the next two and a half hours or so. It took us about an hour to get back to the 'map' and onto the right trail.
Eventually we made it to the parking lot. I have never been so excited to see people! Once we realized that we were safe, we all sort of deflated and gave in to our exhaustion. After we checked Katie's pedometer, we realized that we had walked 18 miles.
That's the better part of a marathon, people! On the drive back we stopped in Price to fill up on gas and get some caffeine. There was a collective groan as we got out of the car. I did not think I was going to make it into the gas station. My whole body was achey and my feet were utterly destroyed. It was an adventure to say the least. My body is still in revolt, but I'm recovering slowly and steadily. I never want to get lost again; I do not recommend it.