Everywhere we visited this trip was hot. Not warm, HOT! So it was with great excitement that we woke Monday morning to a promise of snow showers, maybe even snow in the mountains. But we were traveling through the mountains, so we wanted to hit it before the snow started to stick. Just before Vail Pass, we stopped at a trucker's chain-up area off the freeway and introduced Muffin to snow. I'm sure the trucker who pulled in behind us was shaking his head when he spotted the three Californians standing in the snow with a kitten, of all things, on a leash.
I'd told the girls we would stop and play in deeper snow in Vail, but when we arrived there wasn't a flake to be found. In fact, the place has grown so much in the decade since my one and only visit there, I couldn't recognize it. Neither could I find trailer-friendly parking, so we carried on to Grizzly Creek. This stop, found thanks to geocaching, was among the best rest stops I've ever visited. Not only is it well away from the freeway, it also includes grassy picnic areas, clean restrooms, a boardwalk with interpretive signs about the area, river front and a trail head for a walk up Grizzly Creek.
After hours on the road, we crossed into Utah, and finally found ourselves at Goblin Valley State Park, one of our favorite lesser-known spots in the area. While previous visits have found us in a nearly abandoned campground, however, the park is clearly gaining popularity; we managed to find one of the last five camping spots in the park that night.
We've never stayed two nights here. It's a spot we've explored in half-day stints on our way to and from and through the area. Someday, we'll make this a multi-night destination. Besides the two valleys of goblins we've explored, there's another well-publicized valley, and there are canyons and other lands to explore. Plus, there's access to the Muddy River.
From Goblin Valley, we took the back road to Hanksville, then the diagonal to I-15, cutting through Capitol Reef, Escalante-Grand Staircase, and Bryce Canyon - all worthy of stops on another trip. We managed to hit Las Vegas before V fell asleep in the backseat, but (note to self and anyone else interested) there appears to be NO parking for even the SMALLEST trailer within walking distance of the lights and fountains that children would enjoy. Vegas will have to be another visit - one with parking predetermined, and perhaps a cab involved.
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