Camping down in Southern Utah would save us some money and keep us from freezing to death so we hit the road bright and early at 6AM.
We decided to take the longer, scenic way to Goblin Valley and stop at some rest stops because the world wide web said the views were worth it. Oh they were! Even though it meant driving down a dirt road for about an hour.
We found our camp site and had it all set up around one. I had been to Goblin Valley when I was a kid, but John never had, so after lunch we took the dogs to see it. Because it's a state park, the dogs had to stay on leash the whole time and they weren't very pleased, but we were a little naughty and dropped the leashes a few times while climbing up and down the steeper hills.
Since we were on Bureau of Land Management land it meant that the dogs didn't have to stay locked up and they enjoyed to freedom. We also didn't have to pay any fees or deal with check in/check out times. It did mean no bathrooms, but that doesn't bother me. I decided to take a walk with them to 'splore our campsite.
We had a great time wandering, but picking out the prickles in their feet wasn't too great. Next time I'll be bringing tweezers to help.
The wind started to pick up a little when we were trying to start a fire so the smoke was out of control. Enna jumped up into my lap and buried her head in my arms to keep the smoke out of her face and wasn't happy when I put her down so I could roast hot dogs. I leashed her and tied her to my chair because I didn't want her to take off to get away from the smoke and next thing I know she's dragging the chair away from the fire! After that we decided to put the dogs to bed and tried to stay warm by the fire that had a hard time growing because of the wind. Once we headed to bed the wind didn't seem so bad.
About 2AM the wind picked up again and kept waking up with gusts every now and then, but when we got up it was out of control. We couldn't even make breakfast because the propane stove wouldn't stay lite. So we packed up the dogs and tried to find a better spot, but everywhere was just as windy and the rock formations seemed to be trapping it. We had full intentions of sticking it out, but when we got back to our site and our shade structure was all bent out of shape and sand whipping us in the face we decided it would be better to pack it up.
The wind just seemed to be getting worse and there were times we just had to stand still with our eyes closed to make it through the gust. Nothing got put away nicely, since we knew everything would have to be set up again to get all the sand out and during the chaos John lost his keys. Looking for lost keys in the windy, sandy desert is probably the worst time to look for keys. We hoped that they were wrapped up in something and started our way home.
By then it was 2 in the afternoon and we still hadn't eaten so we hoped to find a less windy rest stop to make some sandwiches. By 3 we gave up and just made and ate the sandwiches in the car and tried to make the best of it.
Setting everything up to dust it out was just awful and then de-sanding the car wasn't any fun at all, but having the stew we planned to dutch oven for dinner made it a little better. We were sad we had to call it quits, but we seem to have bad luck while camping alone.
It's a place we'll be going back to and hopefully soon. I loved how secluded and freeing it was.
P.S. John's keys were rolled up in the tent :)