My employer gave me Veteran’s Day as a paid day off this year, so we checked the kids out of school (except Jake, he couldn’t miss a class), borrowed trailer, and drove down to Goblin Valley State park on Thursday night.
Because is was Thursday night, we didn’t have trouble finding a spot. So we setup camp in the dark in campsite (#20).
When the ranger came around Friday morning, he told us that site was reserved for the next night. The neighboring site (#16) was designated as a walk-in site, so if we moved next door we could claim it for the night. So we moved the tent and our few supplies and got ready for the day.
We had decided to hike Ding and Dang slot canyons. These are near Little Wildhorse canyon (which we’ve done a few times before), but a little more technical and a bit longer. However, we felt prepared having conquered Peek-a-boo and Spooky just a few weeks ago.
We drove 1.25 miles along the riverbed/road after passing the Little Wildhorse trailhead. There was one other car parked, but we essentially had the place to ourselves on a beautiful fall day.
We hit the trail at 11:30am. I had a map of the hiked saved in my phone. I knew we would like along the riverbed and then take a fork off to the right to head up Ding canyon. Our plan was to loop around and come down Dang. It was a 6-mile loop.
As you can see from the GPS map above, we took a wrong turn after 7 minutes of hiking. Not having gone near far enough along the main trail. We called this unimpressive trail Damn canyon. I suggest you avoid it.
With the benefit of hindsight, I knew better. There were lots of signs that we weren’t in the right place. I didn’t double-check the map, which was stupid. But we were having fun scrambling over the rocks. But it quickly turned uphill and into some pretty nasty terrain and it became obvious that we were off course. The kids ate lunch and said some prayers while I scrambled to a high spot and was able to get some reception, just enough for my map application on my phone to show me where we were. We retraced our steps and got back to the main trail, but it was a 2 mile detour that wore our kids out.
When we got to Ding it was awesome. Cool terrain, deep slots with steep sheer walls and some fun semi-technical sections, and even some water.
The kids had a lot of fun, but we were worn out and losing daylight. After taking quite some time to shuttle everyone across a watery section we decided to turn back.
As we drove back to camp, the full moon was rising.
It was a beautiful night. We roasted hot dogs over the fire, popped popcorn, baked cookies in the oven in the trailer, and all listened to some scary stories from the Snap Judgement podcast in the tent.
But everyone was wiped out. We were all in bed by 9pm.
Saturday morning we woke up and packed up camp. Then we drove over to the Valley of the Goblins and played tag for a while and snapped some pictures.
As we drove home we listened to the BYU/SUU football game on the radio and talked about how we need to go back. Ding and Dang got the best of us this time, but we will be back. And we won’t be making the (damn) wrong turn next time.