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Back To The Valley Of The Goblins

October 14, 2016

There are certain places that don’t belong on earth. There is New Zealand and it’s magical depiction as Middle Earth from Lord Of The Rings. New Zealand is lush and green. On the other end of the color spectrum is the American Southwest. 

On the 8th day God realized he’d forgotten to finish Southern Utah.

Tonight I will be here.

In the words of Galaxy Quest it’s “a nearby planet with beryllium spheres.” It’s also the home of the “miners not minors,” the pig lizard and Gorignak. 

Home of beryllium shares and paper bags.

Sure, they must be about 12 years old.

The exploding pig-lizard.

Gorignak doesn’t have any vulnerable spots. . .he’s a rock.

It’s also Goblin Valley, a Utah state park. Every year we take all the boys from our church youth group down for an overnight campout. Last year we went on October 30th. This year we are going a couple of weeks earlier. The schedule is synced to the phases of the moon. Literally, we plan the trip to coincide with the full moon. 

It’s about a 3 hour drive from Pleasant Grove, UT to Goblin Valley near Moab, UT. We’ll stop for dinner somewhere around Price, UT. Leaving at 4:00 we’ll pull into the area around the park at 8:00pm. We’ll quickly set up tents, but then, pile into the vehicles and head to the actually Valley of the Goblins. And here’s why we aim for the night of the full moon. for the next 4 hours the boys will run among the hoodoos playing capture the flag. Or, more accurately, capture the bundle of glow sticks that represents the flag. 

The boys pretty much run the game themselves with older boys coaching younger boys on strategy and rules. Meanwhile, the old men stand around and watch the moon rise, talk about jobs, and families and how much we enjoy the part of the country we live in. It will be in the mid-70’s when we arrive, dropping down to a very comfortable mid-60’s by the time we round them up and send them to bed. 

We’ve attended this particular church location for the past three years. The Goblin Valley tradition stretches back for years and years. It’s a tradition that helps fathers and sons connect. It connects neighbors and friends. And it’s a wonderful chance to visit “a nearby planet with beryllium spheres.” 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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