As the year changed to 2018, I could feel my body start to remember the sand in my shoes and the dirt in my hair. I swear I felt my muscles tighten in anticipation of the adventures that wait. Here’s hella hoping 2018 is going to be an incredible year – it certainly started off pretty great.
Headed for Goblin Valley – When I began doing all this wild stuff, I started making lists of all the things within 8 hours of Denver that I wanted to see. Camping trips, overlooks, backpacking trips, dog parks, geographical features – you name it and I was interested. One of the major things that always stood out to me was a short backpacking trip in Utah on the Diamond Fork Hot Spring trail. During the winter the road is closed, which adds another 10 miles to your trip, which means the springs are left to be enjoyed by the few, the brave and the athletically inclined. Not having the chance to do this last year, I made it the #1 priority of 2018. Funny how priorities change.
Drew and I packed up the car on Thursday, loaded up the dog and began heading west for Utah. Our first stop would be in Goblin Valley so we could check out Little Wild Horse Canyon – one of the few dog-friendly slots that are close to Colorado! We had 6 hours ahead of us and an excited pup in the back. By the time we rolled up, the sun had begun setting on these huge red walls of rock. At the base, a herd of cattle graze in peace. It was a pretty cool site to drive up on. We quickly popped in to the state park to snag a campsite and get a lay of the land before we headed back out to Little Wild Horse.
Little Wild Horse Slot Canyon – If you’re looking for an adventurous hike for your pup, this is definitely one to write down. The slots aren’t like what you’d find in Antelope Canyon, but they’re still beautiful and act as guides to transport you. Keep in mind that on a rainy day – this is not somewhere you want to be. Several feet taller than Drew at 5’10”, flash floods are a hazard. The three of us really enjoyed this short, easy hike at dusk. Courage was on alert, listening to lizards skitter around and other critters looking for food. We passed few people there and back, maybe 6 total. The great part about this hike is that it’s 5 miles from the campground, making it an easy to get to spot.
State Park Camping
The awesome thing about camping in state parks is that it’s often cheaper and easier to do. That’s why we picked Goblin Valley over some of the nearby national parks – Canyonlands and Arches. The campgrounds in Goblin Valley are seriously some of the coolest I’ve ever seen. If you get the chance, book in advance and look at’s pics of each site. Some are tucked behind canyon walls. Each site comes outfitted with a shaded picnic table and everything else you’d expect. They also have a yurt! The views from our tent were absolutely amazing. We had a great camp dinner of turkey hot dogs before heading out into the valley to attempt some star photography again.  
In the morning, we woke up before the crack of dawn to catch sunrise and hike to the Goblin King’s Lair. So many hikes and dirt bike trails in this little pocket, it’s great. We caught a gorgeous sunrise over the mountains and down onto the goblins. Courage had a great time racing across the desert like a mad dog. After a couple of hours of freezing our hands off, we headed back to camp to pack up and get moving to our next destination. Breakfast was eggs, turkey sausage and hashbrowns – and it was delicious. Oh my lort. So filling and just what we needed after a short, cold hike. While we packed up, I re-charged all of our devices so we wouldn’t be dead during our backpacking trip we were headed to. So grateful to MyCharge for producing a portable power source that is actually small enough & light enough (and able to actually charge my stuff) for my camping trips. This little sucker charged Drew and I up, plus my camera battery within no time. I snapped a few tent pics before we wrapped up and hit the road.
Diamond Fork Hot Springs – First thing to note – in the winter the road is closed and you have to park before the gate. It adds about 10 miles to your trip in total. Many people do not realize this and end up signing up for a 6 hour hike without realizing it.We parked and packed up, then began making our way to the actual trailhead. About 4 miles in, Courage started getting sick. We weren’t sure what to do – continue on 3 miles or hike back 4. We continued on to the trailhead and when we arrived we decided it wasn’t worth the risk and turned around. Courage didn’t even make it another 2.5 miles before quitting and demanding Drew carry him the rest of the way. I am still seriously pissed I didn’t make it to the spring, this seems to be a trend. haha! I was so close to something I’ve been dreaming about for literally years now and here we are. So, here’s to next year – we’ll try again. That’s the great thing – when we got back to Denver, 7.5 hours later, Drew dropped to one knee and proposed. So, we have a lot of winters ahead of us to make it back out there.