Geysers, Goblins, and Bones
This was my favorite day of the trip. Because we were going to see something new, something a little different and off the beaten path. We dragged our way out of bed and started the day. We were sitting in the lobby of our hotel in Green River and eating breakfast when I saw a guy in a ratty beard and wearing second hand clothes eating breakfast. I kind of watched him out of the corner of my eye.
Then I saw another guy come up to him and ask "Didn't I see you on X" (I actually do not remember the show). Turns out this odd guy was some multi millionaire that just decided to head to Moab for the weekend. He did not make it that far and was here for the night. I guess I should not judge people quite so fast.
I had to scramble as we headed out of town. I had forgotten to grab Green River Utah 1st Virtual
Utah is the home of Virtual Caches. Utah has 255 virtual caches right now. There are only two states that have more; Texas with 340, and California with 525. With Califoria at twice our area, and Texas at four times, we have quite a few. It is easier since about 2/3rds of our virtuals fall along a few roads. Highway 6, Highway 89, and Interstate 15. I would bet about 75% of all the virtuals fall in those areas.
Well we swung back into town to grab this one before heading our way south. I had almost forgot, at the last moment. Ok well, it was not the last moment, we would come back into town. We headed south toward Crystal Geyser.
Crystal Geyser Traditional and EarthCache
We found our way out to Crystal Geyser. This was on my list for a long time. I love Geysers, so I made sure I looked for the road. We headed out of town on a rough old road, and turned with the car down a dirt road. It was pretty nice for my car. Just a ten mile drive.
The geyser is actually not a hot water geyser like those that are in Yellowstone. This geyser was actually made by a drilling company. They drilled into a pocket of carbonated water. So every so often, usually once per day, it erupts into a smallish eruption, and a number of smaller eruptions that just bubble up.
While we were there walking around, taking pictures, a group of people visiting from Germany actually stopped and visited the area. I wondered if they were geocachers. I talked to them a bit, but no luck, just tourists looking at the out of the way spots. The bubbles started boiling and a small eruption took place. Nothing dramatic, just a lot of foam, and gas coming out of the top.
Eventually I walked up the nearby cache. Crystal Geyser was actually published back in 2004. So for 10 years the cache was there and it needed finding by me. It was a little walk up the canyon. I grabbed the cache and found some trash nearby. Later when I was logging the cache I noticed that there was another container someone had found, and thought they had found the real cache. So happily I cleaned up the fake cache. and we packed up the family and headed off.
We headed around to another cache. The cache was only 4 miles away, but it was over the Green River. So it meant a long slow drive to the north, then over the river, then down to the south. The road actually got pretty hairy for the caching mobile.
The road had a few washouts, a few spots that I had to be pretty careful to get around in the car. Eventually I made it to the other side. The little two track road got pretty bad for the car. Any other vehicle and it would have been nice and easy.
The view at the cache site was awesome. The different banding in the rock layers there were just amazing.
There was no cache here, I actually asked about putting an Earthcache at the site. However the BLM was concerned. I mentioned that people had been pilfering the fosssils there. Sadly that is true. Many of the fossils have been chipped out of the rock, or broken up. When I grabbed them I noticed that the stone is actually softer than the rock around it. So people trying to steal the fossils would have ended up with a bunch of little pieces.
My kids and I looked around and found a ton of fossils there. There were some nice backbone vertebrae. They were about a foot across, and six inches high, and some ribs that would have ran three feet long. There were a large number of other fossils that seemed to be in cross section, so I could not actually tell what they were.
We spent a few hours here. I thought of placing a cache, but I really do not know if I will ever be here again. I took a bunch of photos, and we climbed over boulders that are as big as small rooms. It was a great afternoon, and a great time looking about. This is one of those sites that I think is completely amazing. We rarely get to see things like this outside of a museum so it was a treat.
The nearest cache was on the route back. Purple Pond by UtahJean. This was a great location out in the desert. The view with the little pond was spectacular. There were a few purple layers, sadly the photo does not do it justice. When it was placed she mentioned a muskrat nest, and it is still there after all these years.
It took us a year or more to get to goblin valley. I have been down a lot of roads in central Utah, more than many people. I grew up down here, however I have never been on this side of the swell, on this road. This was completely breathtaking. At the site were a few caches. The Goblin Valley EarthCache. This took a little bit of work to find the few signs with the information.
Following that I headed out into the rocks by myself. I had a quest. An ammo can placed out in the south end of the valley by the state park. I had a few in the park that I wanted to grab, but this really was going to be one of my crowning caches from the weekend.
The hike was pretty easy. In the few days before there had been some rain, and there were a number of gullies down in the bottom of the valley in the sand. It was a great walk. I also was following the footprints of a few other cachers that had headed out the day before. So the hunt took me to the area, and the find under one of the goblins in a hole in the mud was great.
I did go look for another. However this time being in the hills by myself was not a great idea. I finally broke off the hunt when i decided that I might end up breaking my leg or something worse if I kept hunting.
There was one hill, pretty high. On the top of it were two ladies painting. Seemed kind of a ways away to drag your painting supplies. Then I realized I was walking a mile through the desert looking for a metal box with a paper inside. So not being one to throw stones I headed back. The kids were playing in the mud and we headed to the car.
You know going on a trip through southern Utah at this time of year was genius. The temperature is usually over a 100 degree F in the summer. So going at this time of year is the best time. It had rained a few days before and I assumed that everything would be dry, but 70 degree temperatures made it a great trip and at great temps.
We took the drive straight home. Well, kinda. Kind of like DrJay drove from Utah to Minnesota by way of Texas. We headed up through the desert, then through I-70. Then to Price and home. Ok, so it was a good day.
The rest of the way home was seven Earthcaches and two Virtuals. It was a great day. The view up Highway 70 is magnificent. Many overlooks, looking over many sights that are impossible to find anywhere else in the USA. Oh, I should mention that I did get a FTF on the route. Butte or mesa? I made sure I stopped at this when I was in the neighborhood.
I am so lucky to live here, in this place. Utah is amazing. I hope everyone has a chance to see this place, this great country that we live in,