Hanksville, Utah – Hanksville and the dwarfs

Hwy # 95 bores its way from Lake Powell through imposing rock massifs. In front of Hanksville it eventually becomes less impressing. In Hanksville most shops are closed, and there is nobody to get information about road conditions. Actually, there is no reason to go to Hanksville, but I got a parcel sent here by mail on general delivery, so we at least have to stop by. But it gives us the opportunity to visit Goblin Valley State Park. Erosion created odd sandstone sculptures there, hoodoos hardly taller than a man, little gnomes with kobold caps on their heads. This is a funny place on earth. Unfortunately, the rangers left the park for the winter; no information about their off-road trails and the gravel roads around is available. We have to throw the entrance fee into their mailbox. 7 $ for 30 minutes entertainment without any service isn’t cheap, but it is worth it anyway.

Right behind the park exit Wild Horse / Muddy River Road branch off, leading to Factory Butte Road. The whole area, except the remaining goblins, is eroded, pulverized sandstone that was deposited again. It is what Malcolm calls ‘t’s-not-stone. When it’s dry, it’s stone. When not, it’s not. It is dry, but several weeks ago it must have been raining. Parts of the off-road trail seemed to have been destroyed and completely newly compiled. The grader has done a good job. Close to the end of the trail, the terrain gets flatter. Water seems to have accumulated here and due to low temperatures evaporated only superficially. The grader sank in, that’s what the traces tell us, stopped his work, and left the place. We try to get through anyway, but can go only some metres further before we sink in as well. All-wheel-drive, differential lock and low gear rescue us also this time. We have to change our plans and return to where we came from – the whole track. It is darkening already, but there is a trail head at the beginning of the gravel road where we can park overnight and not have to fear to be locked in case of nightly rainfall.

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