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Monty and Willy Enter Goblin Valley

Have you ever been out in the desert or woods at night and wandered a little too far from the fire? Or, maybe out for a night hike and your flashlight gives out. It's very easy to imagine incredible things in the dark. Sometimes, they are down-right-scary.

Monty and Willy are not immune to such things as you'll find out in this tale. This was the adventure when the duo decided to brave the things that go bump in the night by traveling to Goblin Valley State Park in Utah.

If you've never been to Goblin Valley or seen a picture of the unique rock formations that abound there, you may not believe this story. Goblin Valley does exist and is famous for these eroded rock figures that appear to change as the sun moves across the sky. At sunset the goblins of Goblin Valley put on their best show as the sun and light quality change more rapidly.

It is a sight that I have had the chance to see, myself. But come sunset: I'm out of there! And you'd never find me out there on Halloween. Uh- uh! No-way, baby!

Very few people ever brave Goblin Valley after dark. There are many legends of cattle rustlers who have become lost (disappeared is more like it) amongst the goblins and never seen again. There has even been the occasional modern vacationer who thought that they were brave enough to taunt the goblins with their bold treks into the valley. Nobody knows their whereabouts.

Now, I don't want to ruin the end of this story by telling you that Monty and Willy survived a night amongst the goblins. You probably already know that any way because M&W are still conducting adventures. You may have even seen them on the news when they were awarded a medal — The Utah Hive — by then Governor Orion R. Provo for surviving this treacherous event.

Well, they did survive. So if you were waiting for the end of the story; you can split now.

However, if you want to know about that scary Halloween night amongst the goblins in Goblin Valley and you are brave enough to read further; the famous duo is just about to arrive for their scariest adventure ever.

Remember, there is no shame in clicking the back button.

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Now, as I said before, I have been to Goblin Valley, myself and know that the road that leads there from Utah State Route 24 is the worst 15-mile stretch of Washboard in the Free World. When I traveled this road, it was in a 27 ft. motor home, the worst vehicle to drive on a Washboard. Monty and Willy on the other hand probably took the road at around 75 or 80 MPH so they could sail over the Washboard. "Ridin' on the high parts.", Willy calls it.

As you pull into the park, it is rather a letdown. The campsites look like a parking lot. There is also no scenery. "We were just thinking about pulling out," Monty writes in his journal, "And looking for another place to stay outside of the park when the Park Ranger pulled up to our campsite. Ranger Tim's a nice enough guy, told us that Goblin Valley itself was another mile up the road. He asked us not to judge the park from the campground. He also warned us about entering the valley after sunset."

After setting up their camp and enjoying a couple of steaks, they left and drove to Goblin Valley. It was almost five in the afternoon as Monty recalls in his journal: "The sun is low and pendulous in the sky. Still not used to Standard Time. It gets too dark too early. Perfect for goblin viewing, though." "If we had only known at that time." Willy said later, "We would have stayed in camp and just gotten toasted by the fire." "But," Monty added, "Fear is never boring. So, we went anyway!"

By the time they reached the rim of the valley the last group of tourists was just returning to their mini van — the last vehicle in the parking area. As M&W began to descend into Goblin Valley from the observation platform, they could see the brake lights of the van as it left the parking lot. The two famous adventurers were now alone.

The sun was totally set but, the full moon was rising above the LaSalle Mountain Range in the east. Now, you might think that a full moon would help their visibility. So would I. But, the moon was just beginning to play tricks with the goblins causing them to look like apparitions from another world.

As they had hoped, Monty and Willy found the goblins to be quite interesting to look at. One of the first the pair came to that were unique to the average (well, average for Goblin Valley, anyway) goblin, that looked like three people riding a snowmobile. "The Snowmobile Goblin is near the entrance to the valley." Monty wrote in his journal by flashlight, "It's also very tall. This should make it easy to find above the Dry Humps." The two began referring to the average-looking-goblins as Dry Humps.

They walked by the light of the moon, saving the flashlight for closer inspections of the ground before them. And of course, so Monty could make his ever important journal entries. "We are heading deeper into the valley." Monty writes. "There appears to be a rock wall with the silhouette of a laughing man in the east that is directly before the moon. It is a sinister laugh. I get the feeling he's laughing at us." The two wove their way in and out of many goblins and Dry Humps as they headed in the direction of the face in the rock. Along the way they passed many eery rock formations. But, it was the Laughing Man that held their attention.

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When they had reached the other side of the valley, the moon was still framing the Laughing Man. They had walked 15 minutes since they had first seen it. Now they were in a kind of grotto, 60 or 70 feet directly below the Laughing Man. Even with the moon behind it, they could make out features of the face at this distance. Besides the nose and big gaping mouth they could see what looked like an eye socket, cheek, lips, bones and even an ear.

"It is amazing what nature can do." Monty pauses to add a journal entry. "This face is so realistic it appears . . . "

There was a sound from behind them.

Actually, there were two sounds. There was one way off to the west that resembled a motorcycle riding into some unknown distance.

But, that wasn't the sound that "almost scared the piss right out of me." Monty claimed. "It was a growl that seemed to fill the air. It wasn't loud or very ferocious but it was big and full like a warning that an animal might give before it attacks. Or, the rattle of a rattlesnake that's saying ‘Hey, Dude. Don't step on me or I'll have to put-the-bite-on-you.' It was a pretty damn big sound.

"We were out there to have a good time with the goblins we weren't there to be eaten by a mountain lion. Although, it sounded bigger than that. I was beginning to think that it might be a bear that had strayed from Mt. Ellen. But, I've never seen or heard of bears in the desert."

"I could see the shadow of the Laughing Man on the far rim of the grotto." Willy continued, "It was to the left of where the growl was coming from. We were standing in front of a narrow crevasse. As I looked on the other side for the source of the growl, I swore I saw the Laughing Man's shadow move in my periphery.

"Then I could see it. Monty saw it too and turned the flashlight toward it. It was a big dog. All we could see was it's head which was about four feet from the tip of its nose to the back of its head. It was a Dog Goblin that kinda looked like an Irish Setter. It might not have had the same visual details as the Laughing Man but that was definitely where the sound had come from, that's for sure."

"Then we heard a laugh from behind us." Monty said, "As we both turned to see who the laugh came from, I swung the flashlight into the canteen on Willy's belt and it fell into the ravine. It's probably still down there. It's too narrow and too deep to ever get it out."

When their eyes had readjusted to the lack of light, they saw that the Laughing Man was now about 20 feet above them. As they looked to each other in disbelief, the Dog Goblin growled again. "The Dog Goblin looked like it was closer this time." Willy said, "But, we didn't have the light on it like before. So, I figured that had to be why it looked closer."

"That's when we heard the laugh again." Monty recalls, "Not only was the laugh closer, I could feel breath on the back of my neck. I swear, I could smell his stale-earthy breath. As we turned, the Laughing Man was right in front of us. We stood there just long enough for the Dog Goblin to growl again and we were off like a Prom Dress!"

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Eventually, after avoiding the crevasse and running for what seemed like an hour, they slowed to a stop. There was only one large box-shaped goblin where they had stopped that was at the southern edge of a clearing that was almost like a dry lake bed. "There weren't even any Dry Humps there!" Willy told me. They could still hear the Laughing Man. "Hell, we could see him!" Monty said. "He was right up there where he was when we first saw him laughing at us from across the valley. The moon was above him by then. But, we could see him. We could hear the Dog Goblin every now and then, too. Maybe we couldn't see him but we knew he was back by the Laughing Man."

"We were taking sips of water and trying to catch our breath." Willy said, "We were also trying to figure out what the hell we had just been through. We both saw and heard them so it wasn't a Flashback, or some kind of chemically induced thing." "Yeah." Monty interjected, "Even if we did burn a couple back at camp before we came up here, we both saw them. That shit only happens in those 60's drug propaganda flicks. They were there and they were making noises and they were moving." "And so were we." Willy quickly added, "We got-the-fuck out of there!"

"We still didn't know quite where we were." Monty said, "‘Is that Mt. Ellen?' I kept asking Willy. Even though I knew it was. I knew we had to be close to the Snowmobile Goblin but we couldn't see it. It was almost like it disappeared." "We even began to wonder if the motorcycle we heard might have been the Snowmobile Goblin." Willy continued, "In spite of what had just happened we laughed it off. The two of us were laughing like a couple of mad men that just busted out of some asylum. We were both taking a leak after not peeing in our pants. Now we were trying not to pee on ourselves from laughing."

That's when they heard another noise.

They weren't sure what the noise was at first. "We were trying to figure out what we had just heard." Monty tells, "It was close, maybe within 50 feet." "The Laughing Man was laughing harder, again." Willy added, "I don't know if he was laughing at us laughing, or laughing at us for being scared again." "We both looked in the direction of the noise." Monty continued, "It seemed to come from the box-shaped goblin to the south. At least I thought it was the south. Mt. Ellen was just above it. That's when I noticed that it wasn't quite a box after all. It was about 10 feet tall and 18 to 20 feet across. We couldn't see how thick it was. Except for the protrusion on the front of the box.

"I didn't see it at first. But, then it stuck out like a big bass drum." "That's what it looked like too." Added Willy, "A big bass drum. That's when it made the noise again. The drumhead seemed to change when it made the noise."

"‘It's a fuckin' camera!' I said." Monty continued. "That's what it was, a big 35mm camera." "More like a 350mm camera!" Willy added as Monty continued. "I could see the shutter open and close when I heard the noise, which was actually two noises. ‘Click' when it opened. ‘Clack' when it closed. It must have been a really slow shutter speed. It's your guess what the f-stop was. By that time I was more interested in what was behind the shutter. And, I didn't like what I saw when the shutter was open."

"I thought I saw something too." Willy said, "That's when the Camera Goblin took another picture of us. This time I got a good look at what was inside that big lense and was about to suggest that we get out of there, when Monty grabbed my jacket and damn near pulled me off of my feet. The shutter was just beginning to close. I can't tell you how I know this, but I can tell you that it was the entrance to Hell."

"I know that sounds wild." Monty said, "But, that was the feeling I got too. The only confirmation we would've needed was a sign that said ‘Welcome to Hell.' Or, maybe a devil dressed like a stewardess checking boarding passes. I wasn't waiting around to find out. I grabbed Willy and we were out-a-there!"

# # # # #

Even though they both swear that the Camera Goblin turned as they ran away it didn't follow them. It did take a couple of more pictures (?) of them as they ran west into more Dry Humps and more goblins. As their pace slowed, they decided it was best to keep moving. Except for the Dog Goblin, none of the other goblins seemed to move away from where they were planted. So, maybe if they kept moving they would not get into any more trouble with other goblins.

They started to head south, in the direction of Mt. Ellen and away from Goblin Valley. They were hoping that if they made it out of the valley, no matter in what direction, they could make it back to the truck or camp when the sun came up. It wouldn't be the first time that they had stayed up all night wandering in the desert. It would be a piece of cake. They could walk all the way to Hanksville if they had to. That was only 10 miles or so. Then they could come back to camp, maybe even catch a ride, in the morning.

As long as they could get out of Goblin Valley alive.

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Malcolm Tasz, 27 October 1998

The next episode of The Adventures of Monty and Willy: Monty and Willy Meet Don Juan? has been completed. You may read this exciting installmet by clicking HERE.

Back to Base Camp

Goblin Valley Links

Utah State Parks & Recreation: Goblin Valley Page.
Park description and a picture or two.
Utah Travel Council: Goblin Valley Page
Another park description with a picture or two. Is that Mt. Ellen?
Utah Travel Council: Goblin Valley Map Page
This map will give you a good idea of where Goblin Valley is at.

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This page was born on October 27, 1998. Since then, it has been visited times by intrepid adventerers in search of excitement and danger.