On my birthday we swam in the Colorado River. It was splendid. I have a different relationship to water since being on this trip.
The first morning at Goblin I set out to explore the hills surrounding the valley. I scampered up one slope but found the soil to be very soft and each step slid down a foot or so, creating a small cascade of dirt and rock shards. At the top of the little peak I surveyed the landscape, odd bulbous rock formations created by erosion, framing a dry flat basin in the middle of which snaked an arroyo. I realized quickly that I was more likely to get myself buried in a landslide than I was to successfully skirt the top of the ridge or climb any higher. So I descended and dropped down into the dry arroyo. I followed the dry river bed south for 4 miles or so. The walls of the arroyo were at times more than twenty feet high and arching into a giant dome-like structure. Some of those walls were brown, striated with white harder rock forming a spider-web of light lines across the surface. The soil underfoot was for the most part firm, though here and there a soft patch surprised me, and my foot sunk into the wet. Farther south a few inches of water appeared, and I dunked my hat a few times to cool off. The sand was spotted with crystalizing salt here and there, and the mud in places was cracked and rolled up in sheets, making a satisfying crunch when stepped on.
After this run, the day turned windy as the heat picked up and the site became pretty unlivable. I hid in the cargo van where I could at least read a bit without my eyes filling with sand. Inside our tents were blankets of the finest brown that had sifted through the mesh and spread over all of our possessions. Seeing as this blowing sand was a not conducive to work, we left the site a day early and headed on to the Spiral Jetty on the Great Salt Lake, Utah.