Thursday, October 8, 2009

Goblin Valley

Goblin Valley: the very name inspires wild imaginings of weird and wondrous things. The reality does not disappoint. Spread out in a modest valley are some of the most bizarre natural formations to be found anywhere. Hoodoos and goblins abound in dazzling number and everywhere you turn strange sights greet your eyes. The photo above shows a small portion of the valley, looking to the south-southeast from a knoll in the midst of the formation. One can almost see the ranks of the Goblin army assembling for battle.

At ground level the illusion is even more striking. The mushroom-like pillars stand about 12 feet tall. It is truly impressive to walk among the stone ranks. Goblins are an apt name, but visions of the little Chinese mushrooms from Disney's Fantasia also intrude into my consciousness, with Tchaikovsky's energetic score from his "Nutcracker" ballet riffing in my brain. Both work for me, but goblins are more...romantic. It would be fascinating to stroll among then during a full moon.

The tall, twisted spires - called Hoodoos - are equally impressive. This must have inspired much of Disney's Frontierland landscape. I remember thinking when I was little how outlandish and unbelievable those formations looked. Little did I know they paled in comparison to the real thing. This is alien landscape at it's most surreal.

And speaking of alien landscape, this is the location for the Beryllium Sphere mining scene in the movie "Galaxy Quest." Right in the middle of the shot above is where the mining camp structure was erected. The cast rolled the spheres past the goblins on their way back to the shuttle and Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen) fought the rock monster amongst the hoodoos and mushroom pillars.

Galaxy Quest was probably one of the most accurate portrayals of science-fiction fandom and incredibly spot-on homage/parodies of the Star Trek phenomenon ever made. And it was absolutely hysterical, too.
Some of the best lines in the movie occurred during this sequence at Goblin Valley (MINERS, not MINORS! - Did you guys ever WATCH the show? - Let's get out of here before one of those things kills Guy!).

Unfortunately it probably only spoke to a limited audience as it apparently did not do that well at the box office. Too bad, because it was really well done. But it has become a cult classic, which is reassuring, and is one of our favorite movies.

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