Utah, Arizona - Summer 2018

Chris had flight testing at Dugway Proving Grounds outside of Salt Lake City, Utah in May and June 2018. He decided to make a long trip of it, and planned to take Nathan and Eli for different sections of hiking.  Nathan drove out to Utah with him, and they stopped at several parks.  They started with Gateway Arch National Park in St Louis, then visited Colorado National Monument, Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, Canyonlands National Park, Goblin Valley State Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and Bryce Canyon National Park.  Chris and Nathan then met up with Chris' sister Karen and her husband Doug while in Utah for a few days.  They camped together for three nights, and visited White Pocket in the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument and the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.  Chris and Nathan then drove through Zion National Park to Salt Lake City, where Nathan flew home.

Chris then continued on for a few more days of hiking on the San Rafael Swell in central Utah before going to Dugway for flight testing.  After the first week of flight testing, Chris flew home for a week, then returned to Utah for ten more days of flight testing. When this flight testing was over, Chris began the more extreme hiking he had planned. Eli was supposed to fly out and join him at this point, but had decided against it.  Chris visited and did quite a bit of hiking at Cedar Breaks National Monument, Kanarraville Falls, Zion National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Lake Powell - Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Capitol Reef National Park.  Chris' BMW X5 was driven about 7800 miles on this trip.

A week after Chris got back home from his trip out west, we all drove to Destin, Florida for Tami's sister's wedding.  The X5 was driven another 2300 miles on this trip, for slightly over 10000 miles in two months.


Click on the map to expand it and see the places we visited in Utah.

 

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
13 May 14 May 15 May 16 May 17 May 18 May 19 May
Home Home Home Home --> Charleston, WV
--> St Louis, MO
Gateway Arch NP
--> Kansas City, KS

--> Grand Junction, CO
20 May 21 May 22 May 23 May 24 May 25 May 26 May
Colorado NM
--> Moab, UT
Arches NP
Dead Horse Point SP
Canyonlands NP

Goblin Valley SP
Grand Staircase-Escalante NM
Capitol Reef NP
Bryce Canyon NP
--> Kanab, UT

White Pocket, Vermillion Cliffs NM Grand Canyon NP Zion NP
--> Salt Lake City
Nathan flies home
Chris --> Wedge Overlook
27 May 28 May 29 May 30 May 31 May 01 June 02 June
Crawford Draw
Green River, UT
San Rafael Swell

Little Wildhorse & Bell Canyons
Diamond Fork Hot Springs
--> SLC

Big Cottonwood Canyon
--> Dugway
Dugway Flight Test Dugway Flight Test Dugway Flight Test Dugway --> SLC
Fly SLC --> Washington
Dinner & Hotel
03 June 04 June 05 June 06 June 07 June 08 June 09 June

--> Home

Home Home Home Home Home Home
10 June  11 June  12 June  13 June  14 June  15 June  16 June 

--> DC
Fly DC --> SLC
--> Dugway

Dugway Flight Test Dugway Flight Test Dugway Flight Test Dugway Flight Test Dugway Flight Test Dugway Flight Test
17 June 18 June 19 June 20 June 21 June 22 June 23 June
SLC, Red Iguana 2
Dugway Flight Test
Dugway Flight Test
Brian Head
Cedar Breaks NM

Cedar Breaks NM
Kanarraville Falls
Red Cliffs
Zion NP Kolob Terrace

Zion NP Angels Landing
Zion NP Emerald Pools
Nautilus Slot
Wire Pass
Buckskin Gulch
24 June 25 June 26 June 27 June 28 June 29 June 30 June
Rainbow Bridge NM
Lone Rock Beach, Lake Powell, Glen Canyon NRA

Horseshoe Bend
Lower Antelope Canyon
Upper Antelope Canyon
Glen Canyon Dam

Cottonwood Canyon Rd
Cottonwood Narrows
Grosvenor Arch
Bryce Canyon NP
Devils Garden
Spooky & Peek-A-Boo
Hole In The Rock Road
Coyote Gulch Coyote Gulch
--> Denver, CO
--> Columbia, MO
01 July 02 July 03 July 04 July 05 July 06 July 07 July

--> Charleston, WV

--> Home Home Home: Cookout Home Home Home
08 July 09 July 10 July 11 July 12 July 13 July 14 July
Home Home Home
--> Soddy Daisy, TN


--> Destin, FL

Florida Florida: Wedding
15 July 16 July 17 July 18 July 19 July 20 July 21 July

Florida

--> Atlanta, GA --> Home Home Home Home Home

Chris took along three remote control airplanes and two quadcopters, all equipped with cameras to take aerial video.  He also took along his GoPro and two GoPro-like action cams, and two Gear 360's to capture 360 degree video.  Videos were taken mounted on the windshield of his car, on a head-mount, and on an extended pole above Chris' backpack.  The videos are spread across this webpage, and all of them are listed together here as well.

Hiking Videos Aerial Videos Driving Videos
GoPro @ Gateway Arch, St Louis
GoPro @ Crawford Draw Slot Canyon
GoPro @ Little Wildhorse Canyon
GoPro @ Kanarraville Falls
GoPro @ Angels Landing, Zion National Park
Gear 360 @ Angels Landing, Zion National Park - Part 1
Gear 360 @ Angels Landing, Zion National Park - Part 2
Gear 360 @ Angels Landing, Zion National Park - Part 3
Gear 360 @ Angels Landing, Zion National Park - Part 4
Gear 360 @ Angels Landing, Zion National Park - Part 5
Gear 360 @ Nautilus Slot, White House Campground
GoPro @ Wire Pass & Buckskin Gulch
GoPro & SJ4000 @ Rainbow Bridge National Monument
Gear 360 @ Horseshoe Bend, Colorado River, Page
SJ4000 @ Upper Antelope Canyon, Page
SJ4000 @ Sunset swimming in Lake Powell
Gear 360 @ Cottonwood Narrows - Part 1
Gear 360 @ Cottonwood Narrows - Part 2
GoPro @ Spooky & Peek-A-Boo, Hole In The Rock Road
GoPro @ Coyote Gulch - Part 1 - Entry via Crack In The Wall
GoPro @ Coyote Gulch - Part 2 - Up The Gulch
GoPro @ Coyote Gulch - Part 3 - Exit at Jacob Hamblin Arch
Cyclops @ White House Campground, east of Kanab
Cyclops @ Wedge Overlook
Cyclops @ San Rafael River Bridge, Buckhorn Draw Road
SJ4000 @ San Rafael River Bridge, Buckhorn Draw Road
SJ4000 @ San Rafael Reef, north of Goblin Valley
Cyclops @ Little Wildhorse Canyon trailhead
SJ4000 @ Skull Valley
Runcam Split Mini @ Simpson Springs Pony Express Station
Cyclops @ Simpson Springs Pony Express Station & Lookout Pass
SJ4000 @ Lookout Pass
Cyclops @ Brian Head Peak
SJ4000 @ Kolob Reservoir, west of Zion National Park
SJ4000 @ White House Campground, east of Kanab
Runcam Split Mini @ White House Campground, east of Kanab
Runcam Split Mini @ Grosvenor Arch
SJ4000 @ Escalante River Gorge
SJ4000 @ Fortymile Ridge Road, Hole In The Rock Road
GoPro @ I-70 Colorado, Eisenhower Tunnel & Glenwood Canyon
GoPro @ Rimrock Road, Colorado National Monument
GoPro @ House Rock Valley Road to White Pocket
GoPro @ Buckhorn Draw Road, San Rafael Swell, north to south
GoPro @ Hastings Road, Swaseys Beach, Green River, Utah
GoPro @ Temple Mount Road, San Rafael Swell to Goblin Valley Road
GoPro @ Brian Head Peak to Cedar Breaks National Monument
SJ4000 @ Cottonwood Canyon Roar, south to north
SJ4000 @ Escalante River Gorge, south to north
SJ4000 @ Capitol Reef National Park, west to east

17 May 2018, Thursday

After Chris was done with work and Nathan was done with school on Thursday, they started their trip with a drive from home to Charleston, West Virginia.  They stayed at Tami's parents' home on Thursday night. 

This is a link to their driving route for the first six days, from 17 to 22 May 2018:

Home --> Charleston, WV --> St Louis, MO --> Grand Junction, CO --> Moab, UT --> Goblin Valley, UT --> Escalante, UT --> Bryce Canyon, UT --> White House Campground, Kanab, UT.


18 May 2018, Friday

They got up early and drove from Charleston, West Virginia to St Louis, Missouri, where they stopped at Gateway Arch National Park and rode to the top of the Arch. This was Chris' third trip up the Arch and Nathan's first trip.  After the Arch, they continued on from St Louis, Missouri to Kansas City, Kansas, where they spent the night at a hotel.

Video from a head-mounted GoPro while visiting Gateway Arch in St Louis.

   

     


19 May 2018, Saturday

Saturday consisted of a long 800+ mile drive from Kansas City, Kansas to Grand Junction, Colorado.

Video from a windshield-mounted GoPro while driving on I-70 across Colorado, showing Eisenhower Tunnel and Glenwood Canyon.


20 May 2018, Sunday

Chris and Nathan started the day by driving Rimrock Road from south to north at Colorado National Monument, just went of Grand Junction, Colorado.  They then continued on to Moab, UT.

Video from a windshield-mounted GoPro, driving from the south entrance to the north entrance on Rimrock Road at Colorado National Monument.

 

On the way to Moab, they stopped at Fisher Towers.  There were storms brewing in the distance, and no one was climbing when they were there.

 
Fisher Towers, east of Moab

They drove on to Moab and checked into their hotel, before heading back out to Arches National Park.  The drove to the Delicate Arch lower viewpoint, then hiked the Devils Garden Trail out to Landscape Arch, walked around the Windows section for a bit, and then stopped at Park Avenue before returning to Moab for dinner.

Chris started shooting high dynamic range (HDR) photos at Arches.  HDR images are composed of several photos of the same subject shot with different exposures, and then blended together by HDR software in post-processing.  The human eye automatically adjusts to different light levels within the same view, but a camera can only shoot at one exposure per image, so some sections are either overexposed/washed out or underexposed/hidden in shadow.  Chris shot five photos per HDR blended image, with the middle image at the center exposure, two images above the center exposure at +1 and +2 stops, and two below the center exposure at -1 and -2 stops. This allows most areas in a frame to get properly exposed in at least one of the 5 images.  The HDR software then figures out which sections to use from each image and joins them into a single image.  He ended up taking almost 1000 HDR photos, meaning 5000 photos to make 1000 blended images.  Many of the photos from this point onwards are HDR images.

                                                   
Arches National Park - Landscape Arch, Delicate Arch, Windows, Park Avenue

     
Arches National Park, Windows - Double Arch


21 May 2018, Monday

Chris and Nathan started the day with a hike to Corona Arch, but turned around in the heat and the very busy trail.  They instead headed directly to Dead Horse Point State Park.


Dead Horse Point Panorama

Canyonlands National Park, Islands In The Sky section was next.  They stopped at Mesa Arch and joined the crowds on the short trail before continuing on to Grandview Point.  Nathan twisted his ankle badly while hiking out to Grandview Point, so they turned around and headed back to Moab.   A visit to the hospital confirmed it was just a badly twisted ankle, not broken.

             
Canyonlands National Park, Mesa Arch & Grandview Point

After dinner, Chris drove back out to Arches National Park, and hiked up to Delicate Arch for night photos.  It was bad weather conditions, cloudy and windy, so they did not turn out as well as Chris had hoped.

   
Delicate Arch at night


22 May 2018, Tuesday

Chris' sister Karen and her husband Doug were in southern Utah as well, camping and visiting parks.  They had just arrived at White House Campground, abut 40 miles east of Kanab on this morning.  Chris and Nathan checked out of the hotel in Moab and headed towards Kanab, UT.  They stopped in Goblin Valley State Park, and drove through Capital Reef National Park and Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument, before getting to Bryce Canyon National Park at sunset. They continued on to Kanab and arrived at White House Campground late. They camped with Karen and Doug for the next three days.  The White House Campground on the Pariah River is here, and is a trailhead for hikes down the Paria River to Lees Ferry, and for hikes into Buckskin Gulch.

             
Goblin Valley State Park

   
Capitol Reef National Park

   
Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument - Head Of The Rocks overlook across the Escalante River Gorge

                           
Bryce Canyon National Park sunset


23 May 2018, Wednesday

They all got up early and drove to White Pocket, an incredible set of rock formations in the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument.  It is similar to The Wave, but no permit is needed.  The ranger at the Paria River ranger station told Chris that White Pocket is prettier than The Wave, but Chris has not seen The Wave in person yet to judge for himself.  You need a high clearance 4WD to get to White Pocket, as there is deep sand for the last several miles.  After a long day of walking around White Pocket and taking lots of photos, they drove back to the campground for dinner and wine.  The wine was something we bought on sale at the state-line convenience store just north of Page, Arizona, and everyone did agree that it was ... 'something'.

Aerial video at White House Campground, east of Kanab, Utah.
Shot with a Cyclops Camera/DVR mounted on a flying wing.

GoPro video of the drive to White Pocket via House Rock Valley Road.
This was the route taken.

                                                                                             
White Pocket, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument


South Coyote Buttes Sunset Panorama


24 May 2018, Thursday

They decided to visit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on this day.  This is the route for their drive from White House Campground to the Grand Canyon North Rim via House Rock Valley Road, and then back via Kanab to the White House Campground.  On the way to the North Rim, they stopped at a viewpoint for California condors on House Rock Valley Road by the Vermillion Cliffs.  They arrived at the North Rim, got reservations for dinner at the lodge, then walked out to Bright Angel Point.  They visited Point Imperial and had a picnic lunch, then drove to the end of Cape Royal Road, before returning to Bright Angel Point at sunset and the lodge for dinner.  Then it was back to White House Campground via Kanab.

                 
Grand Canyon National Park, North Rim. Bright Angel Point & Point Imperial


Grand Canyon National Park, North Rim. Cape Royal Road

                               
Grand Canyon National Park, North Rim.  Cape Royal Road

                       
Grand Canyon National Park, North Rim. Bright Angel Point sunset


25 May 2018, Friday

Karen and Doug continued to explore the area around Kanab, while Chris and Nathan were headed to Salt Lake City.  This is a link to the route for their drive from White House Campground, Kanab, UT through Zion National Park to Salt Lake City, UT.  Chris and Nathan drove through Zion National Park, and stopped at a few viewpoints along Mt Carmel Road in the east section of Zion, through the Mt Carmel Tunnel, and down into the southern section of the main canyon. They did not get on the shuttle bus to enter the north part of the main canyon, and continued on through Springdale, west to I-15, and north to Salt Lake City.

   
Zion National Park.  Mt Carmel Road.

They arrived into Salt Lake City, checked into their hotel, and cleaned up after camping for the last several days.  They headed across town to Bombay House for an Indian food dinner, which was very good. Chris decided to stop into Temple Square on the way back to the hotel, to let Nathan see Temple Square.  They went into the Mormon Tabernacle to find an organ recital in progress. It was beautiful to listen to one of the best organists in the world playing on the giant organ in the Tabernacle.

 


26 May 2018, Saturday

Chris took Nathan to the airport, and Nathan flew home.  Chris returned to the hotel, just a few miles from the airport, and waited to make sure there were no delays with his flight.  After Chris was sure the plane was away, he checked out and headed south towards the San Rafael Swell in central Utah. This is a link to Chris' driving route for the next four days: Salt Lake City --> Wedge Overlook --> Crawford Draw --> Green River --> San Rafael Swell --> Little Wildhorse Canyon --> Diamond Fork Hot Springs --> Salt Lake City --> Dugway.  Several of the hiking destinations he had set aside for later in the trip are on the San Rafael Swell, and Chris still had three days before he was to arrive at Dugway Proving Grounds to begin flight testing.  The first stop was the Wedge Overlook at the north end of the San Rafael Swell; it is sometimes called the Little Grand Canyon.  You can camp right on the rim, which Chris did. It was a pretty evening and he hiked along the rim for a few miles before returning to camp for dinner and sleep.


Wedge Overlook

                             
Wedge Overlook


27 May 2018, Sunday

Chris got up and flew one of his RC planes out over the canyon to capture some aerial video just a bit after sunrise.  He then drove to Buckhorn Draw and drove south across the San Rafael Swell on Buckhorn Draw Road to I-70, and then a few miles further south on Temple Mount Road to Crawford Draw. 

Aerial video at the Wedge Overlook.
Shot with a Cyclops camera/DVR mounted on a small flying wing.

Video from a windshield-mounted GoPro, while driving Buckhorn Draw Road across the San Rafael Swell from north to south.

There are several locations with ancient pictographs in Buckhorn Draw.  One section is right next to the road a few miles north of the San Rafael River.  The information panel describes the painting and carvings as being separated by 1000 years, having been placed there by two separate cultures that far apart in time.

     
Pictographs in Buckhorn Draw

While driving Buckhorn Draw south across the San Rafael Swell, Chris crossed over the San Rafael River and stopped to fly a few of his planes to capture more aerial video.  The road crosses the river on a modern bridge, and right next to it is the original 'swinging' bridge from 1937, which is now open only for pedestrian traffic.  The scenery in these aerial videos is incredible, with immense buttes rising over a thousand feet from the valley floor.

 
San Rafael River Bridge, new bridge to the left, original swinging bridge from 1937 in center

Aerial video at the San Rafael River Bridge on Buckhorn Draw Road.
Shot with a Cyclops camera/DVR mounted on a small flying wing.

Aerial video at the San Rafael River Bridge on Buckhorn Draw Road.
Shot with a SJ4000 camera mounted on a 2M flying wing.

Chris drove across the north end of the San Rafael Swell on Buckhorn Draw Road to I-70, and then crossed under I-70 to get on Temple Mount Road.  A few miles south of I-70 is Crawford Draw slot canyon.   Chris spent a couple hours hiking through Crawford Draw, the first of many slot canyons he would hike on this trip.

Video from a head-mounted GoPro while hiking through Crawford Draw slot canyon.

                               
Crawford Draw

After finishing this hike in the extreme heat, Chris headed back to I-70 and drove to Green River, Utah to cool off and get gas for the car and food for himself.


This is the view at the I-70 rest area as I-70 cuts down through the San Rafael Reef on the east side of the San Rafael Swell.

 

While in the town of Green River, Chris drove to the Green River itself and watched some rafters come down the river.  He dropped his feet in the water to cool off at Swaseys Beach on the Green River, before driving towards Goblin Valley and Little Wildhorse Canyon, which he planned to hike the following day.  He camped here on Temple Mount Road, just inside the San Rafael Reef near Goblin Valley.  On the way up onto the San Rafael Swell, he stopped to fly one of his RC planes for more aerial video, and then flew that same plane in almost the same place the next morning.  There are two flights in this video; the first was on the evening of 27 May 2018 and the second was on the morning of 28 May 2018.

Video from a windshield-mounted GoPro while driving along the Green River on Hastings Road,
north of Swaseys Beach in Green River, Utah.

Aerial video from two flights in front of the San Rafael Reef, just north of Goblin Valley.
Shot with a SJ4000 camera mounted on a 2M flying wing.


View from Chris' tent on Temple Mount Road, San Rafael Swell, a few miles northwest of Goblin Valley

               
Sunset from Chris' campsite on the San Rafael Swell, Temple Mount Road


28 May 2018, Monday

After driving off the Reef on Temple Mount Road, Chris flew his morning RC flight from in front of the Reef, then drove on south and west about 10 miles to reach the trailhead for Little Wildhorse Canyon and Bell Canyon.  This is a very popular hike, and it is worth it.  Chris had not eaten yet, so while his breakfast was warming up on his cook stove, he flew another RC plane for some aerial video at the trailhead.  After a good breakfast, he set out on the loop route through both canyons.  He hiked the loop up Little Wildhorse Canyon and then down Bell Canyon. The loop route can be hiked either way and is about 8 miles long. The hiking video below shows the first few miles of Little Wildhorse Canyon, which is the neatest section of the hike.

If you plan to hike these canyons, carry plenty of water and don't be afraid to have to climb in a few places. It is not too bad, just 10 to 12 feet up a couple places. The highest climb is shown towards the end of this video at 30:15; it is a short climb to bypass a pour-off, up a dead tree that has been leaned up against the canyon wall.  Little Wildhorse Canyon is 4 miles long, then you hike out in the open on Behind The Reef Road for almost 2 miles to get to Bell Canyon, which is slightly over 2 miles long. Bell Canyon has its moments, but Little Wildhorse is the star of this hike. The lowest point on the hike is the trailhead at 4963 feet, and the highest point on the hike is on Behind The Reef Road at 5681 feet. You need a modified high clearance 4WD to drive on Behind The Reef Road, so vehicles are not common. Chris did not see any on this hike.


Video from a windshield-mounted GoPro while driving on Temple Mount Road off of the San Rafael Swell to Goblin Valley Road.




Aerial video from the Little Wildhorse Canyon trailhead.
Shot with a Cyclops camera/DVR mounted on a small flying wing.

Video from a head-mounted GoPro while hiking through Little Wildhorse Canyon.

                                                                 
Little Wildhorse Canyon

 
Behind The Reef Road


             
Bell Canyon

After quite a bit of hiking over the last few days, Chris decided to head to Salt Lake City to relax one day before he had to report to Dugway.  As this was Memorial Day, the last day of a 3-day weekend, lots of other people were headed back to Salt Lake City as well.  The road north from Price to Salt Lake City was packed, and not moving about 20 miles south of Spanish Fork.  Chris broke off the main road and headed up into the mountains, looking for a trail to a hot springs that a friend had told him about.  He found the parking lot, which was nearly full of cars of other people who had the same idea, quickly threw some stuff into his day pack, and began the 5 mile round-trip hike out to Diamond Fork Hot Springs, also called Fifth Water Hot Springs.  He soaked in the springs for a while, then walked back to his car in the dark.  Once he made it back to the main road, all the traffic was gone and it was a easy drive into Salt Lake City.

           
Diamond Fork / Fifth Water Hot Springs


29 May 2018, Tuesday

This was Chris' last day of vacation before he had to report to Dugway Proving Grounds for work.  He drove up into the mountains just east of Salt Lake City, into Big Cottonwood Canyon.  He did a little light hiking to the top of a mountain next to Guardsman Pass, which overlooks Big Cottonwood Canyon to the west and Park City to the east.  It has great views and the location is here.  He then drove back down into the canyon and did the short walk around Silver Lake, before returning to Salt Lake City and driving the last 100 miles to Dugway, where he stayed on post.


Panorama from above Guardsman Pass, top of Jupiter Bowl

         
Silver Lake


30 May 2018, Wednesday - 19 June 2018, Tuesday

Chris had flight testing at Dugway for several days, then flew home to Maryland for a week.  He flew back to Salt Lake City and drove out to Dugway on Sunday, 10 June.  Flight testing continued at Dugway starting on Monday, 11 June and continued to Tuesday, 19 June.  Chris stayed on post for this period.  Dugway is in the middle of nowhere, but the scenery is beautiful, so he visited places nearby when time allowed after work.

After work on the evening of Tuesday, 12 June 2018, Chris took one of his RC planes off-post to fly in Skull Valley.  After work on the evening of Saturday, 16 June 2018, Chris drove across the desert to the rebuilt Simpson Springs Pony Express Station and then to Lookout Pass, where a Pony Express Station had also existed, but is no longer there.  He flew some RC flights and captured aerial video at each location.

SJ4000 aerial video from Skull Valley - 12 June 2018

Aerial video at Simpson Springs Pony Express Station - 16 June 2018.
Shot with a Runcam Split Mini mounted on a 180-sized quadcopter.

Cyclops aerial video from Simpson Springs Pony Express Station & Lookout Pass - 16 June 2018

SJ4000 aerial video from Lookout Pass - 16 June 2018

         
Simpson Springs Pony Express Station


           
Lookout Pass

Chris had Sunday, 17 June 2018, off from work.  He and several of his friends had reservations for lunch at Red Iguana 2 in Salt Lake City. He drove into Salt Lake City via Johnson Pass and Toelle, and stopped to fly one of his RC planes.  He captured aerial video, but it was so windy that the video did not turn out well.  He walked around Temple Square and then drove to Red Iguana 2 for lunch with his friends.

 
Johnson Pass, just east of Dugway Proving Grounds

           
Temple Square, Salt Lake City


20 June 2018, Wednesday

Flight testing was done for this trip, so Chris headed to Salt Lake City to get new tires on his car and begin the second part of his hiking and camping vacation. This is a link to his route for the next three days: Dugway --> Salt Lake City --> Brian Head --> Cedar Breaks --> Red Cliffs --> Lava Point --> Kolob Reservoir --> Springdale at the entrance to Zion National Park.  The first stop after Salt Lake City was Cedar Breaks National Monument.  He drove through Brian Head and then to the top of Brian Head Peak, just a few miles from Cedar Breaks.  He camped that evening at Cedar Breaks campground.

Aerial video from Brian Head Peak.
Shot with a Cyclops camera/DVR.

Video from a windshield-mounted GoPro, while driving this ...
route from Brian Head Peak to the north viewpoint at Cedar Breaks National Monument.

       
View from Brian Head Peak to Cedar Breaks National Monument

                                                                         
Cedar Breaks National Monument


21 June 2018, Thursday

Chris went to the main viewpoint at Cedar Breaks for some sunrise photos, and then drove off the top of the plateau, headed towards Cedar City for breakfast and then on to Kanarraville.

                                       
Cedar Breaks National Monument

While descending off the plateau just south of Cedar Breaks, there is an overlook with a view across the terrain above Zion National Park.  In the distance, you can see the top of the rocks above Zion Canyon in these photos.  This area is the drainage basin for the Virgin River, which cut Zion Canyon.

       
Overlook south of Cedar Breaks, views above Zion National Park to the south

Kanarraville, Utah is a small town just off of I-15, about 15 minutes south of Cedar City.  The water source for this town is a stream that flows through a slot canyon and a spring fed by the waters coming off the mountain.  In the last few years, the slot canyon above the town has been discovered as a incredible hiking destination.  To accommodate the large influx of hikers, the town has had to build parking areas at the base of the trail. They have also had to charge for this and the maintenance needed to maintain the trail, but the price is well worth it, as the hike is great and the slot canyon has some beautiful views.

Video from a head-mounted GoPro while hiking Kanarraville Falls, Utah.

                                                                           

Chris drove south on I-15 towards Zion National Park.  He decided to stop in Red Cliffs Recreation Area to check out a hiking trail he had read about.  It is a trail up a small creek just to the west of Hurricane and the photos on-line looked inviting. Unfortunately, conditions were so dry that the creek had no water at all and it was above 100 degrees, so he decided to skip this hike and continue on to Zion.


Red Cliffs Campground

Chris has been to Zion National Park many times, but he has never driven around and visited Kolob Terrace and Lava Point, the area above the main canyon.  He did get a ride on a hiking shuttle to the trailhead for West Rim Trail at Lava Point several years earlier, but did not see anything of the area, as the ride was early in the morning just to get directly to the trailhead for an all-day hike back down into Zion Canyon. He decided to drive up onto Kolob Terrace for this day, and explore.  He visited Lava Point and Kolob Reservoir, and many viewpoints along the road.  He particularly liked the views looking north from Hop Valley Trailhead and looking southwest from Wildcat Canyon Trailhead.  This spot on Kolob Terrace Road has fantastic views looking southeast across Zion, especially at sunset with the light playing across the rocks.  The Lava Point campground was full, so he camped on BLM land on Smith Mesa, just to the west of Kolob Terrace Road.

Aerial video at Kolob Reservoir, shot with an SJ4000 camera mounted on a 2M flying wing.


Lava Point panorama, looking northeast


Lava Point panorama, looking southeast

                 
Views from Lava Point


         
Views from Wildcat Canyon Trailhead and Hop Valley Trailhead 

                   
Views from Kolob Terrace Road at this viewpoint


22 June 2018, Friday

Chris packed up camp and drove to the main entrance of Zion National Park in Springdale.  It was before 9 AM, but the park was packed.  The main parking lot area by the visitor center was full, but the Nature Center, just a short distance away, still had room.  Chris walked back to the visitor center to get on the shuttle bus to ride to Angels Landing, only to find a very long line.  The first two minutes of the GoPro Angels Landing video below shows the line as it stretched from the entrance station to shuttle bus stop #1 next to the visitor centers.  Instead of waiting in this very long line, he walked to shuttle bus stop #2 at the Zion Human History Museum, about a mile away, and got on the shuttle there with no wait at all.  He asked someone on the bus how long they had waited at stop #1; it was almost two hours.  He explained to them what to do the next day to avoid that line.  Chris rode the bus to the Grotto stop and proceeded on his hike to the top of Angels Landing.  This was the third time he has climbed Angels Landing.  He took along a GoPro and a Gear 360, and recorded most of the climb from Scout Lookout onwards.  The GoPro video starts out by showing the long line at the park's entrance, then the entire climb up and down from Scout Lookout to the top of Angels Landing, and finally Chris cooling off in the Virgin River at the end of the hike.  The Gear 360 videos breaks it up into five pieces; parts 1 to 4 show the climb to the top, and part 5 shows a panorama from the top and then a short section of the climb back down, as the trail crosses the narrow backbone of rocks as you approach Scout Lookout from above. Part 5 is the best of these videos for view and scare factor.  After relaxing in the Virgin River for a while, Chris continued on his hike along the Kayenta Trail to the Emerald Pools and to Zion Lodge, where he caught the shuttle bus back to the visitor center.

Gear 360 video of Angels Landing - Part 1


Gear 360 video of Angels Landing - Part 2



Gear 360 video of Angels Landing - Part 3



Gear 360 video of Angels Landing - Part 4



Gear 360 video of Angels Landing - Part 5


GoPro video of climb up and down Angels Landing.

                                 


Angels Landing

                 
Kayenta Trail & Emerald Pools

             
Zion Lodge

                   
Zion Canyon and Mt Carmel Road

He rode the shuttle back to the visitor center, walked to his car, and then drove into Springdale for dinner at Pizza & Noodles, the restaurant we always eat at when visiting Zion.  The view from the outside deck is always great.  After dinner, he drove the Mt Carmel Road and then on to Kanab, where he checked into a hotel for the night.  This is a link to his route for the next several days; Springdale --> Kanab --> White House Campground --> Wire Pass Trailhead --> White House Campground --> Page --> White House Campground --> Grosvenor Arch --> Tropic --> Bryce Canyon --> Hole In The Rock, Fortymile Ridge Road.
View while eating dinner on the deck at Pizza & Noodles

23 June 2018, Saturday

Chris drove from Kanab to the White House Campground, where he and Nathan had camped with Karen and Doug early in the trip. He set up his tent to claim a camping spot, then hiked out to Nautilus slot, just a short distance from the campground.  It is very small slot, less than 100 feet long, but it has an interesting shape and colors.  He then drove to House Rock Valley Road and to the Wire Pass Trailhead to begin his hike through Buckskin Gulch.

Video from a Gear 360 at Nautilus Slot.

     
Nautilus Slot

Wire Pass is one entry point into Buckskin Gulch, the longest slot canyon in the United States. The slot canyon section is over 13 miles long. Chris spent many hours and saw about 5 miles of it, along with the slot canyon portion of Wire Pass.  It all sits within Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument in Utah, with the Paria River slot section extending south into the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, reaching Lee's Ferry on the Colorado River.  After hiking back out at sunset, he drove back to White House Campground for dinner and sleep.

Video from a head-mounted GoPro while hiking through Wire Pass and Buckskin Gulch.

                     
Wire Pass


                                                                                                                                                             
Buckskin Gulch


24 June 2018, Sunday

Chris got up and flew one of his planes and a quadcopter to capture some aerial video of the very dry Paria River, then packed up and drove to Page, Arizona.

Aerial video from White House Campground, east of Kanab, Utah.
Shot with a SJ4000 Camera mounted on a flying wing.

Aerial video from White House Campground, east of Kanab, Utah.
Shot with a Runcam Split Mini mounted on a 180-sized quadcopter.

He stopped at Lone Rock Beach on Lake Powell in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area to see if it would work as a good camping spot, then continued on to Glen Canyon Dam and Page.  He got reservations for an Upper Antelope Canyon tour the next day, then went back to Wahweap Marina to get on the Rainbow Bridge National Monument boat tour.

   
Rocks just above Glen Canyon Dam

The Rainbow Bridge National Monument boat tour takes over 5 hours, as it is almost 50 miles by water one-way from the marina.  There were lots of spots left on the afternoon tour, so the boat was pretty empty on this trip.  Once the boat docks, it is almost a mile up to Rainbow Bridge and a little bit further if you walk behind the bridge, as Chris and only a few other people did. You have 1.5 hours from docking to when the boat leaves, but the tour personnel do a very good job of keeping track of people; one of the guides walks all the way to the end of the trail behind Rainbow Bridge to make sure no one is left behind when he starts back towards the boat.

Video from a head-mounted GoPro while hiking at Rainbow Bridge and from a SJ4000 camera mounted to the boat as we left Rainbow Bridge.

                     

After returning to Wahweap Marina, it was almost sunset. Chris drove along the lake to a good viewpoint to get sunset photos, then went into Page for dinner, and returned to Lone Rock Beach to camp right next to the water.

                   
Wahweap Sunset


25 June 2018, Monday

He took some morning photos at Lone Rock Beach just after sunrise, then drove to Horseshoe Bend just south of Page.


Lone Rock Beach Panoramas

Video from a Gear 360 at Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River, Page, Arizona.

     
Horseshoe Bend on Colorado River, south of Page, Arizona.

Antelope Canyon has two sections; lower and upper. You park at the entrance to Lower Antelope Canyon, but must get a ride through deep sand along Antelope Wash to get to Upper Antelope Canyon.  Chris had reservations for the afternoon tour at Upper Antelope Canyon, and hoped for an empty spot on a morning tour at Lower Antelope Canyon.  He walked up and asked for the first available tour for one person. He was very lucky, as the next tour still had one spot left.  If you do enter any tours on Navajo Nation land on the same day, make sure you only pay the Navajo Nation entry fee ($8 / day) once, as it is good for all locations on a single day.  Lower Antelope Canyon requires some climbing on ladders and stairs; these photos are from Lower Antelope Canyon on the 9:45 tour.

                                                                                                               
Lower Antelope Canyon.

Chris went into Page to get lunch near the Upper Antelope Canyon tour office, and then got on the tour shuttle to Upper Antelope Canyon.  Upper Antelope Canyon is flat, with no climbing. The video and photos below are from Upper Antelope Canyon.

Video from a head-mounted SJ4000 camera while riding to and hiking through Upper Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona.

                                                                       
Upper Antelope Canyon

After this tour, Chris got some dinner and then visited Glen Canyon Dam. He went to Wahweap Beach at Lake Powell and relaxed while swimming at sunset.  He then drove back to White House Campground for the night. This was the fifth and final night he camped at White House Campground on this trip.

         
Glen Canyon Dam

Video from a hand-held SJ4000 camera while swimming in Lake Powell at sunset.


26 June 2018, Tuesday

Chris drove north along Cottonwood Canyon Road, headed towards Tropic, Utah, where he had hotel reservations for the night.  He stopped at Cottonwood Narrows and hiked for several hours, then continued on to Grosvenor Arch, and finally made it to Tropic.  He checked in, cleaned up, and then drove up to Bryce Canyon National Park for sunset and then dinner in Bryce before returning to his hotel.

Video from a windshield-mounted SJ4000 while driving from south to north on Cottonwood Canyon Road.

     
Cottonwood Canyon Road

Gear 360 video while hiking Cottonwood Narrows along Cottonwood Canyon Road - Part 1.

Gear 360 video while hiking Cottonwood Narrows along Cottonwood Canyon Road - Part 2.

                                                       
Cottonwood Narrows, Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument

Aerial video at Grosvenor Arch, Utah, shot with a Runcam Split Mini mounted on a 180-size quadcopter.

                 
Grosvenor Arch, Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument


Bryce Canyon National Park Sunset

                                                                                     
Bryce Canyon National Park Sunset


27 June 2018, Wednesday

Chris drove to the Escalante ranger station and got an overnight permit for Coyote Gulch the next night, then had lunch at a restaurant in town that he and Tami had liked when they drove through Escalante in 2017.  He went to Head Of The Rocks Overlook, flew one his planes, and then began the drive down Hole In The Rock Road towards the last hikes he had planned for this trip; Devils Garden, Dry Fork slots, and Coyote Gulch.  Chris has a special warning below for anyone deciding to drive on Hole In The Rock Road.

SJ4000 aerial video from Escalante River Gorge, a few miles from Head Of The Rocks Overlook


Head Of The Rocks Overlook, Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument


Hole In The Rock Road, Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument

 

This was the second time that Chris has driven Hole In The Rock Road.  On this trip in June 2018, Chris drove almost 40 miles on Hole In The Rock Road to Fortymile Ridge Road to reach the trailheads for Coyote Gulch.   On his previous visit in August 2016 he drove all the way to the end of the road and visited the actual Hole In The Rock above the Colorado River.

This unpaved road is almost 60 miles long and reaches a gap in the rocks where a path descends 1000 feet to the Colorado River.  This route was originally taken by the San Juan Expedition in 1880, on their way to establish the town of Bluff on the San Juan River in southern Utah. A trip which was expected to take six weeks instead took six months.  While it took much longer than expected to reach their destination, no one died on the journey, two children were born, and they did establish Bluff which is still there to this day.

Hole In The Rock Road is evil.  It is terrible in so many distinct ways that it is many times worse than the sum of its part.  Small sections of it are no worse than any other dirt road, but it goes on FOREVER.  It is washboarded almost the entire length, with different kinds of washboard.  Some washboards are made of loose dirt, some sections of washboard are made of large rocks and gravel, some sections of washboard are made of sand.  They all require different speeds, and they change continuously.  There are a few places where the sand is fine and like talcum powder; on one section you have to keep your speed up to avoid bogging down in the fine powder, in another section the fine talcum-like powder hides deep holes that conceal large rocks over which you have to drive VERY slowly or risk snapping an axle or popping a tire.  A few short sections are smooth, only to be interrupted by layers of rock that have sharp edges that will puncture a tire if you hit an exposed edge of rock a little wrong.

On your way south out of Escalante, you won't notice just how bad it is, as you are headed towards Devils Garden, or the Dry Fork slots, or Coyote Gulch, or any of the really cool places along the route, and you are excited to get there.  However, when you are done with your one day or multiple day exploration along the road, you will be headed north back to Escalante with only one thought on your mind - "Please make it stop."  The road just goes on and on and on, and the washboarding never ends.  If you speed up to try to get to the 'washboard speed' to slightly decrease the constant shaking, you will suddenly hit a patch of some other form of road badness which will make your speed a liability for your tires and axles.

The things to see and do along Hole In The Rock Road make the entire trip worth it, as there are some incredible hikes and views.  Just realize you will be swearing at the road on your entire way back north towards Escalante.

The first stop was Devils Garden, about 12 miles down Hole In The Rock Road.  There are lots of hoodoos and a couple small arches at Devils Garden.

                       

The next stop was the Dry Fork slots, about 25 miles down Hole In The Rock Road.  Chris had visited here before and hiked Dry Fork and Peek-A-Boo.  On this trip, Chris hiked Spooky and then Peek-A-Boo. 

Video from a head-mounted GoPro while hiking Spooky and Peek-A-Boo slot canyons on Hole In The Rock Road.

                                                                     
Spooky and Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyons

It was getting late into the afternoon when he got back to his car.  He continued on south to Fortymile Ridge Road, which is actually 37.5 miles down Hole In The Rock Road. He drove out along Fortymile Ridge Road for several miles and found a high spot next to the road, about a mile short of the tank trailhead for Coyote Gulch.  He flew one of his RC planes and then enjoyed one of the most beautiful sunsets he has ever seen. The sun was setting in the west, and the full moon was rising in the east directly opposite the setting sun.  The timing was perfect, as he watched the light bounce off of Navajo Mountain 25 miles to the south and the edge of the Kaiparowits Plateau 10 miles to the west.

SJ4000 aerial video at Fortymile Ridge Road, sunset and sunrise the next morning

                               


28 June 2018, Thursday

Chris flew his plane one last time for a sunrise video across the Escalante River canyons, and then drove the last mile to the tank trailhead for Coyote Gulch.  He packed his backpack for an overnight stay, and began the walk east to Crack In The Wall, which is the east entrance into Coyote Gulch.  Crack In The Wall descends about 60 feet down a section of rock that has broken off the edge of the cliffs, and then you hike down the face of a 700 foot high sand dune all the way to Coyote Gulch.  You can also reach the Escalante River or hike across it and up to Stevens Arch.  The view from Crack In The Wall by itself is almost enough for the entire hike, but there is so much more along this hike to see that you will never get bored.  He spent the whole day slowly hiking west along the bottom of Coyote Gulch, passing waterfalls, side canyons, and natural arches and bridges.  The neatest site along the route was Coyote Natural Bridge.  He finally reached Jacob Hamblin Arch, where he camped for the night under the arch.

Coyote Gulch - Part 1 - Entry via Crack In The Wall.

Coyote Gulch - Part 2 - Up The Gulch.

                                                                       
Coyote Gulch 

           
Coyote Gulch, Jacob Hamblin Arch


Coyote Gulch, Jacob Hamblin Arch


29 June - 1 July 2018: Drive Hole In The Rock, Fortymile Ridge Road --> Denver --> Columbia --> Charleston --> Home

29 June 2018, Friday

This was Chris' last day of hiking, and it started out with a bang. The middle route out of Coyote Gulch is a class V climb via the Jacob Hamblin Arch exit, also called the sneaker route.  About 150 feet of this climb is listed as class V, meaning climbing equipment is needed.   When Chris climbed out, there was rope strung up from a tie-in point, but Chris has carried 100' of rope in case that did not happen.  He had planned to take off his pack, free climb up a section, pull up his pack, and repeat. Because there already was rope in place, he went ahead and climbed up with his pack on.  It was still scary, realizing that a slip would mean a dangerous fall.  You can see this climb in the video below "Coyote Gulch - Part 3".  After he reached the relatively level slickrock well above the canyon on the way back to the tank parking area, he took a few photos out across Coyote Gulch and the Escalante River basin.

Coyote Gulch - Part 3 - Exit at Jacob Hamblin Arch.


Looking northeast across Coyote Gulch and the Escalante River basin

He made it back to his car, drank some cold water waiting for him in his cooler, and began the long drive home.  First stop after escaping Hole In The Rock Road was Head Of The Rocks overlook, then he went east and north across the Escalante Gorge, Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument, before stopping in Torrey for lunch.  Then he drove east crossing Capitol Reef National Park, and north past Goblin Valley to reach I-70.  He continue on east on I-70, making it 500 miles that day, stopping in Denver for the night.  He stopped at two rest areas in Glenwood Canyon on I-70 in Colorado for rest and photos.

Video from a windshield-mounted SJ4000 while driving from south to north across the Escalante River Gorge in Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument.

 
Head Of The Rocks Overlook, Escalante River Gorge

Video from a windshield-mounted SJ4000 while driving from west to east across Capitol Reef National Park.

 
Capitol Reef National Park

             
Glenwood Canyon, Colorado on I-70


30 June 2018 to 01 July 2018, Saturday to Monday  / 11 to 17 July 2018, Wednesday to Tuesday

Chris drove 730 miles from Denver, Colorado to Columbia, Missouri on Saturday. He continued on for 620 miles to Charleston, West Virginia on Sunday, and the last 400 miles to home on Monday.  Just 10 days after getting home from this long trip, we all drove to Destin, Florida for Tami's sister's wedding.  We spent 7 days on this trip from Maryland --> Soddy Daisy --> Destin --> Atlanta --> Maryland, spending the first night at Chris' sister's house in Tennessee on the way down.  Total mileage on Chris' car in two months was slightly over 10000 miles.