Thursday looked like the best weather for central Utah so I loaded up my pickup and headed south to Goblin Valley State Park just north of Hanksville, Utah. Temperatures were in the high 50’s so that was close enough to call it shirt sleeve weather.

Heading west from Goblin Valley, I stopped at the trailhead for Ding and Dang Canyons so I could send my drone flying over the San Rafael Swell reef a couple of times.

I then continued south and west down the rough 4X4 trail until the trail became smoother in the Bentonite Hills. This was another good place for me to fly my drone and get some aerial video.

Next came the Muddy River crossing, which is always fun. This crossing changes after every flash flood (sometimes several times each year.) This time the crossing had to be moved about a hundred feet away from the traditional crossing. Luckily the crossing wasn’t as muddy as it looked and I was soon on safe ground on the other bank. The new trail then navigates through the willows and brush back to the south until it joins the old road again.

I explored west along Salt Wash and the North Caineville Reef. Again I stopped several times to fly my drone and take some pictures of the unique hills and strata found there.

I wanted to see if there were any jeep trails that would take me closer to where the Muddy River cuts through the San Rafael reef near Hidden Splendor. There aren’t any from this side of the reef so it looks like I will need to come back and do some hiking to get close enough to use my drone and video that part of the reef.

The day was very agreeable though a thin layer of clouds kept it from being completely clear. I’m not sure if a thin cloud layer acting like a giant light box actually improves the picture or not.

I ended the day near Factory Butte where I attempted to fly to the sunset light side of the butte which turned out to be 9200 feet away.

The view from the drone was amazing!

I then had trouble getting the drone back again before the battery ran out and it insisted on landing about 200 feet away. I was able to interrupt the landing process and hand pluck it out of the air as it hovered before landing. If I hadn’t spent so much time at the furthest point taking a number of different kinds of pictures, I would have had plenty of power to get back. (I think 1 3/4 mile away is my new record flight distance.)

Sunset still comes fairly early giving me plenty of time to drive back to Orem in the dark and arriving home about 10 PM.

A GOOD day!