Tag Archives: Road Trip

Natural Bridges Part 1: The San Rafael Swell and Glen Canyon Roadtrip

When doing the big Southern Utah loop through the National Parks I realized half a day in Natural Bridges was not enough and vowed to go back. The added benefit is I could plan a roadtrip down through San Rafael Swell, Upper Glen Canyon, and leave past Comb Ridge, Canyonlands, and Moab.

Open field
Golden waves of grain

Although the goal was to hike Natural Bridges, getting there is half the fun. Plus some big beautiful storm clouds were chasing me out of Northern Utah. I checked weather.gov beforehand and the storm hitting the north wouldn’t impact me in the south.

Mile marker 68.99 instead of 69.
I guess the alternative was getting stolen too often.

It took me a few second to figure out why they wouldn’t be able to post mile marker 69??…
Oh!  Now I get it!

Barren Landscape in San Rafael
Barren Landscape

It was slightly longer to take I-70 to the monument but I wanted to drive through San Rafael Swell to scout for a future trip. After descending through pine mountains you come out on the barren desert plateau.

San Rafael Swell
Looking over the San Rafael Swell

The San Rafael Swell is currently BLM land very popular with ATV and slot canyon explorers. So far oil and gas interests haven’t been encroaching, but if any unprotected place in Utah is befitting a being elevated to National Park status it’s this place. If you like any of the Utah Mighty 5 parks, you’ll love San Rafael Swell.

Long Straight Road
The Long Straight Road

After I-70 breaks through the broken edge of the Swell it’s a long straight ride across the desert plains that separate the Swell from Canyonlands and the Green and Colorado Rivers.

Slickrock dunes
Slickrock dunes

After a last chance for gas in Hanksville more southward travel changes from desert plains as you start to cut down through the slickrock towards the canyons of the Colorado River. This area is prime slot canyon territory.

Glen Canyon Monuments
Glen Canyon Monuments

The Colorado River sliced through the sedimentary rock carving complex canyons into the desert named Glen Canyon. Covering much of the southern portion of Utah.

The north end of Lake Powell
The north end of Lake Powell

In 1966 Glen Canyon dam was completed 185 river miles away creating Lake Powell. It’s difficult to define where the river ends and the lake begins but Hite crossing is generally considered the north end of Lake Powell. The Lake used to cover the surrounding floodplains but recent drought has left the marina high and dry.

Hite Bridge
Hite Bridge crosses the Colorado

Even though it slices through nearly a quarter of the state the Colorado River only has 3 drive-able river crossings in Utah. Hite and nearby Dirty Devil Bridges were considered “The world’s most beautiful bridges” when completed in 1966. I don’t know about that but the setting could definitely sway the vote.

 Red Rock Plateau
Straight to Red Rock Plateau

After the flat desert plain it’s easy to see why this area of Utah is known as Canyon Country.

Milky Way Galaxy and ISS
The International Space Station crosses the Milky Way

Natural Bridges was the worlds first “International Dark Sky Park.” There are few places with as low of light pollution as this. And in summer the core of the Milky Way is in full view, occasionally the International Space Station and the odd satellite make an appearance as well.

 

Here’s the full roadtrip and all the pictures from the trip:

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New Lightroom CC has native RAW support for Olympus OMD E-M5 Mk II

And not a minute too soon.

Last week I got my new OMD E-M5 Mark II (Electric Boogaloo) and this weekend went on a 3 day Photo Trip down Scenic Utah State Route 12, the Journey Through Time Scenic Byway.  Being the first big trip out I was keen to try out all the cool features, the High-Res mode being at the top of the list.

Then I got home and found that Lightroom didn’t support anything off the camera except JPEGs.  I was able to convert the normal RAW files to DNG using Adobe’s standalone DNG converter but the High-Res .ORI shots weren’t recognized.  So I installed and fired up Olympus Viewer 3 to export the high res files to a format that was supported only to find I couldn’t get it to export to TIFF either.

Then today Adobe released Lightroom 6 (CC 2015).  The release notes don’t mention what support for new cameras are available but after a download, install, and catalog conversion I re-imported all my vacation shots.  All of the RAW files loaded, and better still the High-Res .ORI files imported with no problem.

Basically all is good in the world again.  I feel kind of sorry for all the EM5 part 2 owners who have been doing workarounds for the last 3 months; mostly because I didn’t have to put up with any of that.  Adobe timed the release perfect for me (Sorry fellas!).

Calf Creek Sunset
GSE NP Sunset with Indian Paint Brush.