The Bentonite and Blue Hills of Utah form one of the most dramatic and unique landscapes in the United States. Areas of eastern Oregon and Chile and Peru have similar, mineral- layered landscapes. These landscapes are on BLM land and accessible by high-clearance, 4WD vehicles when the ground is DRY. After a rain, even a short shower, they become impassable. Some of the areas are designated by the BLM as off-road vehicle "playgrounds" as there is not vegetation or wildlife to damage. Others are managed as "hike-in" only off designated trailheads. In late May, noon-time temperatures were in the low 80's. Summer temperatures are much higher, of course.
In one area, there is a private "Mars-like" research station where inhabitants try to live in conditions as close as possible to the planet Mars.
In a very hard-to-find area is the Blue Hills Spire, which was a totally unique experience. After a two-mile hike, one turns up a canyon on a large curve, and the Spire rises out of the barren earth in it's own amphitheater. In the early morning as the sun rose, we experienced a completely calm and silent atmosphere. I could hear the soft message vibrations on Nancy's Fitbit standing five feet away. As John Denver used to say, "FAR OUT".
This area is a drone pilot's dream. I only "lost' the drone once and thanks to Nancy found it with minimal wear and tear. One of the scariest scenarios for drone flyers is when your controller says, "I have lost signal with the drone." All my videos are two minutes or less.
Note the small person (me) in the bottom of this photo, piloting the drone. This will lend a sense of scale to this landscape.
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