Jone’s Hole & High Uintahs

Trailhead: NAD83 zone 12 664487e 4494449n Elev: 5500' 

September 2001
Andra came out for a second visit in mid-September. I was staying in Park Housing at that point with Jeremy and Melissa, so she drove right to the house instead of me meeting her somewhere. She arrived early afternoon after leaving early from work. She had cut her hair very short and it was a shock after 4 years of knowing her with relatively long hair. She was also fighting a head cold, so was not feeling great. Pizza was called for, of course, so off to Vernal we went to dine at Five Buck Pizza where all pizzas are said price. It was good pizza, although a little heavy on the cheddar cheese. To me, the verdict is still out on cheddar cheese-topped pizzas. I insisted we stop at the grocery mart for ice cream so we did. She insisted we stop at the gas station for windshield cleaner, so we did. It was dark by the time we got back to the house. We watched Citizen Kane and ate ice cream. 

The next morning we left for Jone’s Hole to backpack. I had camped there only a couple of weeks earlier with Dave, and enjoyed the place very much. Andra and I had intended on camping there while she was visiting in August, but there were no more permits left, so we had to camp elsewhere, which is when we ended up at Crouse Canyon. We had our permits this time. The road we followed dropped down steeply into Jone’s Hole where one of the few whirling disease-free national fish hatcheries is based. They raise trout of different types. We watched a guy throw food into the water and then watched the water boil with anxious fish snapping up their ground-up cousins. 

We made it to the campground in little time, and quickly made it up to Butt Dam Falls where Andra proved that you could indeed dam the waterfall by sitting in the rock channel above it.  Science in action. Hypothesis proven correct. 

butt dam in effect
breach of dam
Andra at Ely Falls
The Labyrinth, Jones Hole
We did some aimless hiking around the rocks and explored more of the Labyrinth. Andra became very tired and I left her alone to nap while I bushwhacked up the canyon into heavily vegetated deep crevices carved in the sandstone. I was impressed to find such large Douglas firs in such a dry region, but there they were, seeming more like the dinosaurs the park was named after. I found some really entertaining places, but after an hour felt I should get back to Andra. When I returned, she was still sleeping, but my appraoch woke her up. It had clouded up and sprinkled a bit while I was gone. We walked back to camp and went to bed shortly after. 

The bold young ram who chased me offThe next day we left camp early, and encountered a herd of around 30 bighorn sheep just off the trail. We stayed and watched for a bit until a big ram came walking resolutely right down to the cliffside to where I was standing. When he got to within 30 feet or so, we left. After we completed the trail, we drove up north into the Uintah mountains. It clouded up for a few hours, but then the sun came out again. We stopped and hiked around a beaver pond and into a beautiful aspen forest (more aspen in one place than I’d ever seen). Our hiking wasn’t very serious, and we had no destination overall. We just stopped at anything that looked interesting, and walked around a bit. One of the places we stopped was the area where I had camped during fire school. I was disappointed to see that they had never set the prescribed burn we had dug line for. Perhaps the fire season was too intense to have time for that burn. It was a nice afternoon. When the sun was out the golden aspen leaves were brilliant against the blue sky. Unfortunately the demands of work forced us to cut short our carefree exploration of the Uintahs. We stopped at a Mexican restaraunt on the west side of Vernal that turned out to be not so great. Back at the house, we hiked in the dusk around the park housing area and climbed the rock formations to the south. 

Near Flaming George Res

Andra stayed another night at the house, feeling worse than before. The following morning we took a short hike around to the north of the housing area, but she was feeling so terrible it wasn't very long before we were back inside. She took a nap, then had to leave for the Fort. 

Imagery from this, and other, trip locations is available for sale in the Utah album at


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Page created July 25, 2002
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