Jolly’s Ranch, Utah

On September 24, 2021, we spent two wonderful evenings with family at Jolly’s Ranch. The city of Springville, Utah, manages this campground. Most sites have electrical hookups for an additional $5 per night. Our campsite was on the north side of the campground road against the creek. The campground is heavily wooded, affording significant shade from the summer heat.

The good and bad of camping this close to home is that people come and go for various tasks and activities. We had children that left with grandchildren for soccer games, softball games, bicycle rides, etc. Camping close enables those with lots of other stuff going on to come, but they are away a significant amount of the time. We made the best of it and enjoyed it thoroughly.

This time of year was a stunning time to be in the canyon. We arrived on Friday and wished we were a week later to enjoy the fall colors more fully. However, over the next two days, we watched the colors emerge. By the time we left, the trees in the canyon were filled with red, orange, pink, and yellow leaves. The ground became covered with leaves of every color—what an excellent time to camp. The days were warm, the nights were fantastic, and the scenery was beautiful. I hope this becomes a family tradition. Thanks to our daughter for taking the initiative and setting this up.

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Boondocking in the Uinta Mountains – AGAIN, Utah

On September 1, 2021, we did something we have never done before. We pulled our trailer to the same campsite we stayed at last month, set it up, and then left it there for our return the next day. It made me a bit nervous, but it worked out just fine and it was nice returning the next day with nothing to do but enjoy the place.

On Thursday we traveled to our site via I-15 north to I-84 and then I-80 south to Colesville, Utah, and then east on East Chalk Creek Road. Little did we know that the road was going to be gravel, dirt, and mud. Fortunately, we took a short wrong turn and ended up near 40.997804, -111.046955 which is the corner where Wyoming digs into Utah, kind of interesting. We arrived at our site just after dark, and fortunately, it was all set up, safe, and sound, and just needed us and a little heat to make it our home.

Since it was labor day weekend, we were excited about our four-night stay. The site is located at 40.805360, -110.874998. As mentioned in our last post, this site is a lovely spot right on the Hayden Fork of the Bear River. The view from our trailer was phenomenal, as pictured. The site was quite level and required nothing more than our new leveling wedges. The following picture illustrates how close we were to the river and how level and easy the site was to occupy.

Comparing the photos in this post and our previous post you can see that the river was much lower this week and fall is on its way at this 9000′ location. On Friday we traveled to nearby Lily Lake and fished from our tubes. The fishing was pretty good and the lake was beautiful. It’s a bit of a drive up a dirt road, but it also afforded us an opportunity to discover a new dump station that is clean and free. We also fished Butterfly Lake, the Hayden Fork, and took a Sunday drive to see Whitney Reservoir and Beaver Lake.

This was a great trip. We slept in each day, fished, played board games, watched movies, and ate great food. It was the last of summer in the Uintas. The highs were in the mid 60’s and the lows in the low 30’s and froze one or two nights. It was simply beautiful and relaxing.

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Boondocking in the Uinta Mountains, Utah

On August 19, 2021, we left for a three-night stay at a boondocking site we identified last year in this same area. The site is located at 40.805360, -110.874998. We had no reservations but were open to staying in the Washington Lake campground, returning to the last location where we camped, or trying something new in this area. We found the location available and moved right in. It is a lovely spot right on the Hayden Fork of the Bear River. The view from our trailer was phenomenal, as pictured. The site was quite level and required nothing more than our new leveling wedges. The following picture illustrates how close we were to the river and how level and easy the site was to occupy. We’ll certainly return to this site.

We fished the Hayden Fork for a few hours on Thursday with no luck at all. We used our float tubes and fished on the nearby Butterfly Lake for nearly 9 hours on Friday. On Saturday, the weather was not cooperative, and we spent most of the day in the trailer reading, playing games, watching movies, etc. We ventured out between 6 pm and 8 pm to fish the river and found some success. Shortly after returning, a huge black cloud approached, it got very dark, and the lightning, thunder, and hail began. We enjoyed listening to the hail on the trailer’s roof and hunkered down for a cozy and relaxing evening. Sunday morning was beautiful, sunny, and warmed quickly. Again, we spent a relaxing day before returning home to the events of another week.

This was a quick and relaxing trip. We slept in each day, fished, played board games, watched movies, and ate great food. It was the last of summer in the Uintas. The highs were in the mid 60’s and the lows in the high 30’s. While I don’t think it has yet frozen at this location, there were very few insects and virtually no mosquitos. It was simply beautiful and relaxing.

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Riverside Campground, Idaho

On June 14, 2021, we traveled to one of our favorite campgrounds, Riverside in Idaho. This was our first outing of 2021 and is one of the latest starts to a camping season we have had. We’ve been to Riverside Campground many times. We had reservations for site A1 for 14 days and looked forward to a very relaxing stay. It isn’t our favorite site, but we wanted our family members and friends to have the nicer spots. It is such a lovely place, but the weather in July is a bit warm for not using the AC. It was a bit smoky at times due to the Oregon and California wildfires, but that didn’t hinder us from floating the river, fishing, etc.

Site A1 is across the campground road from the Henry’s Fork River, and site A2, a lovely site, is right across the road. The site has plenty of room. Loops A and B are paved in this campground, while loop C has gravel roads and parking spots. Loop C is a bit more primitive, and that’s intriguing, but the forest is a bit thinner, resulting in less privacy between sites. Just writing about the place makes me want to return.

While at Riverside, we spent a little time each day fishing. The fishing wasn’t great, but we had fun and enjoyed passing the time doing something we love to do together. Unfortunately, we were told the fishing at Henry’s Lake wasn’t any good this year, so yet again, we didn’t go. We’ll get there another day. During the first week of our stay, we had friends join us. During the second week, we had family join us. Both were so much fun to interact with; we look forward to doing it again.

On June 28th, we had to pack up and leave. We ate at Maddox Ranch House for dinner and headed home. Unfortunately, along our route, our right rear tire on the trailer had a blowout. We successfully pulled to the right on the freeway, a highway patrol officer helped us out, but the blowout caused significant cosmetic damage to the trailer. The damage will have to be fixed, but it won’t keep us from camping until it is.

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Boondocking in the Uinta Mountains, Utah

On August 27, 2020, we left for a three-night stay somewhere in Utah’s Uinta Mountains. We had no reservations but were open to staying in a campground, returning to the last location where we camped, or trying something new. As we headed up the mountain, we realized we would arrive just before dark. We determined to try a new boondocking spot we had investigated during our last trip. We ended up staying right on the Hayden Fork of the Bear River at 40.806183, -110.874523. The view from our trailer was phenomenal, as pictured. The site was quite sloped towards the river, but some previous occupant had dug a hole for the left trailer wheels that brought us close to level. A few blocks under the right wheels, and we were all set.

We fished the Hayden Fork for a few hours on Friday and Saturday and caught some small trout. We also took our float tubes and kayaks to Butterfly Lake on Friday. At the lake, my son and I were completely schooled by our mother/wife. The fish were larger and more plentiful than on the little river. On Saturday we fished the Stillwater Fork of the Bear River where we had great luck last year. The three of us only caught one fish this time around. The Stillwater Fork was much lower, being a month later than last year’s visit.

While at this location, we checked out a few of the surrounding sites. Our favorites are at 40.805357, -110.875007, 40.804432, -110.875664, and 40.807726, -110.873388. All three are within walking distance of our campsite. Our favorite is the first of the three, and for a group of two or three trailers, we liked the last of the three.

This was a quick and relaxing trip. We slept in each day, fished, hiked, played board games, watched movies, and ate great food. It was the last of summer in the Uintas. The highs were in the mid 70’s and the lows in the high 30’s. While I don’t think it has yet frozen at this location, there were very few insects, and virtually no mosquitos. It was simply beautiful and relaxing.

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Boondocking in the Uinta Mountains, Utah

On Wednesday, July 22, 2020, we decided to get out of the valley heat and go camping for a few days in Utah’s high mountains. We determined to go to Washington Lake, believing there would be some walk-up sites available if we arrived early. We arrived at noon, and there were plenty of walk-up sites with nothing and no one in them but had reserved signs hung on their posts. Evidently, the camp hosts in this area routinely reserve these sites for people who drive up and pay for their site days in advance. I think this defeats the purpose of walk-up sites, but who can argue with camp hosts that believe they’re kings of their realms. We tried nearby Trial Lake Campground and Lost Creek Campground but found the same behavior – reserved walk-up sites. No worries, we went over the 10,000-foot summit and headed for Sulfur Campground. It had a few sites available, but just north of Sulfur are a few dirt roads that offer boondocking opportunities, so we went there.

This place was quite nice. It had a great view of a vast meadow, distant mountains, a huge forest, and had a few trees of its own that provided shade and a great place to hang the hammock. Obviously, it was much less crowded than the nearby campgrounds, and the price was right!

On this outing, we tried our new pop-up screen room. It literally took a minute to put up, and it was easily moved afterward. It does take a few more minutes to insert some stakes in case of wind, but in less than five minutes, you can have a shelter that protects you from the rain and the mosquitos. However, when the sun strikes the roof of this beast, it radiates inward and cooks you alive. You can choose to be a bit too warm, but protected from the mosquitos, or enjoy the cool mountain air and get eaten alive. Fortunately, on this trip, we enjoyed a nearly constant gentle breeze that kept the bugs away.

Just north of our camping site on Highway 150, there are a couple of more dirt roads that offer excellent camping opportunities. These locations are closer to the river than we were camped, and we’d like to return and give them a try. Near one of the campsites, we discovered this beautiful beaver pond complete with a lodge. We use to enjoy fishing these ponds and would like to come back and give it a try.

We traveled a short distance south to Moosehorn Lake, where my son, wife, and I fished for a couple of hours. We’ve never had much luck fishing this lake, but it looked inviting. The campground associated with Moosehorn is nice but better suited for tent campers or very small RVs. The lake is quite small; I fished its length several times from my float tube.

The last couple of nights of our five-night adventure were shared with our daughter, her husband, and their beautiful children. We had fun playing with their children, playing board games, shooting BB guns, starting fires, etc. One of the best features of boondocking is no campground rules. There are no quiet hours, no occupancy limitations, no vehicle limitations, etc. Obviously, it is essential to be polite to others, but there is generally so much space between campers, nothing you do bothers others, it’s great.

As always, being in the mountains makes me appreciate life more. Being home makes me look forward to the next time I can go camping in the mountains.

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Cherry Campground, Utah

On June 19, 2020, we traveled a very short distance to Cherry Campground near Springville, Utah. We occupied site 5 and enjoyed it for Friday and Saturday night, and most of Sunday. We were accompanied by our daughter, son-in-law, and their three young, and fun, boys. They occupied site 3, a double site, that gave their family plenty of room to play and enjoy the stream. It was a beautiful place to spend Father’s Day.

Hobble Creek, is very small at this point in the canyon. It’s perfect for children to wade, build dams, and even fish. My wife caught a few small fish, but due to the shallow water, the fish were very skittish and require a stealthy approach. Sites 3 and 7 have a nice beach sort of entry into the creek. The other sites along the creek are a bit more abrupt. Surprisingly, there were very few mosquitos or other insects. We set up a netted table covering expecting mass amounts of bugs this time of year and this close to a slow-moving stream, but it was entirely unnecessary.

We spent most of our time in site 3 with our family. Our site, site 5, fit our trailer nicely but was awkwardly close to site 6 with little underbrush or trees between the sites. Each time we walked out of our trailer, it felt like we were stepping into the neighbor’s camp.

If you’re looking to camp with others, the two best neighboring sites are sites 3 and 4. Site 3 has plenty of space for tents, games, or socializing and site 4 is a short distance away. If however, you’re looking for a single site, site 7 is a gem. Site 7 is the last site on the creek and there are no campsites to the west or on the door side of most RVs, just woods and the creek.

This is a very nice campground for being 15 minutes from a city. On the weekends the road is busy, but tolerable. We look forward to returning.

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Riverside Campground, Idaho

On June 10, 2020, we traveled to one of our favorite campgrounds, Riverside in Idaho. This was our first outing of 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we haven’t dared to leave the house and go camping. In addition, my new job has taken a lot of my attention and time. We’ve been to Riverside Campground many times. On this trip, we had reservations for site A3. It isn’t our favorite site, but at the time of our reservation, it was about the only site left. It was perfectly adequate, and we would stay in it again. It is such a lovely place and the weather was great. It was a bit windy at times, but while that impeded the fly fishing it also swept away the mosquitos.

Site A3 is across the campground road from the Henry’s Fork River, but there isn’t a campsite across or near A3 to block the beautiful views. The site has plenty of room and is very private. In this campground, loop A, and B are paved while loop C has gravel roads and parking spots. Loop C is a bit more primitive and that’s intriguing, but the forest is a bit thinner resulting in less privacy between sites. Just writing about the place makes me want to return.

On the first night of our stay, we got in quite late, having dealt with a flat tire on our trailer, and were invited to dinner at the cabin of our dear friends. We leveled the trailer in record time and joined them for dinner. That was a beautiful gesture and made our evening very nice. Having been isolated since mid-March, due to COVID-19, we ate, laughed, and talked until after midnight. On Saturday night we had dinner with the same couple at the Trout Hunter Lodge. The Trout Hunter entrees weren’t great, but the appetizers and desserts were very good.

While at Riverside we spent a little time each day fishing. The fishing wasn’t great, but we had fun and enjoyed passing time doing something we love to do together. All of us caught at least one fish. Due to the wind each day we didn’t make it to Henry’s Lake, but we’ll get that another day.

On June 14th the forecast was for 20 mph winds on our drive home. To get out before the wind we arose at 5 am and pulled out at 6:15. The wind was already blowing at 15 mph, but we were just ahead of the stronger winds. We dumped the trailer and arrived home at about noon. I can’t wait for our next journey.

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Indian Creek Campground, Utah

On August 30th, 2019, we gathered for a large family reunion at the Indian Creek Campground in Utah. This campground consists of seven large group sites. There is water, pit toilets, a tiny stream, quite a bit of shade from Aspen and other trees, a large fire pit, a couple of large tables, and a large dutch oven table. There are a lot of decent tent spots and ample parking for several RVs. The high altitude setting makes this campground reasonably comfortable even in the summer. During our stay, it was warm in the sun, nice in the shade and chilly in the evenings.

It is eleven miles of dirt road to get into this campground from either the north or the south. The road from the north is pretty good but so narrow in a few spots that one of our party had their trailer hit someone else’s trailer going on the road in the opposite direction. It took a lot of effort to get them by one another. Perhaps the road from the south is wider, but we don’t know.

During the weekend family members rode 4-wheelers, side-by-sides, and went fishing at nearby Potters Ponds. In addition, we participated in board games and outside tournaments. I spent a couple of late nights capturing starlight through my telescope that resulted in an image of the Western Veil Nebula.

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Riverside Campground, Idaho

On August 14th, immediately after work, we traveled to one of our favorite campgrounds, Riverside in Idaho. We’ve been here several times, but this time was unusual. First, for the first time, we didn’t have work at Brigham Young University – Idaho. Second, we stayed in site number two that we’ve wanted to try for some time. Finally, we camped with three couples we consider to be great friends.

On one of the days, my wife and I escaped upstream to do a little fishing. The Henry’s Fork River always produces some fish and captures you with the hope for the occasional big one. On this particular day, we caught a few, and while no huge fish were landed, I caught a decent one early on. These early catches sustain you on the river for quite some time, but eventually, we gave it up and returned to our friends.

On Thursday, August 15th, we planned a potluck sort of dinner. I had volunteered to acquire and cook ribs for everyone, so I brought our Traeger smoker along. The ribs cooked for roughly six hours and I thought they turned out fantastic. Regardless of the quality of the ribs, the cooking location couldn’t be beaten, outdoors with a great view of the Henry’s Fork River. I want to acquire a more portable smoker and do this more often. During the cook, I used up my 33 Ah battery, then my 20 Ah battery, and finally connected the inverter to our trailer. Our solar panels kept the trailer batteries fully charged while smoking.

On Friday, many of us floated down the river downstream from Big Springs to the bridge over the highway. After arriving at the bridge, several of us stayed to eat Mexican food. The next day several of us floated down the Henry’s Fork River from the Osborne Bridge to Riverside Campground. Both floats were rather slow, but fortunately, we were in kayaks and paddling sped us along. The very last stretch of the second float was faster and a lot of fun.

On August 18th, most of us returned home. The weekend with friends was terrific. I hope we’re able to go camping together again soon. I love camping, and it is even better with friends and family!

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