Jones Hole to Big Island

My tarp, pad, and sleeping bag were on the ground right next to Jones Hole Creek. So at 2:50 am I did not have to walk more than a few feet to get this photo in the moonlight.


At 6 am the scene looked like this.


Just before our 7 am coffee, I photographed this common merganser near my bed site. She seemed puzzled by the brush dam along the creek, then she swam upstream a bit so she could get a running (on water) start at flying over the dam.


The crew cooked another great breakfast while Dino kept watch from the branches of a nearby tree behind Bruce.


After breakfast I was able to photograph another spotted towhee.


We packed up as if we were going to break camp and leave, but before we departed we hiked up Jones Hole Creek about 2 miles between Hardscrabble Mountain on the left and an unnamed butte on the right.


We paused briefly near a small falls, then continued on to view the pictographs painted on rock walls by the Fremont people.


Here is a close up look at some of the pictographs.

Heading back I was able to capture a Laszuli Bunting before others caught up and caused it to flee.


But we were not yet heading back — a side trail took us to Ely Creek Falls. These falls are turned off and on again by a person sitting in the stream just above them. Hence the name, “Butt Dam Falls”. And we had a great person to perform this function in Bruce.


Here is a brief sequence of Jennifer getting the second of two power showers to give you a feel for how this worked.

Not to be outdone, Beth and Dan joined in on the fun. After all, it had been 4 days since we had showers.

Stephen watched the action from above while I took a turn, holding on to Dino for security.



Finally Stephen took a shower joined by David, the taller person.

Heather was reluctant to get chilled. But chants of “Heather, Heather, Heather” finally convinced her to do it.

Dan and his father, David, sent Dino over the falls with a GoPro strapped on. Here is David retrieving it.


The hike back was very pleasant in the noon sun. I got a photo of the Utah State Flower, the Sego Lily. This was appropriate because we were just across the state line into Utah.



Before we left camp I was able to get photos of some of the many rainbow trout in the creek.


We were finally ready to leave camp at just after 1 pm. The morning went fast. Stephen is seen here planning to ride the blue duckie we rescued the previous day. The unnamed butte can be seen behind our muddy beach.


We had only a short ride before we pulled ashore for lunch at “Compromise”.


After lunch came Greasy Pliers Rapids. It had some big waves.


Greasy Pliers was the first big rapid I ran when I finally rode a duckie on the last day of our trip down the Yampa. I figured I had taken enough photos by then. I narrowly avoided a dump in these rapids and that gave me confidence to successfully negotiate Moonshine, S.O.B., Schoolboy, and Inglesby after the long slow paddle through Island Park. On the Yampa trip, Jones Hole was our last campsite.

Heather and Dan negotiated Greasy Pliers in style.





Meanwhile Jennifer watched the action from the raft.


Here is an extended slide show of Dan running Greasy Pliers.

We could see a piece of the Island Park Fault from our hike along Jones Hole Creek, but we really got a great view of it from the river.


Not content to view it from the river, Bruce took some of us on a surprisingly rough hike — the ground was sandy and soft, and we were off trail in many places. Here is a view of the fault from the spot where many of us turned around.


But Heather, Dan, and I trudged on, climbing several long sandy hills, led by Bruce who we think might have known the way, to get this view of Island Park. The fault is at the far right. Split Mountain is the the left.


Finally heading back, we waved to others still wandering far below us.


In the calm waters of Island Park, Heather and Dan experimented with weight distribution in their duckies.



Our campsite for the night was to be Big Island. Below we are seen approaching it on our right at 4:36 pm.


I spotted a uniquely-shaped cottonwood tree and rushed up the bank to photograph it before the crew could clutter the spot with table and stoves. The image below is composed of 7 separate photos.


The traditional last-night dinner of steak was prepared under the tree.


Meanwhile we snacked and enjoyed the warmth of the evening. The potatoes in the bowls are for weight.


Steaks were grilled expertly by Soggy Foot. It was a great meal.







The Dutch Oven was used to bake a chocolate cake.



While we enjoyed our delicious moist cake, Charlie read “The Cataract of Lodore” by Robert Southey.



Meanwhile Soggy Foot acted out the story.


It was another great day and a wonderful last night by the fire under the stars.

Here are more photos from Day 4 on the Green River.

Here are some links to aid in navigation.

Green River

Yampa River

Dinosaur National Monument


Green River

Yampa River