HEADWATERS: The Provo River
Many Utahns don't realize that the Bear, Weber and Provo Rivers all have their headwaters high in the Uinta Mountains. This is the third of three brief articles on those rivers by HUPC Board Member Margaret Pettis.
The Provo River has its headwaters in the high rocky catches of the Lakes Country, what we have proposed as the Mt. Watson Wilderness. Snowmelt drips into one of the highest springs on Bald Mountain; the new stream trickles down a scree slope, under boulder fields stocked with picas hay caches, into a mossy little pool, and spreads out across a luxurious grassy meadow before its descent into the countless little ponds and lakes that dot the upper basin of the Provo River country. The first miles of this stream wind through the pines and meadows of Rock, Boulder, North Fork and Shingle Creeks.
All is pastoral along the Provo River as it continues westward through Pine Valley; but it is slowed at Jordanelle Reservoir, resumes its flow through Heber Valley, and is stopped again at Deer Creek Reservoir. Anglers still find the blue ribbon trout stream irrestible in Provo Canyon. But little is left of the wild river as it travels an increasingly developed course through Provo to Utah Lake, the vast mirror of a mighty steel plant abandoned amidst its gargantuan, fabricated carcasses. Gulls and carp, reeds and muddy fenceposts line the shore where the wild Provo stops. No greater contrast could exist.
But the stream that stays in my mind is the wild flowing song twisting its marvelous way through the pines of the High Uintas.