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Broadwater Meadow

My holy quest for grass.

After the dirty kerfuffle earlier in the summer I decided to pursue some luxury camping conditions. Obviously, the great motivation here was to reduce the pounds of dirt my dogs could absorb into their fur. Another was to solicit my wife into the great outdoors with an easy and enjoyable camping experience. I always feel better blundering around and making obvious mistakes when I have my significant other along with me to cushion the blow to my ego when things inevitably go wrong. If I could just find the right camping location I might just might protect the dogs from themselves and provide my wife with another positive outdoor experience.

Since I’ve been subject to unrealistic REI Co-Op advertisements my entire life I knew there were at least some locations in North America worthy of being in a magazine. Maybe there would even be a few in adventure ready Utah. You might have your own version of this location in your head but I will tell you my own. Imagine a grassy campground next to a modest river with majestic pine trees in the spots that don’t block your view. The view is a grand valley glowing in the twilight evening light. All the cozy people around the campfire appear to be in a perfect temperature equilibrium and are neither pestered by bugs or acute smoke inhalation. I know it is all a lie. But maybe I can achieve just one item out of this mental image: grass. Yes, the plant I spend my spring, summer, and fall butchering could be my savior when out in nature. This led me to another high altitude location in the High Uintas Wilderness at the softly named Broadwater Meadow.

Its surprising how close Broadwater Meadow is to Highway 150 without being flooded by campers and trailers. You can thank the rough roads for gatekeeping the area from the unwashed masses. There are actually two routes to the meadow since FR416 loops to Highway 150 at a north and south location. I found both directions pretty rough in my 4Runner but the northern road was just slightly easier. Before getting off pavement you should be sure to stop at the Upper and Middle Provo River Falls viewpoint. This tourist spot was a bit crowded on a Sunday afternoon in the late summer but worth the stop to stretch the legs and let the dogs sniff around before we hit the last 30 minutes of dirt road to reach the meadow.

On a Sunday late afternoon in early September we were able to claim a decent site for camping. Probably the best location is directly across the meadow on the south end, which you can see in the photograph above. That site is secluded a bit off FR416 whereas the rest of the spots along the meadow perimeter are within 20 feet of the road. So you might have people rolling by (or blazing like a bat out of Hell in the case of our side-by-side friends) your camp at any time of the day or night. Additionally, the view on the south site is better as you are looking north by north east to nearby Mount Cardwell. While not as epic as the view in nearby Christmas Meadow, it still provides for a natural visual endpoint while looking across the meadow rather than the muted hill you see above. Despite all the accolades for the south site, any spot around the meadow is great and will give you a relaxing experience in a semi-alpine environment.

Broadwater Meadow in the Afternoon

Broadwater Meadow in the Afternoon

For dinner, rather than my normal freeze-dried dinner, I was blessed with a fine car camping dining experience. I am normally rather spartan with my food choices and embrace convenience and health rather than elegance and taste. Its not that I don’t enjoy finely prepared food but rather that I think the effort required is not warranted on a consistent and or daily basis. I have been known to spend over 12 hours smoking pork ribs yet this is not everyday. Alternatively, my wife will consistently create culinary masterpieces out of seemingly nothing if the mood strikes just right. Take the following example where all these conditions met together perfectly to see what she is capable of creating.

One evening in the early summer of 2020 she asked what would be a good idea for dinner. Consider the world stage for a second here, where we are at the height of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown1 and governments around the world had normalized staying at home 24/7. So there is a huge amount of free time at everyone’s disposal yet for some reason I didn’t take this into consideration when I responded with an easy cop-out of sloppy joes. Like I said earlier, my mind focuses on dishes that are either convenient or healthy. Sloppy Joes certainly fit this convenient profile. When I was younger this dish consisted of pan frying ground beef, adding a canned sauce, and slopping the result between some plain white bread buns. If you wanted to go the extra mile you could garnish your plate with some vegetables or anything else to make it a respectable meal. Altogether, this was something you could pretty easily make in fifteen or twenty minutes. Not a bowl-of-cereal-for-dinner fast but certainly not a time sink. My wife and I don’t specifically share the same cultural upbringing so this inherent example in my head was completely absent from hers.

  1. In some locations this word is correct but in Utah it really just meant a loose request by local and state officials. I think if national store chains hadn’t imposed mask requirements I doubt most of the public would have even bothered on their own. So understand this word with caution, which could have translated into vastly different situations around the United States. ↩︎