I’m not cut out to be a blogger. My typing is horrible and slow, and my writing skills and spelling are also sorely lacking. So that’s my excuse for being such a procrastinator.
Excuses aside, I need to catch up this blog with a little news.
I got back from a week long raft trip down the Yampa river on back on June 5th. This was a fantastic trip and a very rare opportunity. I guess only 300 out of 9000 permit applications are approved to run the river each year. The Yampa river canyon is part of the Dinosaur National Monument and therefore is a tightly regulated wilderness area.
here is a quick log of the trip.
Photos from this trip are available at: Our Flickr Group
and at: My Picassa gallery
Day 0 5/30 – Spent driving to the Deer Lodge Park campground from Denver. We camped overnight and had a great meal of Steaks, Baked Potato, Corn on Cob, Cheese Cake and partied a little harder than we should’ve.
Day 1 5/31- Supposedly an easy float to Teepee Draw Campground. A surprise wave train dumped one of our duckies (Inflatable kayaks) and the rescue took a little longer than it should have. The swimmer was a little shaken, but all ended well. We landed and set up camp just in time to avoid a hail and rain storm.
Day 2 6/1 – Launched and ran Teepee rapid, a nice Class 2. We got surprised again in Little Joe Rapid and hit a pour-over strait on. Doh! No harm no foul though.
Landed at the beautiful Harding Hole Campsite. We set up camp below Wagon Wheel Point and took a hike up the Bull Canyon trail. That evening we were graced with some guitar and singing courtesy of Steven Barnhill.
Day 3 6/2- We stopped across the river from Wagon Wheel point to explore a cave with graffiti from the settlers and explorers in the 1920′s. We then headed downstream toward our appointment with the dreaded Warm Springs rapid. We stopped for lunch at the Mantle Ranch and took a quick hike to explore the Mantle Cave and it’s Native american artifacts. As we launched after lunch storm clouds were gathering, letting us know not to be lulled into a false sense of security. Soon after going by by Tiger rock we hit a Down pour of rain and hail with strong upstream wind gust. It was quite a harrowing experience to land to scout the deadly Warm Springs rapids.
The Warm Springs rapid is true Class 4 rapid during high water with two recirculating holes that that will easily drown a swimmer or upend a sizable boat. You can scout the rapid from the scree field that was formed by the same flash flood that formed the rapid, this is no easy feat when wearing wet river sandal on wet jagged rock.
When our rafters returned from the scout the apprehension on every face was evident. It was decided that we would pack up the Duckies and their paddlers onto the bigger rafts. and that our most experienced rafter would lead and try to eddy-out below to rescue any swimmers. I rode with him.
As we launched into the rapids it was still in the midst of a thunderstorm with driving rain. it only took about 120 adrenaline filled seconds to run the rapid and our guide Hal pulled hard and was able to eddy us out below the second hole. While I held the boat Jason was able to grab some shakey video of some of the rest of our party running the rapid.
All the boats ran the rapid and were happy to put that water at their stern. We put in at the Box Elder campground and were all happy, tired and relieved as well as in need of warm dry clothes. Fajitas and tequila took the edge off an adventurous day.
Day 4 6/3 – I was able to get some great photos early before we set out on this day. This was mostly flat water as we joined the Green river at the beautiful Steamboat rock. I took over a ducky and had some fun on some wave trains. We put-in for lunch at the beautiful Jones hole campground and took a long hike up to butt crack falls. Butt crack falls is a small waterfall that you can block the water flow from above by sitting in the creek. and then someone can stand below as you “turn-on” the water. Great fun and we all smelled a little better after a natural shower. We the Hiked up another half mile to the jones hole Deluge shelter archeological site and photographed some pictographs and petroglyphs. After we hiked back down to the river we floated anther mile down to our assigned capsite which took some effort to land at due to a really strong back eddy. Another great day on the river and sadly our last evening.
Day 5 6/4 – The day started with a lazy float through Island Park. We landed for lunch at the Island Park put-in and were attacked by thick clouds of mosquitoes. We were diving for DEET but some of us were badly bit up before we got on repellent. We ate quickly and put out to attack Split Mountain Canyon. Split mountain seems to be just that, it is an truly impressive geological display of folded and cut sandstone and limestone strata. Oh and there aret wo or three class 2 and 3 rapids just to keep the afternoon interesting.
I rode in Hal’s boat, not wanting to go swimming from a ducky.
We finally landed at the Split Mountain boat ramp to end the river portion of the trip. We shook hands and hugged and took photos and said good-bye to some of our party. A few of us decided that rather than drive the 400 miles back to Denver that we would stop at Pizza hut in Craig Colorado and then meet at a capground near Hayden ,Colorado.
Day 6ish 6/5 – drove back to Rob and Tina’s place in evergreen, then unpacked my stuff from the boat and headed home to Golden.
It was a great trip with some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen.