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  • Writer's pictureThomas Delker

Day 2 Yampa River Trip

The sun started to brighten the sky around 5 am and slowly woke me. I stayed wrapped in my sleeping bag in our mesh tent looking up at the stars as they disappeared. I dosed in and out until 6.30 am and the desire for a coffee got me moving. Although I can’t drink coffee often due to heart burn, I really wanted some this morning.

I started the water and when the coffee was done I brought up a mug to Crys. A small trick I learned from Shipley to keep the marriage going strong and maybe a little less criticism when I choose the bad lines through the rapids. Returning to the camp kitchen Scott was there and I got breakfast bagel sandwiches going for us both with eggs, ham and cheese. As the four kids arrived at staggered times I got them their breakfasts. It was slow but relaxing. With breakfast finished we turned to loading the boats. We pushed off at 10:30, a late, relaxing start for the 16 miles we were floating today.

The first rapid, teepee was as straightforward as we thought and we had fun riding the tongue down on the right and hitting the v at the end with no problem staying away from the large hole in the center. With about 10k cfs, the river was strong and pushy, but fun. The next rapid was little Joe, another class three with a huge sleeper hole in the middle that we had to pull hard to avoid, but we ran it on the right without any issues.

We stopped to explore a short canyon the dead ended and then did a few more miles before pulling over on a sand bar for lunch, the last of the Muffoletta and orzo salad. Then we came to Big Joe rapid, another 3 that was changed significantly in 2016 from a flash flood. We followed the guidebooks suggestion, with running the rapid center and then moving right away from another large hole. Pretty straightforward for anyone with reasonable experience.

We floated out of the right canyon into a large ‘hole’ to our camp - Harding Hole 4. There are 3 other camps above us, but ours is really nice, tucked against a cliff with lots of shade and lush trees. There is a commercial trip at one of the camps above us, and we had a surreal experiences as a group of 10 of the customers hiked the nearly ¼ mile from their site to ours to get in the river and bath. Right in front of us. At our sight. While we watched. We couldn’t hurt understand the logic or why our location was the preferred bathing spot for them or why they didn’t even acknowledge we were right there, but the left shortly and we just scratched our head at the odd social situation that was.

Dinner of brats and kale salad by Scott again cooked over the fire pan. Then we followed up with baking brownies with sweetened condensed milk, coconut flakes and toffee crumbles. Yum!

Now we are snug in our bags right on the beach looking up at the stars as the fire burns next to us. Cowboy camping at the finest! The Miller crew is camped under a huge alcove behind us.

What a perfect river day with great food, weather and fun rapids!

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