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  • Writer's pictureThomas Delker

Day 4 Yampa River Trip

A short 6.5 miles but we filled the day easily. We slow start was planned with a good breakfast. Floating at 11 am and we stopped just down stream at a cliff the kids could jump off of as we probed the depths to ensure it was safe.

As we jumped and hooted I noticed a fairly well worn trail headed off to the canyon. Even though the guidebook said nothing, I decided to explore. A ½

Mile later I was in a canyon and as I came around the corner on a steep area there was a cavern and inside was the remains of a Fremont grainery! It felt like a special discovery since there was no mention of it. I collected the others and we all looked at it for a while.

Back in the boats, Crys kayaked the next 5 miles of flat water. Then we came to the main attraction for the day - warm springs rapid. Called a class 4, it has a few pretty good holes that need to be avoided. Looking at it Scott, Crys and I were nervous but had a line picked out and were ready. Crys waited mid rapid and I was at the bottom, both with a throw rope. The millers made it around ‘Maytag’ on line and were just a bit off line but fine coming around the final river center sleeper. Next it was our turn!

I entered the rapid with a fair amount of confidence, but was quickly too far center. As I came around the marker I had picked out from shore, it was clear I was too far over, and we got a pretty good view of Maytag as we skimmed by in the calm water just to the right. As we entered the lower section, I had overcompensate and was too far right against the bank and came over a pour over but had a good head of steam and pushed right through and we were done! Safe and sound.

Our camp is directly below the rapid where we enjoyed the show as 3 groups came through. It was taking each group and hour or 2 to set up and run. The final group was pretty amusing as we watched them each take a different line through, in what seemed a mostly unscripted run. The last raft hit the same pour over as I did, but with no speed and we watched them get surfed for a bit and one swimmer fell out. He was quickly pulled in and as they floated past, the Dad proudly exclaimed it was his sons first class 4. Nice job!

As we were chatting, we heard three whistle blasted, the universal sign of danger/help needed. Oh no! But they we’re all through the rapid!?!?! Looking down stream we saw a raft upside down! Not sure how it happened but it appears on a minor sleeper on the side of the river they got caught sideways and flipped. The other boats gave chase and a duckie in their group also was caught in the hydrolic and flipped. Dang it! We watched them float around the corner and we hope they are now warm and dry at camp enjoying a beer and talking about their day!

Dinner of spaghetti and meatballs , homemade and frozen by Crys, a salad, and a Miller special: cooler key lime pie! a fire to finish the day and we are all settled down. Alarms set for 5.30 and a plan in place to try to get on the river by 8 am for the monster 29 mile day tomorrow. It will be an epically long day!

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