Day 2: Ponderosa Camp to Mathers Hole
The sky gave forth with water most of the night. It managed, reluctantly, to quit doing so around dawn. This allowed the astute camper to avoid having to poop in the rain. We also managed to get through breakfast and pack our sodden tents under threatening, but dry, skies. But then the rain started-up again. Gloom prevailed throughout. Today was a multi-rapid day and no one was ecstatic about getting splashed with very cold water while sitting in the rain. Oh, boo hoo, little rafters. 😥
But we pushed on. Through Tepee Rapid, Little Joe Rapid, Five Springs Rapid, and Big Joe Rapid. All of these are fun, bouncy rapids, particularly at the high flows the Yampa was experiencing on this day.
By the time reached our landing at Signature Cave, the clouds and rain were gone and sunshine reined supreme! It was glorious! The cave was used by indigenous peoples for ages (it held a headdress dated to 1200 CE) and now holds signatures of historic river runners (and, sadly, some graffiti left by douchebags 😥). We did a short hike up to see the cave, then returned to the beach for lunch.
After visiting the cave, we continued on down river to tonight’s camp at Mathers Hole.
Mathers Hole is one of the most unique campsites we’ve ever stayed at. It’s nestled under a sweeping 600 foot (182 m) tall, overhanging (!) cliff carved by an oxbow in the river. Our tents were setup essentially underneath this cliff. Good shelter from the sun and rain. But it was hard to let go of the foreboding that came with sleeping directly under a bazillion tons of rock. 🥺
The overhang continued to loom but it had been a good, long day, it wasn’t raining, and dinner was excellent, so restful sleep came quickly. Even the scurrying of tiny rodents – which sounded a little like pebbles clattering prior to a massive rockfall – couldn’t keep me awake (for long). Which is not to say I wasn’t just a tiny bit anxious to get out from under this cliff come morning! 😉