Rafting the Yampa River (1) 30-May-2022

Well before we decided to upend our lives and move to Minnesota, we made plans to raft the Yampa River with our friends Wayne and Diane and his sister (Bonnie) and her husband (Jim). This trip was to start on May 30th. We began our move on March 15th and – despite the usual glitches and forced errors – were done with it (almost miraculously) by May 27th. Two days later, we lit out for Utah, leaving behind a house full of unopened boxes, a somewhat bewildered cat, and a lot of moving generated anxiety.

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In John Wesley Powell’s Wake: Cataract Canyon and Home (June 2019)

Day 25: At the Confluence

We were able to leave camp at River Mile 7 while it was still in shade and make the short float to the confluence in the relative cool of the morning. We’d reached the Colorado! We stopped at the register to check river conditions and campsite availability. Here Lars was able to determine that we could have Lower Brown Betty and Lower Ten Cent as our camps, which were his preferences. We bounced around Rapid 1 and pulled in to the beach at Betty. Although sandy beaches are common at lower water, Brown Betty was the first (and only) time on this trip that we were able to camp on such a beach. It was a joy not to have to hack our way through tamarisk or scramble up a slope to reach camp. We were laying over here so those who wanted to could hike up to The Doll House – a unique collection of rock spires on the plateau above – the next day.

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In John Wesley Powell’s Wake: Labyrinth & Stillwater Canyons (June 2019)

Day 19: Past the Crystal Geyser

The pleasures of Green River were delightful, but we had a river to run, so first thing in the morning it was back to the boats. Our first stop below Green River was at Crystal Geyser where a failed 1930s attempt at an oil well resulted in an on-going eruption of mineral and carbon dioxide rich water. After an day on flat water, we pulled into a campsite at Anvil Bottom. The site itself was good but we had to cut a path through the tamarisk (an invasive shrub) to reach it. We were camped below a feature known locally as The Anvil (or Inkwell). Despite these existing local appellations, Powell went ahead and named it Dellenbaugh’s Butte in 1871.

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In John Wesley Powell’s Wake: Desolation & Gray Canyons (June 2019)

Day 13: Into Desolation Canyon

We left the cucumber beetles at Hydes Bottom (except for those that had stowed away on the rafts) and motored down to Sand Wash. Once there, we exchanged passengers (six off / six on) and continued on (now rowing) into Desolation Canyon. The east side of the canyon is Ute tribal land. A recent decision by the tribe to close all access to their land cut the campsites available in the canyon in half. As Desolation is a popular rafting destination, this meant increased competition for campsites suitable for our large group. This is something that concerned Lars the whole way through the canyon. Today we were able to find a nice tree-rich campsite across from Peters Point. A short walk from there took us to a clear impression of a fossilized turtle shell in a large rock. It wouldn’t have been a sharper impression if it had been intentionally cast.

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