Vernal Stories and Tips

Rafting Trip on the Yampa River (day 1 & 2)

Yampa River Photo, Vernal, Utah

(June 6) The morning of our first day on the river I got up early to grab a good breakfast, but Laura told me the night before not to knock on her door because she preferred to sleep. I got to the restaurant "Betty’s" but the cook hadn’t arrived yet. I talked trucks with one of the locals (We own the same truck model). The cook eventually showed, I got breakfast and barely got back to the hotel in time.
We drove over to Hatch, loaded our stuff on a bus and started our 2 plus hour drive to the raft put-in at Deerlodge Park in Colorado.
There were 5 rafts, a dory, and a gear raft for our group of 25. I asked my sister to choose which raft she wanted to ride on. She chose Mariah’s raft because it had pink gear on it. Even the ammo boxes were painted pink. There were no rapids the 1st part of the trip, just a few riffles to splash us a bit. We laid back and enjoyed the beauty of the canyon and river. We stopped for lunch and were served burritos. Only 20 minutes after lunch we stopped at our first camp. The first camp is situated above the first rapid, so we had that to look forward to the next morning.
Laura and I found a nice campsite up and away from the crowd and noise.
After everyone had set-up his or her campsites we were shown where the groover (porta-potty) was placed. It was placed in an ant infested muddy spot a quarter mile from camp. The name groover stems from the early days of rafting when people used standard ammo boxes as a toilet and it left grooves on their behind. Our modern version had a comfortable seat and pressure relief valve. There are horror stories in the past of pressure build-ups and ammo cans exploding human waste in all directions.
Laura and I were sitting in our chairs and I noticed a centipede on a mission. He was walking along with determination and Laura had to lift her foot up in time for him to go under and he kept on going. He was a large and beautiful insect.
I took a small hike to have a view of the next day’s rapids. On the way along a humming bird hovered in front of me for a long time and I was able to pull out my camera turn it on and still get some photos before he flew away.
Our dinner was chicken and rice, we went to bed at dark (around 9:30). I didn’t sleep too well my first night sleeping on the ground.

(June 7) We ran (3) rapids today.
We stopped to help another rafting company after the first rapid that had a raft flip in the rapid. One of the people who were thrown into the water was a fairly old guy and he looked cold and traumatized on the shore. It reminded us that this could be dangerous. All our guides helped flip the boat back over. Further down the river we saw some of the bags floating that had come out of the flipped boat.
We got to camp early and Laura and I were told the good campsites were up river. However our guide Mariah was wrong and we ended up setting up in the kitchen area of another rafting company. By the time we were told that we were in the wrong place, all the good campsites were taken. We broke camp and ended up under a nice tree except the ground was covered in various grazing animal feces. All in all it was OK. Others went on a hike but with all the efforts with setting up camp twice we stayed behind. It was nice to just hangout in camp and read.


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