Five of us were rafting the Green and Yampa Rivers back-to-back with a day in between the two trips with O.A.R.S. So based on Stefanie’s recommendation, later seconded by others, we headed to Harpers Corner. We wanted to get there early in the day and then visit the Dinosaur Quarry on our way back to Vernal. This was a great way to spend the day. This page shows photos from those two spots.
Let me first digress briefly with a black-throated warbler story.
Several times along the Green River I saw a black and white bird but never got a good enough look to identify it. It moved fast like a warbler. It looked somewhat like the black-and-white warbler we have in New England.
We drove the 31 miles from the entrance at Dinosaur, Colorado to the trailhead for Harpers Corner. A short distance along our 1.5 mile (one-way) hike I spotted a bird and got some quick, rather poor photos. I concluded it was a black-throated grey warbler and likely the same species I had seen earlier on the trip. I confirmed the identification later from my photos.
Below are much better photos of a black-throated grey warbler. These photos were taken on Appledore Island, Maine which is reached by boat from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. That’s how people normally get there. How the bird got there is a complete mystery because the bird in these photos was seriously lost. These are western birds which are only extremely rarely seen east of Colorado and New Mexico.
In the east we have two black-throated warbler species, the black-throated blue and black-throated green as seen in the pair of photos below. These photos were taken on an island in a lake in New Hampshire.
The keen observer will notice the western bird is facing west and the eastern birds are facing east.
Back to Harper’s Corner and the beautiful and majestic old pinyon pine we saw along the trail.
We were short of the far end of the trail when we got a great view of Steamboat Rock and the Yampa River Canyon.
The sky was dramatic in both directions. Looking east over Steamboat Rock we could see rain in the distance. The forecast had called for an all-day rain our first day on the Yampa. That evening Joelle stated the obvious at the pre-trip meeting, “we will go even with lightening and thunder”. We would be in the Yampa Canyon safe from lightening and on the Yampa River getting wet in the rapids anyway. But the rain never materialized.
The photo on the right below shows the downstream view of the Green River and Whirlpool Canyon to the west.
Below are two more views of Whirlpool Canyon to the west. At the far downstream part of the Green River that is visible is Jones Hole Camp just across the border in Utah.
Here are views of Harpers Corner at sunset 2500 feet above the Green River from Jones Hole 2 Camp and a week later from Jones Hole 4 Camp.
Turning our attention back to the east, below is a view of the Lodore Canyon and the Green River at the top left, the Yampa entering middle above Steamboat Rock, and the Green flowing to the left at the bottom. Above the Green on the left can be seen the Mitten Park Fault. The flat area on the west side of the Green River is Mitten Park where the hermit Pat Lynch used to let his horse Mitten gaze. Lynch spent from 1880 to 1917 in this area scavenging for food and living off the land.
The photo below shows essentially the same view but with an emphasis on the the drama in the sky.
The photo below shows the Yampa River flowing toward Steamboat Rock. It joins the Green just over Steamboat Rock (along the bottom edge of the photo), out of sight.
Below is a closer view of the Yampa River just before it joins the Green.
Working our way back to the south but still looking east, here is a closer view of the end of Steamboat Rock and Echo Park.
The area above Echo park is seen in the two photos below. That road is impassable when wet — like a lot of unpaved roads in the west the mud gets extremely slippery. The green valley is Pool Creek which enters the Green River across from the tip of Steamboat Rock where we had lunch on the Green River trip.
As we drove back Harpers Corner road weaving into and out of Utah, we stopped at various viewpoints. Here is Island Park Overlook looking northwest.
Below are a few of the wildflowers growing at this overlook, including a wimpy western lupine. Folks who have never visited northern New England in June can’t really appreciate lupines.
We visited the Dinosaur Quarry which was interesting … to do once. For those who have never been, here is a slide show from inside the building that was built to enclose a hillside of intact fossilized dinosaur bones.
We hiked the Dinosaur Quarry Trail back to the visitors center rather than taking the shuttle bus. It was a very pleasant hike with interesting motifs of the local geology.
Here are some of the other photos I took along the Dinosaur Quarry Trail.
And, finally, here are some of the other photos I took during our visit to Harpers Corner.