The trip to Deerlodge Park was shorter than the ride to the put-in for the Green River trip a week earlier. But it took about the same amount of time from the Hatch Warehouse because the group on the Green trip did not need a stop at the spirits store in beautiful downtown Dinosaur, CO. We unloaded the bus and loaded the rafts.
I explored Deerlodge Park. I found the cottonwood trees to be very beautiful and the mountain bluebirds and western kingbirds to be fairly cooperative with my relatively short lens.
While the crew packed the boats, trip leader, Joelle, demonstrated tossing and catching a rope in the event of unintentional swimming. We had some unintentional swimming on the trip, but the rope was never needed.
Matt gave us instruction on paddling a duckie but forgot to put it in the river first.
Guides Josh and Tony were ready and waiting.
As were Jill and Tim.
Finally we were off. Only to land a few hundred yards downstream.
The stop was to view the Shank Dugout and hear about the Vale of Tears.
As we approached Yampa Canyon, the views upstream (left) and downstream (right) were quite different.
The paddle raft piloted by Pat cruised near some tall walls and the canyon started to look dramatic.
We had just a few mild rapids the first day and it wasn’t far to our first camp.
We arrived at Anderson Hole for a late lunch. This was to also to be our dinner and camp spot.
The day we got off the Green River, less than 48 hours before, the prediction was a full day of rain the first day of our Yampa trip. This was quite believable since it had rained nearly a month straight until we arrived for the Green River trip. But we were fortunate, rain threatened and we could see some in the distance, but we stayed dry the whole trip. Amazingly, all my trips with O.A.R.S. have been rain free.
I decided to err on the side of safety and set up a tent. Since I did not have any tent-erecting experience on the Green to guide me, my efforts were less than smooth. But it eventually was up and ready for the night and the rain that never came.
Some pitched tents up near mine in the flat field above the beach. Some pitched on the beach.
Very near my tent site a solitary vireo was singing its head off. I was able to get my first-ever photos of this western species.
While I was birding, a camp meeting was happening. I got a photo of it and then realized everyone was sitting in a circle except me.
The meeting was soon followed by the customary groover instructions.
Pat led a hike up a dry stream bed above the camp. Various people peeled off at various stages as we climbed. A much greater fraction of the group did the hikes on the Green than this trip.
And then there were only 3 of us continuing up and up. Actually 4 since Josh was dispatched to assure we did not fall off a cliff or dig up dinosaur bones. If you have good eyes you might be able to see the river just right of center in the top photo below. That is approximately where our camp was.
It was after 7 PM when we arrived back in camp. We were late for drinks, but it didn’t matter. None of the 5 of us travelling together drank anything stronger than coffee on the trip.
Matt and Dakota baked a sweet fruit-filled moist cake in the Dutch Oven with an occasional assist by Josh.
We enjoyed it for dessert, and some lingered around the raised campfire.
It was a short but excellent first day on what was going to prove to be a very memorable trip.
Here is a slide show of some of the other photos from day one on the Yampa.