Yampa River Raft Trip: Map - Day 1 Deer Lodge Park to Big Joe

Day 1 - Wednesday, May 22, 2002



At the warehouse we piled into 3 vans towing the rafts, bags and equipment and headed to Deer Lodge Park for the put-in. The drive was about an hour or so. The 2 Denver ladies had arrived at 10 pm Tuesday evening and they rode in our van and we filled them in on what they had missed. Dee Holladay, owner of the raft company, was our driver. Kelly, one of the guides, rode shotgun. As we approached the put-in, we were given several pages to read, detailing the “do’s and don’ts”
of rafting and riverbank living.

When we arrived at Deer Lodge Park, the guides unloaded the vans and we assembled, out of the wind with the naturalists, for the first of our `classroom’ presentations - Emmett gave us a superb handout outlining the geologic stratigraphic sequence we would travel through and a geologic time scale; Jeff unveiled the first of his many reptilian friends, a garter snake; Ed outlined the fish we would hopefully encounter; and Mike gave us an overview of the vegetation zones along the river. Laura would talk to us later that evening as the bats came out.
Yampa River Raft Trip: Beach at Deer Lodge put-in
Yampa River Raft Trip: Nancy and Jeff cinch up their lifejackets Fitted with our personal life jackets, we piled into the rafts. Doug and I rode with John, a rookie boatman. Audrey, the owner of Cloud Ridge Naturalists, and another guest rode in the front and we rode in the back. The day was overcast, cold, windy and raw. We had 24 miles to go. There was no way we would stay warm and dry. Thank goodness we had purchased, at the last minute, neoprene socks for the raft and wool socks for land.
Geologically, we started out in the Glen Canyon and Entrada sandstones and, as we entered the Yampa Canyon, we encountered Weber sandstone, which dominated most of the trip. After a mile of travel in Yampa Canyon, we had our first view of the Morgan formation, alternating layers of limestone, siltstone, mudstone and sandstone, pushed up from the river shortly before lunch.
Yampa River Raft Trip: And we're off! Yampa River Raft Trip: Approaching  Yampa Canyon Yampa River Raft Trip: Dee manuveurs through a riffle
River-wise, we rode through calm waters and riffles (small, gentle rapids) until lunchtime.
Yampa River Raft Trip Yampa River Raft Trip: Weber Sandstone overlying Morgan Formation Yampa River Raft Trip Yampa River Raft Trip: Great monoliths in both the Morgan and Weber
Yampa River Raft Trip Yampa River Raft Trip
We stopped above the first real rapid, Teepee, and had a riverbank lunch of chinese salad, pb&j sandwiches and cookies. Then it was on to Teepee. Yampa River Raft Trip: Kelly at lunch stop The afternoon was filled with fast water - one of the fastest sections on the Yampa - and small, unnamed rapids. Geologically, however, we gazed at walls of Weber on top of Morgan on top of Round Valley limestone. Yampa River Raft Trip: A major fault in the Morgan
Cold and wet and slightly crabby, we made camp at Big Joe’s, just above Big Joe Rapids, a rush of water that would lull us to sleep. Once the tent was set up and warm, dry clothes were on, everyone’s mood lifted and we ate and drank and were merry. Yampa River Raft Trip: Campsite #1 at Big Joe's Yampa River Raft Trip: View from Camp 1 at Big Joe's

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