Yampa River Raft Trip:

Day 3 - Friday, May 24, 2002

Morning greeted us with omelets - each person selected his or her toppings. After breakfast, of course, were morning classes. Then we packed up and hit the river. Today we rode with Dee as our guide and Jeff as our naturalist. Big day today - Warm Springs Rapids, the granddaddy of the Yampa. But first, 14 miles, still dominated by Weber sandstone, with occasional Morgan formation intrusions. The first 4 miles consisted of more serpentine meandering. The canyon walls opened a little as we entered Burro Park, then Castle Park. Shortly after that we passed the Mantle Ranch, a private development within the Dinosaur NM - and a controversial one. Currently there are plans to sell the ranch outside the Mantle family and sub-divide it into residential lots. There is also the possibility of attempts to block river rafting travel through the ranch, which owns land on both sides of the Yampa river.
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Yampa River Raft Trip: Just beyond Mantle Ranch, we pulled over and stopped at Laddie Park for lunch. We took our lifejackets and day bags and found a spot on the beach to wait for the guides to set up lunch. Then an amazing thing happened - as we sat there we realized that we were actually HOT! We basked in the bright sunshine and ate our lunches of sandwiches , cookies, and lemonade. Yampa River Raft Trip:
Less than 2 miles past Laddie Park, we came upon Tiger Wall, a high vertical cliff face of Weber sandstone stained with desert varnish, that jutted right out of the water and rose vertically over 1,000 feet. Legend requires a virgin to kiss the wall, so after much consternation and looking around, one of the rafts pulled as close to the wall as possible and Jeff was awarded the honors. Luckily he managed to kiss the wall without scraping his lips or breaking his nose on the rock face. Yampa River Raft Trip: Yampa River Raft Trip:
That accomplished, we continued down river through a section of the Yampa often referred to as Bear Canyon.
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Then we rounded the bend and began to hear that distant, familiar rumble, of a big rapid - Warm Springs. The rafts approached the rapid and pulled in to the right to scout. Everyone got out and walked around to a good vantage point on the bank. Dee gathered all the guides and discussed strategies of how to best run the rapid - hopefully missing both rocks and holes while, at the same time, not flipping any rafts. We were told that more rafts flip in Warm Springs than in the Grand Canyon’s Lava Falls. Dee had also requested that Joy and Mary, our 2 seniors, walk the rapid, and Audrey and Barb agreed to join them. Yampa River Raft Trip:
Yampa River Raft Trip: The plan was for 3 rafts to go through, allowing 3 guides to be available along the bank to assist with any mishaps and also allowing the passengers ample opportunity for good photographs. After the first 3 boats were through, the guides and passengers would walk back upriver to the vantage point and switch positions while the second group of 3 rafts ran the rapid. After Joy and Mary saw the thrill and excitement of the first group’s runs, they decided they wanted to ride, so we agreed to switch into Kelly’s raft so Dee could have them “under his wing.” We pulled out and Kelly guided us masterfully through a wet and wild course, just enough right to miss the huge rocks and holes.
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From the bottom of Warm Springs, it was less than 2 miles to Box Elder 3, where we camped for the night. Yampa River Raft Trip: Yampa River Raft Trip:

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