Yampa River Raft Trip: Map - Day 5

Day 5 - Sunday, May 26, 2002

For our last day on the river, we climbed into Kelly’s boat. We had already ridden with her through Warm Springs rapids, but we wanted to ride with Emmett for a final geology “lesson” and he had not been in her raft yet. What a lesson we got! As we moved through each rock formation, Emmett would describe the terrain millions of years ago that had created the geologic conditions that, in turn, had created the rock types and layers.

Early on we came to the mouth of Whirlpool Canyon, which is marked by the Island Park fault. Here sharply folded Round Valley limestone and Morgan formations (of Mesozoic Pennsylvanian times) dive into the river and are replaced by younger (Jurassic and Triassic eras of the Cenozoic age) Glen Canyon sandstone.
Yampa River Raft Trip: Yampa River Raft Trip: Yampa River Raft Trip: Yampa River Raft Trip:
We slowly passed through Island Park, exposing younger and younger geologic layers - first yellowish-brown cliffs of Entrada sandstone (formed as coastal dunes), then soft brownish-red beds ot the Carmel formation (comprised of siltstone, shale and gypsum), then the Curtis formation (gray slopes of sandstone, shale and sandy limestone), and finally the Morrison formation of dinosaur fame. Yampa River Raft Trip: Yampa River Raft Trip:
Between geologic features, Ellen was treated to a wonderful conversation with Joy Hilliard, a 78 year young woman from Denver. Oh, the stories she told!

Slow, lazy waters continued as we entered Rainbow Park. One could jump over the edge here and swim, with lifejacket on, next to the raft although we chose not to - the water was still very cold here. Instead we all obeyed the silent float rule and soaked in the canyon visually.
Yampa River Raft Trip: At the bottom of Rainbow Park, we encountered the other end of the Island Park fault, separating Rainbow Park and Split Mountain Canyon. We passed the fault and pulled over for our final lunch on the river. Yampa River Raft Trip:
After lunch and group photos, we began the bitter-sweet run through Split Mountain Canyon - sweet because was almost 2 hours of fast water (including rapids like Moonshine, SOB, Schoolboy and Inglesby) and beautiful canyon walls, monoliths and spires, and bitter because it was leading us the the end of a most remarkable trip.
Yampa River Raft Trip: Yampa River Raft Trip: Yampa River Raft Trip: Yampa River Raft Trip:
Yampa River Raft Trip: Yampa River Raft Trip:
Around mid-afternoon we pulled around the final bend, rode through Split Mountain and put in at the Split Mountain landing. We unloaded our gear, hoisted the rafts onto trailers attached to the Holiday vans, piled and in and rode back to the Holiday warehouse in Vernal.

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