After 10 years of applications, finally overcame the 4% success rate and drew a Yampa permit. Not only drew, but drew a prime-time permit. With 25 as the maximum group size there was no shortage of people wanting to go. This rapidly became the largest, most disparate, and largely unknown passenger list for everyone involved. That in itself was a cause for concern without even considering none of us had rowed this river, much less in flood conditions. Then things just sort of fell apart. Two personal medical emergencies plus a death in the immediate family left me iffy and distracted. The person bridging our two distinct groups broke a leg and was out. The NPS then initially denied the addition of 3 members until last minute pleading and begging won the day. After a frantic last week of test rigging and meal changes, the wife stated: "This has to be too much work, worry, and effort to be worthwhile". It's always been an issue but the obsession with river running has easily trumped that until this trip. A new sense of mortality and the unknown had me outside of my comfort zone with only the true world class nature of this river section making it seem worthwhile. This trip was a bit of a watershed event for me, or perhaps this whole year has been the true event.
This was a twelve-person, seven-boat (4 rafts and 3 catarafts) trip of 6 days/71 miles. River Runners Transport ran the six vehicle shuttle with the price being $90 per plus the $10 park entry fee. All campsites were assigned which in many ways, took much of decision making and trip flexibility out of the hands of the trip leader and the group itself. Thus the NPS decided how many miles we were to make each day, which in our case was 4.8, 24.2, 13.7, 7.7, 2.9, and 18.8 miles. The up side was no competition for campsites.
On everyone's mind was the flow as it was predicted to be very big and turned out to be even bigger. We ran Warm Springs at the yearly peak of 17K and took out at Split Mountain with 19K CFS. At roughly 8 mph it was the fastest river any of us had ever run. Our big day was 24 miles and was done in 3.5 hours. Although some mosquitos, not much in the way of insect life. Weather was close to perfect outside of the occasional sprinkle and windstorm. The Dinosaur NPS is the river manager. Photo credits: Mike Wellborn, Vicki Warner, Deanna Watts, and Gene Couch. Other members of the cast were Steve Williams, Bryan Burke, Doug Green, Mark and Malintha Larson, Tom Warner, and Michael Watts.