Trip Report – Little Yampa Canyon 2022

Posted by on June 2, 2022

May 14 and 15, 2022

By Dan Custer

For several years we have been running this stretch through Little Yampa Canyon a week or two earlier than we did this year. In early May the cottonwoods have not leafed out, making it easier to see nests. This year we got there just before the cottonwoods began to leave out. They showed hints of green but still allowed us to see the eagle nests, many with occupants, and someone on the trip saw baby eagles in one nest. Going a little later in May this year had a couple of other perks. There was no frost in the morning and the river was running higher. The swallows were out. Luckily there were very few mosquitoes. I didn’t see any, but I came home with a couple of welts.

Flow was great at about 5000 CFS, with no concerns about dragging the boat through shallow stretches. We faced a continual and powerful headwind the first day, with gusts over 20 MPH. It was a workout, but we were rewarded with calm winds the next day. There was plenty of sunshine and no rain.

We camped on the same island as previous trips, with plenty of space for everyone. Even though the wind died down in the evening, we skipped on having a fire. Our evening entertainment was provided by Lindsay on the banjo and Roger on the guitar. Several cattle moved in closer as the music played, but they never caused us any trouble. Further down the island was an active eagles nest and occasionally we saw them, from afar, glide in or take off.

This was a pleasant weekend trip with very few other people on the river. We did see another group with rafts camping this year. In previous years we saw no other campers. We also saw a camp where someone drove to the river, and someone else had a dory moored to shore near the end of the trip. Otherwise, we were alone with the eagles, mergansers, orioles, swallows, meadowlarks, and the cattle.

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