This summer has been jam packed for us with so many crazy adventures across pretty much all of the best States in the West. (Sorry California but you have to many people, and we’d love to get back to Montana but you are far away and on fire) And I guess across some pretty cool Countries as well (Megan traveled through Europe, more on that in another post) Alright I think the parenthesis interruptions are over. (Or are they?)
Back on track here.
So one of these insanely fun adventures was getting to float down the Yampa River for 5 days. It starts out in North West Colorado and flows West for 50 miles before joining up with the Green River and crossing the Utah border for another 20 miles until the takeout at Rainbow Park.
You have to ditch all your full strength beer at the Utah border or else the Rangers will bust ya!
HAAAAA Had you guys going there didn’t I?!
I wanted to write this guide because river trips have been some of the top experiences of my life! I did my first multi day trip when I was 9 and now being 27 I have lost count how many trips I’ve been on. Shoot I’m getting old… Anyways enough with the reminiscing and on with the…
Misadventure Guide For an Epic River Trip!
Get a Permit
Getting a permit is actually the toughest part of the whole river trip process. The Yampa is a very sot after river to float so river runners from all over the world try and get a permit. My suggestion is to have as many people as you can to enter the lottery. The entry is only $15 per so it wont break the bank and the more chances the better! If you wind up like the other 99% of people and get an email saying that you did not get picked in the lottery… Don’t cry yet! There is hope through the cancellation system. You can keep checking back, I suggest daily, and see if any dates have become open from other groups cancelling. You do have to be more flexible with dates going about it this way but it’s almost always possible to pick up a cancellation permit.
Pick the Ultimate Crew
Now you may be wondering what characteristics make up the ultimate crew? I’m sorry to say it may not be a group of your best buds, but I’m not saying that it wont be a group of your best buds either. You want crew members to have a solid grasp on what goes into making a successful river trip. You also want people who are gonna keep it interesting sitting around the campfire for 4 nights. That being said good luck! The whole river group dynamic can be tough to crack and can take years of trial and error. But once you find that perfect crew, never let em go! A good resource if you need to pick up some experienced rafters for your trip is mountainbuzz.com. No promises on not picking up a classic river rat oddball though!
Divy up the Gear List
You can probably guess that for a 5 Day/ 4 Night off-grid river trip the gear list can be quite expansive. I won’t go into much detail on this, www.mountainbuzz.com again will be a good resource, but a river trip can be done in many different styles. Obviously during high water you’ll want a rig that is capable of class V rapids and protection for all your gear that you don’t want getting wet. This usually entails rafts or catamarans of 14 to 18 ft. in length. If you hit the river in low water season than all different kinds of vessels could be used. Canoe, SUP or maybe even an inner tube (just kidding, don’t do that last one) Another few key pieces of gear: First, a groover, or in other terms a portable outhouse. No human waste can be left behind! Second, a fully loaded kitchen box. One of your rafts should have a dry box loaded with all the kitchen gear needed to cook, feed and clean up after the crew. Last, a fire pan. If there is not a fire ban in place than all fires must be in a fire pan and ashes are packed out.
Create the Menu
People wanna eat right?! And no, just because you are out in the middle of nowhere for 5 days doesn’t mean you have to eat oatmeal and canned meat for every meal. Some of the best meals I have ever had in my life have been on river trips. I’m talking 5 star restaurant worthy! Ok maybe not that far but they were damn good. Once you have your list of crew going on the trip it is best to split up the trips meals between boats or families depending on how many people are on the trip. So if you have 5 boats on the trip and 5 days of meals, each boat is responsible for a days worth of cooking for the crew. This means 1 breakfast and 1 dinner. If you have odd numbers it might be a little tougher to divvy up but I have faith in your math skills! For lunch everyone packs their own favorite snackage. Takes a little more math off your plate too.
Bring the Party
After all a river trip is suppose to be a vacation! After months of planning and coordinating people, the moment you push off from shore there is nothing better than cracking a cold beverage. Whether it be a tasty micro brew, la croix or craft soda. We definitely suggest making it a tasty microbrew! Make sure to have your math skills freshened up by the time you’re calculating the amount of party beverages to bring. It can be a very long last day without the adequate supplies for red beers and bloody mary’s. A few classic river games should definitely be packed for the camp tournament as well. Most camps have great beaches so horse shoes and bacci ball are classic choices. We’ve also seen ladder toss on a few trips but we like to keep it simple. A deck of cards and cribbage board for around the campfire keeps things entertaining after the sun goes down.
The last item of business coincidentally deals with the last hoorah. I highly suggest planning a costume party, preferably the last night of the trip to cap it off right. Everybody feels a little bit more freedom in a costume and it will most certainly leave a lasting impression of how amazing the river trip was. Make it an easy theme like toga or disco so everyone participates. Everyone will be begging to come on next years trip!
So there you have it. 5 easy tips to get out on the water and away from civilization. Just like John Wesley Powell back in 1860. Full disclosure, there is quite a bit more knowledge that goes into planning a river trip but this is a blog post not a novel. To find really in depth forums and discussions on planning river trips go to MOUNTAIN BUZZ or if you have more specific questions we’d be happy to answer them all, just leave em down below!