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I think I was 10 years old the first time I was on the Green River. My grandma had just passed away, and my mom decided my grandpa needed some company. I would be spending 3 weeks alone with grandpa, and if I was good, on the 4th week I could go on a week long rafting trip down the Green River. To a 10 year old kid whose grandpa was a retired army colonel. . . the thought of 3 weeks alone with him was terrifying!!!

I spent my first week hiding downstairs. I would venture upstairs for a bowl of weevil cereal or one of grandpa’s famous omlettes (I am pretty sure every one had peanut butter or cottage cheese in them). The second week grandpa and I started watching Murder She Wrote together, went on evening walks, got 25 cent hot dogs, and even went to the dollar movie to watch Driving Miss Daisy. By the third week, we were buddies. I am pretty sure I was the only one of his over 50 grandkids he let call him “the weird old grandpa”. Needless to say. . . I earned my week on the Green River and left those 3 weeks with memories and a bond I will never forget.

Grandma and Grandpa have been gone for a while now, but heading back to the Yampa and Green Rivers brought back a ton of memories. Five days at the base of 1000 ft cliffs, sleeping in the dirt, and floating down the river reminded me of their love and respect of nature. The Yampa River was beyond beautiful. Every bend in the river was another postcard perfect picture and a memory I will never forget. Of course I would do it again.

A couple things I took away from the most recent week on the Yampa River. . . It’s important to get outside, feel humbled in nature, spend time in solitude, and acquaint/reacquaint yourself with 23 amazing people.

Get out there
Jessica Yurtinus