Monday, April 19, 2010
Hut Trip Day One
I've returned from my backcountry hut trip adventure in one piece! What is a hut trip you ask? Well, essentially it involves parking your car along I-70, strapping on a pair of snowshoes or skis, loading up a pack full of food and gear, and taking off on a multi-mile trek into the backcountry to commune with nature...or whatever.
My awesome friend Mindy had been on a hut trip a few years ago, so organized this one for us (originally meant for her family and my sister as well, but for various reasons, the others bailed and it was just the two of us alone in the wilderness). Our particular hut, Walter's Cabin, is a part of the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association which manages a system of 29 backcountry huts in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. It also has hot and cold running water, an indoor toilet, and "shower" (a trickle of water dripping from a shower head). Bonus!
Even though I've skied in altitude before, I was a bit unprepared for how strenuous a 2.7 mile hike would be in altitude while wearing a 40 (50?) pound pack. It took 2 1/2 hours!!!!! We had to stop a lot along the way, mostly because this flatlander hadn't adjusted to the elevation having only been in Denver for 12 hours...and that's just 5000'. The trailhead at Vail Pass is 10, 580' and we climbed to about 11, 300'. All I can say is that it was super gnarly and if I had known then what I know now, I'm not sure that I would have gone. (Of course I would have, Min!) Get a load of my "Day One" photo essay. Missing? Photos of me crying on the inside.
The trusty Subie. Loading up.
Mindy. Fearless leader.
A look back at the ground covered, but there are mile(s) to go.
The snow is pretty unstable in the spring. We fell through a few times...Like this! (Note the deep hole in the foreground.) Sorry Min! Just didn't have a photo of me thigh deep.
Had we not worn the snowshoes we probably would have fallen through a lot more than we did.
Just. A. Little. Bit. Further.
Toilet. Great. But where's Walter's Cabin?!?
Must be hidden beyond these evergreens...it better be or someone dies.
Yes! Walter's cabin! Finally!
Post hike snacks. Ahhh...
Oh, yes. The wine cube is essential not only because it's lighter than carrying glass bottles, but because that little thing holds TWO bottles of wine. And it's not bad. Thanks Target!
Dinner. Four cheese tortellini with marinara sauce topped with shaved Parmesan. And a glass of cube wine.