Snow, skiing, food and drink: A trip report of spending Christmas at the 10th Mountain Hut.
The 10th Mountain Division Hut system has left a legacy in Colorado. "Rustic luxury" where a person can ski or snowshoe into the backcountry. enjoy the glories of the Colorado winter during the day and a warm fire, a hot drink and shared laughter at night.
When offered the chance to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at the hut, it was an opportunity too good for someone and I to pass up.
The hut would be the actual 10th Mountain Hut. Nestled near the Continental Divide, it is near a historic place. The namesake 10th Mountian Division had training manuevers at the nearby Homestake Peak and Slide Lake. With our modern gear and relaxed pace, it would be a much more casual weekend compared to the men who trained here seventy years ago.
The apporach to the hut would be gentle. Perfect terrain for touring skis! As I was schlepping in lots of food and someone' overnight gear, it would also be a good trip to make use of a gear sled.
After a hearty breakfast in nearby Leadville, CO my friends Mark, Judy and Andy all made it to the trailhead. We suited up and off we went. With Mark and I playing porter for Judy and someone. 😉
We followed the Nordic markers along the trail. An old friend was even spotted along the way.
As we arrived closer to the hut, the weather started getting colder and snowier.
But soon we arrived. By coincidence, mutual friends of ours had reserved the other spaces in the hut. It was a welcome sight to see our friends there. The fire was stoked, warm drinks would be consumed and friendly faces greeted us.
With the cold ans snow outside, fine Christmas Eve was enjoyed inside.
When we woke up on Christmas Day, a winter wonderland greeted us.
Though the combonation of new snow on top of old snow would make for dicey avalance conditions, some fine touring could stil be had.
Homestake Peak drew us in with Slide Lake below to make a very picturesque tour.
After a wonderful tour, it was time to head back.
After a quick bite to eat, I was not ready to call it a day.
One more tour would be had to the surrounding area.
A memorable view point had the CT and CDT below in the valley. A perfect place to take in the Colorado winter landscape.
It was a fine day of touring..that even made up for the stomach bug I was the "lucky" person to receive. :O
Shivering most of the night, naseau, vomitting and feeling tired is not how I normally enjoy spending my Christmas nights. 😉
Luckily I was (relatively) fine the next morning. someone again commented on how I recover quickly. The truth is that I am just too stupid to know I am supposed to be tired. 😉
We took the jeep track out and seems the art of skiing with a pulk was a little bit easier.
The road was more scenic in many ways than the single track the day before. The fresh snow along the way with the serene and forested path certainly helped.
Before too long, the cars were reached and another great hut trip came to an end.
A wonderful holiday in the backcountry. And one of the best Chirstmas gifts I've enjoyed.
Maps and Route Information: Hutski,com is a great online resource. This link has the route, maps and trailhead directions. The link has some suggested trips to do around the hut, too.
For the area around the hut, Trails Illustrated Maps #109 and #126 work well.