Festivus Hut Trip – 2017

I’ve been blessed over the years.

I don’t mean in some mystical new-age Meme sense you may find posted on Facebook that is typically full of schmaltz.

I mean in the “Damn, I’m lucky” sense.

Somehow I stumbled into a career that if I was never passionate about, it provided a livelihood and gave me a skill set in demand. And is funding my current jaunt.

I am currently typing at my friends’ home when they are on vacation. They gave me their house key a long time ago and trust me implicitly. Their sons are my adopted nephews.

When car problems happened recently, I had a place to stay and they made sure everything was OK. Other friends have let me stay in their home in Golden anytime when I pop back into Colorado.

And so on.

Too many people to mention who have been such an important part of my community here in Colorado.

And then there are the many experiences I have had since leaving Rhode Island.  Mountains climbed, canyons explored, and new skill sets learned.

And part of that luck? Somehow I learned to ski. And made a community where we enjoy each other’s company on the holidays.

And how do we enjoying these holidays? By skiing into Colorado’s hut system into the Rocky Mountains during winter.

This year was no exception.

I dropped back into Colorado for the holidays. Just in time for my trusty Kia Sorento to be not so trusty. :O  Luckily Mark and Judy have a local mechanic. And, lucky for me, Mark and Judy accommodated me and let me stay in their guest bedroom. 🙂

We drove up to Leadville, CO and we visited the well-known Leadville Hostel. A place with many good memories for me and loved by many thru-hikers, backcountry skiers, and ultra-runners. The hostel will always be special to me.

Judy, Mark, and I walked around Leadville before dinner. The town was festive and frankly felt like winter. And that is a good thing! The air was cold, there was a bit of snow on the ground, and the town was decorated in exceptional holiday style.

After a quick breakfast, we drove to the trailhead for the 10th Mtn Division Memorial Hut.  The same hut where we went for Christmas five years ago. So much has happened in five years (relationships, job, places where I lived) but it seems my friends and the Colorado outdoors are both constants in my life. 🙂

Rather than follow the single track winter route, we all went up the summer route following the jeep road. About the same elevation gain and mileage as the single track, but much easier for using a sled. Good food, adult libations, and gear are much easily brought up!

With the Jet Sled variation to the 10th Mtn Division Hut. December 2017. PCO Anton S.

The day was quite blustery!  Upon reaching the hut, fires were started, water boiled, and a cozy home for the weekend was made.

Once everyone safely arrived, we all settled in for the evening.

We cooked dinner, wine enjoyed, and stories were told by the wood stove.  Ok, some told more stories than others… 😉

I do enjoy telling a story a smidge. And perhaps talk with my hands a bit. And may have had a glass of wine or two. 🙂 PCO Joe W.

The day, if not entirely blue bird stunning, did hold the promise of better weather that morning.

The day was still windy, but in the trees and the cusp of treeline was tolerable. And the views stunning.

We were able to ski up to Slide Lake. A place where the legendary 10th Mtn Division trained nearly eighty years ago.

The Christmas Eve sunset later that evening proved to be memorable.

The weather moved in that night. Nearly white-out conditions greeted us. Perhaps perfect for Christmas Day.

A good day to be lazy in the hut!

A feast and another fantastic Christmas evening was enjoyed.

PCO Mark T.

A cozy place to spend a holiday.

PCO Will R.

We skied out the following day.

Group photo.  PCO of Will R.

Blue skies and no wind greeted us for the final miles back to the car.

Another excellent weekend spent with friends. And another reminder of just how wonderful life is overall.

All the photos.

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Paul Harrer
Paul Harrer
6 years ago

What a Great Way to spend a Holiday with friends in an environment only a few get to experience. Paul, you have had a Bountiful 2017 that has surely rewarded yourself & your subscribers. Keep us informed throughout 2018. A sincere – Thank You!