A good friend of mine celebrated her 40th B-day in style: Three days of skiing, good food, wine and friends up at McNamara Hut just outside of Aspen, CO.

The trip started off under a blanket of those wonderful winter blue skies I’ve grown to love so much in Colorado. An easy traverse up the Hunter Creek Drainage.

Jeep road along the Hunter Creek drainage

After a while, I started cruising along and oblivious to the fact my friends were behind me.

Finally made it to the hut and gratefully shouldered off my much heavier than normal pack.

McNamara Hut

What was in said pack? Enough food (and then some!) for 16 people on Saturday’s dinner. Call it Italian Food Panic Mode, but in my pack, I had:

  • 10 lbs of pork loin
  • 5 lbs of spinach
  • 1.5 lbs of dried salami
  • mushrooms, onions and black olives
  • A lot of carrots and potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • COFFEE !!!!

What’s a 40th birthday bash without lots of food?

And don’t worry, other people packed in the wine!

Everyone arrived at the hut. The fire was stoked. Hot drinks consumed. And we relaxed for the evening.

Twilight view from the hut


The following morning, many of us set out for the nearby summit of Bald Knob. For those wanting views, the summit could not be beat! The famous Maroon Bells could be seen, along with Capitol, the West Elks and other mountains that fuel many day dreams.

A bald Paul Mags on Bald Knob


On top, some chose to do some turns and make yo-yo runs in the snow. Being hiker trash at heart, I did my Nordic touring and explored the area.


After returning at the hut, I (like everyone else) enjoyed basking in the warm sun, sitting on the deck and just enjoying the view. Sipping on a hot cup of joe, taking in the view and relaxing was perfect. Sometimes simply doing nothing is the best way to enjoy the mountains!

Wendy says “Ciao ragazzo!”
(OK..she didn’t..but she looks like she should! )

By later afternoon, I had commandeered the kitchen and started cooking. Seared the roasts, fired up the wood oven and somehow managed to make something edible. My Dad had an apron hanging up in his apt that said If you don’t like the food, drink more wine. Taking the apron’s advice, I drank plenty of wine…. (OK, so the advice does not apply to the cooks!)

Dinner was consumed. A little more wine was drank. And we then brought out the cake.

Another wonderful night was had.

The following morning, we packed up, skied out and enjoyed some last views down into the valley and across to the Maroon Bells.

We made our way back to the trailhead and wrapped up another wonderful trip.

Until next time!




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