J & I did our third 10th Mountain Division Hut trip in Colorado. Our first was to Polar Star Inn in 2012 and we did a second trip in 2013 to Shrine Mountain Inn. J's sister Jamie (SILAdventure) and her partner Rachel (DocDoc) are all about the Colorado backcountry huts, taking 3 trips a year. Jamie is a member and enters the lottery to score some hut spots every year and they have probably been to half of them. So, whenever we are in town and there are spots, we usually hop on their hut trips.
This time, it was just the 4 of us and we XC skied to The Section House Hut.
We started at the Boreas Pass trailhead, right outside of Breckenridge. The 6.5-mile trail is pretty
exposed (in a safe way), with majestic views of Breck's ski area and surrounding alpine scenery. The elevation gain is about 1100 feet, so minimal for the 6.5 miles and good for a novice. For perspective, it took us 3.5 hours to get up (plus a hearty lunch break), but only 2 hours to get down. We still had to work going down, but gravity gave us that extra push.
If you remember, J is in training for Denali. And because I am an awesome wife who contributes to her husband's success, I allowed him to be my Sherpa and carry all of my stuff. So he was carrying his Gregory Denali 100-liter pack loaded with his stuff and mine, while I was carrying my Gregory Maya 5-liter pack! Somehow, though, I was still the slowest one in the group. They don't call me Steadee for nothing ...
The Section House Hut has not just dramatic 360-degree views of the Rockies, but a classic bit of Colorado history. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as it was built in the 1880s to house railroad workers who managed this railroad section that ran from Denver to Leadville over Boreas Pass. I still find it hard to believe there used to be a railway line over Boreas Pass at 11,482 feet!!! The indoor pictures and written history indicated a very difficult, curvy passing for rail cars that surpassed the odds and operated through the 1930s.
The high mountain cabin sleeps 12 people, so we shared the space with 3 other groups. But they were an awesome group to hang with. Maybe they were so awesome because Rachel thought it'd be good for us to bring extra beer (via sled) to share ... that could be the key to any stranger's heart.
Every hut is different, and this one had no running water, but solar-powered lights. I find "no running water" to be more difficult than no electricity ... I don't care about using an outhouse, it's more about the fact I'm a water hog. I carried 1.5 liters and drank it all on our ski up. J carried 2 liters and I drank 1 of his liters. Melting snow for water is an arduous process and don't forget we needed water for washing dishes. I couldn't possibly melt enough snow to quench my thirst. And no, beer is not a thirst quencher for me.
Jamie & Rachel (specifically Rachel) cooked up a spectacular dinner of scallops, arugula & pasta. J & I typically eat our dehydrated meals on our backpacking trips, so this was quite gourmet for us.
Overall, it was an fabulous hut trip, especially because we had stellar weather (the infamous bluebird Colorado skies) and we were comfortably exhausted from the workout. We hope to add more hut trips to our memory books in the future.
Jumping shots at 11,000 feet ... no bueno.
Labels: Colorado, Family, Outdoor Recreation