Last weekend, J & I went on our fourth Colorado backcountry hut trip--the second for this season--with J's sister and wife. This time, we hit Point Breeze Cabin, which is actually privately owned, but still booked through the 10th Mountain Division Hut System. Jamie & Rachel booked the entire hut, which sleeps 8, for us and their friends.
Along the Continental Divide north of Leadville, this hut is what I would call beginner-friendly for a few reasons.
1) This newly built hut is not remote. The trail to the hut is less than a mile, with very little elevation gain. You could take several trips back and forth to the car for supplies, if you wanted. Or, you could pack super heavy (margaritas, but not the jalapeño version) and use a sled to bring up supplies. You could even drive to Leadville if you need more provisions (more alcohol). The well-trodden and minuscule section of trail is actually part of the Continental Divide Trail/Colorado Trail. During our weekend, the high traffic allowed the trail to be so snow-packed and frozen that skis or snowshoes were not even necessary.
2) Besides lacking running water during the winter and having to melt snow to hydrate, this hut has all the amenities of a log cabin home. Okay, maybe that's a little bit of an exaggeration since it lacks flushing toilets, a heat source other than the wood stove and an oven ... okay, okay, not at all. But it has solar power electricity and that is not something you regularly find at the backcountry huts.
3) Perched at 10,500 feet and with very little uphill to get to the hut, the elevation shouldn't be a factor.
4) The hut is actually kid-friendly, complete with gates to put around the stove, potty training toilet seat (in the outhouse) and sleds. Don't worry, we tested out the sleds.
Because the hut only slept 8 people and we were a group of 9, J & I decided to use this as a good test run for winter camping. We've been wanting to go winter camping all season, but have not willingly left the comforts of inside life to follow through.
Here's my take. Winter camping is freaking hard. Not only do you have to dig out an area to set up the tent and plod down the snowpack, it is brrr cold. J was testing a -20 degree sleeping bag and was nice and comfy. I had a 0 degree bag and dreamed I was getting frostbite. But, we made it through the night and, for some strange reason, plan to do it again.
Labels: Colorado, Outdoor Recreation