A Weekend at a Hut in the Backcountry with D Bar Cake & a Theme Party
Once a year I dig out all my backcountry gear and trek to a dry cabin in the mountains of Colorado with a dozen or so friends. For the last 13 years, I look forward to this trip every winter after I was lucky enough to marry into this group of adventure loving friends many moons ago. Every year it's a slightly different group due to babies being born, work duties, and last minute positive COVID tests, but it's always a good time. And there is always a theme!
This year's lottery system landed us a weekend trip to Harry Gates Hut outside of Basalt, CO. Luckily, the hike in is fairly reasonable - much more reasonable than the first trip I joined in 2010 to Skinner Hut with -17deg temperatures, 10.6 miles, and 3000K+ feet of elevation gain. Even with the shorter and easier trail, perfect bluebird weather, and good base fitness, any backcountry adventure usually results in terrible blisters on my feet, sore hip flexors, and the desire for a shower.
Harry Gates Hut: A 10th Mountain Division Hut
Total distance from the Montgomery Flats Trailhead: 7 miles
Total elevation gain into the hut: 2005 ft
Elevation of the hut: 9700ft
According to my Garmin, I burned about 1800 calories skinning my way up to the hut, which meant I was quite hungry once I got there (especially since my only trail snack was a bag of sour gummy worms). Luckily, the organizer of our trip, Aaron, is an excellent cook and prepares all of our meals in his gourmet kitchen the week before the trip and all we have to do is heat it up!
Friday lunch: veggie chili over mashed potatoes
Friday dinner: pho noodle soup with green beans and mushrooms + D Bar smores cake for birthday dessert
Saturday breakfast: ham and swiss frittata, broccoli and feta frittata, French bread, orange juice (and cake)
Saturday lunch: chickpea and potato curry (and cake)
Saturday dinner: beef tacos/enchiladas (and cake)
Sunday breakfast: veggie and chorizo breakfast burritos (the cake was gone!)
Being off the grid in the middle of the Rocky Mountains may mean rest and relaxation for some, but for this active group there was a lot going on. Heather and I did yoga on the patio, a few songs were sung with the hut guitar and banjo, the wood burning oven stumped Arthur for a few hours, several people went out for a backcountry ski/snowboard, wildlife watching (a fox!), a birthday celebration for Liz (a ten pound DBar smores cake was hiked in!), and a 'Rock of Ages' theme party complete with a disco ball kept many of us up too late one evening.
Next adventure: A weekend ski trip (in-bounds) to Crested Butte