One thing that I learned from a young age was that adventures don’t have to be expensive to be unique, fulfilling & memorable.
My sister invited me and my kiddos to join her on a Hut Hike. I tend to say yes without really thinking about what I’m signing up for, she sent me several links and I was definitely intrigued. A simple explanation, the 10th Mountain Division Huts is a non-profit system of 34 backcountry huts that are connected by 350 miles of suggested routes. Their “name honors the men of 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army, who trained during World War II at Camp Hale in central Colorado”. From my basic understanding, you can rent a whole cabin or spots in the cabin so that you’re essentially sharing it with strangers for one to several nights. For more information about these hikes, you can read about the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association here.
For each hut trip, your group has to carry in everything you will need for your trip. We had five people in our group and we stayed overnight – think about all the things you would need for 24 hours including sleeping bags & blankets, add diapers and wipes, pare it down to the bare minimum and it is still a decent load to hike in to a cabin! My sister knew that I was training for Mt Rainier and she told me I could carry Ruby & all the water. A friend of mine let me borrow their Osprey baby carrier so besides the fact that she was heavy – trekking up a two-year old and several bottles of water was quite comfortable.
We got a little confused with the directions so my brother-in-law took Liam and my sister, Tyler, Ruby & I continued in the direction that we thought was right. We ended up being wrong and the “I-told-you-so’s” ensued though it was all in good fun. When we finally turned in the right direction, Liam was there to greet us with open arms!
After touring the cabin and choosing our rooms, we continued up the mountain for a day hike. The weather turned cold and I had forgotten Ruby’s hat and warm gear back at the cabin but we made due. Liam was an absolute trooper, I was so proud that he stayed ambitious and continued along the trail with minimal complaining. The trail ended at a lake (I actually think it continued on but the kids were toast and the wind was bitter cold so it was time to turn back). We had snacks, changed Ruby’s diaper in the only windbreak we could find behind an old ruined cabin, took pictures and then headed back down. Along the hike it snowed for a while.
When the hike was over we returned to the cabin, rested for a while, tried out the sauna, prepped dinner, and spent some time talking before heading to bed.
Ruby had a cough, there was a noisy mouse in our room and I needed more blankets. I had hoped for a night of deep sleep in the fresh mountain air but sleep was scarce that night. Thankfully the kids woke up happy. A woman in the room next door to us sought me out at breakfast & told me that she knew it was a rough night for me & that I’m doing an amazing job. Her kindness was incredible and made me tear up, the community that is created in these huts between strangers is probably one of the most unexpected things I encountered on this trip. How easy it would have been for her to be annoyed with us for disrupting her sleep but instead she went out her way to let me know that she was proud of me for bringing my kids on this adventure and she understood – mother to mother – that it had been challenging. That kind of empathy is just not common in my world and I am still humbled by how she treated us.
I accidentally put Ruby backwards into the baby carrier before we left and it ended up being awesome, she enjoyed a different view on the way down and I got a break from having my hair pulled! Liam was able to carry a heavy pack all the way back to the car, that kid should be so proud of his accomplishments over the last day!
My takeaway is that I’m a hut trip convert and am looking forward to the next hut trip! Hopefully next time it will work out so my oldest daughter can come with us, I know she would love it! Thinking about planning your own hut trip? Hit me up, I’d love to hear about it and maybe invite myself along 😉