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This past weekend I did my first ever 10th mtn hut trip. It was totally dope. We spent the night in Eagle with the attempt to get an early start on the trail, but as can happen, we hit some hickups in the morning that put us on the trail around 11. A light snow was falling as we started out, but becasue of the drought, the first mile or so of skinning was kind of rough, hitting balls of red clay beneath the thin snow pack as we skinned up the road tords Fulford. We realized quickly that Fulford is not an abandonded mining town, but An inhabited community with about 30 cabins, accessable by snowmobile on the road we were skinning. Everyone who passed us was friendly, but the snowmobile traffic somewhat took away from the backcountry experience.
Shortly after lunch, the traffic became a blessing: I was in no-man's land between the speed deamon, Courtney, and the rest of the group who had stopped to take care of some blister problems, when I heard a very large truck comming up the road. I started to edge my way off and turned around to see our entire party, packs and skis in the back of the truck. Irine, the one lady who lives in Fulford year round (on her way back from quilting class) stopped and said: "Need a lift?" Who was I to reject? the couple of miles she drove us to Fulford probally saved our group an hour and a half of our total trip time, which was good becasue none of us were prepared for the slog ahead of us.
After Fulford, it was a few more miles up the road before we cut off on a small jeep trail with a pretty good grade. These last couple miles to the cabin were exausting, but we made it. The cabin is SWEET. You walk in to a large kitchen with a breakfast area, a couch and a lazy boy chair, with two bedrooms upstairs and 1 bedroom set below the den. Dave, the sherpa, dropped his pack and went back to check on the rest of the group, who, with rented boots and their first backcountry experience, were having a tougher go at the hill. Randy, Courtney and I turned on the Propane stove to start boiling some water, got the wood burning stove cranking, and some lanterns lit. We were just putting our boots back on, about to follow dave on his relief mission, when Adam and Emily showed up, tell us the others were taking it slow, but were fine. So we decided to relax. We cooked a fine dinner of spegetti with meat balls, and a blueberry cobbler for dessert, while playing games untill the wee hours of the night (9:30 pm). Then we went to our rooms and crashed.
Sleeping at 11,000' is always a little bit rough, but we all slept alright and woke up late to about a foot of fresh snow that had fallen that night. We made breakfast burritos and then climbed up new york mountain to get a bit of skiing in. The snow was great below tree-line, but the grades were a bit mellow for skiing shin deep powder. A lot of me wished we had another night at the cabin so we could have spent all day skiing in the beautiful fresh snow, but as it was we packed up and headed down the mountain. The ride down was pretty easy on skis, with only a short mile to skin after we passes Fulford.
The trip was awesome, and will become a yearly tradition. Remember to go to huts.org to reserve your hut WAY in advance, they fill up pretty quickly. Also, hiking 7 miles in ski boots is not easy, and the route finding in unfamiliar snowy terrain can be difficult. I'd highly recommend checking out the topo maps app and using it on your trip. If you're depending on the app for navigation, be sure to turn off your phone when not in use to save the battery.