I think I hit my expiration date on my body. Earlier this year I tore my right medial meniscus earlier this year and had to cancel our plans on a couple of hut trips this year and my hopes of some winter travel were put on hold for a bit. It was a bit of time before I could get in for a appointment with a surgeon and by the time I was ablet to get in the swelling and pain has subsided a bit. With the pain and swelling down I was able to still get out and play a bit, at a lower intensity and still work. I went in for a consultation with a surgeon and after looking at the MRI he told me my mensicus would require surgery but it was up to me when I wanted to have it. Recently my work assignment changed and the dates available for vacation would be between January and the end of March. This time frame also coincided with the kids father being back in town, which offers Paige and I the opportunity to travel a bit more. So I decided to schedule the surgery in April and go in earlier if my knee became worse or started to really affect my ability to work. After a bit more time passed my knee felt a bit better and would only be sore after more intense activity so I have been keeping it easy. With the idea of keeping it mellow and wanting to get out we decided on taking Max and Chase for a hut trip and hoped we could find one with openings for us that met our needs of a short approach and some skiable terrain. Most of the hut availability is taken towards the end of the previous season during a lottery so our hopes were a bit low. Luckily we are able to travel during the week and we found two nights available at Francie's Cabin.
Max and Chase are pretty active but the thought of being away from wifi and electronic devices was not the most appealing trip we could have planned for them. As the trip grew closer we started to prepare food and get our gear together the kids became more excited. While packing the food Max excitedely said, "I think this will be a lot more fun than I thought!" Phew, our hopes of them having fun may actually happen.
How do you ensure people are going to enjoy their first hut trip? Bring plenty of food and extra clothes, plus some alcohol for the adults.
You also want to keep the packs light for the kids. Which means the extra sleeping bags, food and gear need to be carried by us so we loaded up the sled for the trek in.
We took the shorter but steeper route up Crystal Creek Road. We avoided the very steep section of Crystal Creek Rd by staying on Spruce Creek Road to the Burro Trail and then continuing up Crystal Creek Rd so our mileage was 1.6 miles and gained about 800' to the cabin from the parking lot. Once the initial excitement of snowshoeing and getting moving passed we pulled out all the stops to keep the kids moving, ie pacing, telling jokes, pick a point to stop and go to there for a rest, etc. They did great and we made it in just over 2 hours.
Once the other hut dwellers arrived or returned from touring we all discussed sleeping options and were able to get the four of us in a room to ourselves. Once we were all settled and organized a bit it was close to dinner so we relaxed the rest of the day and talked with our cabin mates. The kids were happy to help with the basic shared hut needs or water, keeping the fire going, clean up and cutting wood.
The cabin sits a beautiful basin with mountains all around, Crystal Peak. The snow around the cabin was nice but up high it was wind packed sastrungi. We did a quick tour and headed back to the hut to spend some time with the kids.
They made some snowpeople and then we all went sledding.
The other hut activity, reading and eating cheesits..
We have all been living together for over a year and we continue to all come closer together. I never knew what I was missing and these guys are incredible! We became even closer together.
It all came to a end and we packed up to head out. Smiles all around.
Chase even wanted to pull the sled the last half mile to the car.
The trip was a success with the kids having fun and looking forward to another hut trip and us continuing to grow even closer together. We will see what we can find for next years trip. The kids also experienced bring what you want but you are packing it in and the packing list for next years trip will be adjusted.