For three glorious months, I called Winter Park, Colorado home. My goal was to chronicle as many adventures of the Colorado Rocky Mountains as possible. After several people mentioned High-Lonesome Hut, I knew it was time to investigate. A mountain “hut” can be anything from a lean-to to Andy Miller’s three-story luxury accommodation. I asked Andy if he would show me High-Lonesome so I could share the story. The Hut is located 2.5 miles from the trail-head between Fraser and Tabernash (1.5 hours from Denver). The catch? No motorized vehicles allowed. Translation…you X-country ski or dog sled in. I had neither dog nor sled.
I’ve downhill skied for years, but never tried X-country. So this was to be my baptism by necessity. Off to Icebox Mountain Sports to talk to Debbie. She assured me that my lack of experience was not a problem. Good equipment and a few tips and I would be ready to take on the back country. Next day Debbie outfitted me and pointed out some of the basics on the snow behind the shop. Off I went to meet Andy at the trail-head. The beginning of the trail is downhill. I did an immediate head plant into the side of the hill. Andy provided more pointers and we were off again. Over hill and dell Andy skied and I trudged. I burned enough calories to fuel a locomotive.
The Arapaho National Forest surrounded us as the trail opened onto a meadow with this beautiful 1,000 sq. ft cabin snuggled in the middle. Visions of hot chocolate danced in my head as we kicked off our skis and headed to the well-appointed kitchen. Andy went down to the basement to start the furnace. Solar-powered batteries provide the electricity as well as energy to heat water for hot showers. That really sounded scrumptious, but that was beyond the scope of this day’s travel. We rested, snacked and enjoyed exploring the facility. After an hour, we began the trek back to the trail-head. The journey was easier and the terrain familiar.
If you are searching for an adventure…if you are in good physical condition…this is an experience you want to tell your grandchildren. In fact, each time I begin with…have I told you… they roll their eyes and remind me that I have told them the story of High-Lonesome many times before. Ah! this is what memories are made of.
Contact information for High Lonesome Hut: