Our annual family winter trip had been on the calendar for about a month. Heavy snows had been falling in the mountains when the weather pattern brought a “pineapple express” and rain up into the high country. It was with some uncertainty of the snow conditions that we drove up to the Fish Creek trailhead.
The snow was deep (about 4 1/2 feet), but wet and heavy on the ground. A solo skier had broken trail since the rains. We spread out over a significant distance as Wyatt led the way and Boone and I brought up the rear. Boone started off excited to be on skis, but as he pushed through the heavy snow his enthusiasm waned, and it wasn’t long before he ended up on my shoulders.
Colter hung back with me as I would ferry Boone a half mile or so and return for my pack, then repeat. By the time we arrived at the cabin Wyatt, Zane, and Sabrina had a nice fire in the wood stove and gear hung up and drying. We started smelting snow for water and cooked six camping pizzas for the eight of us.
The sun went down and a full moon began casting its light over the snow. We enjoyed a beautiful black and white landscape as the stars began to come out.
The sun rose over the Gospels to our east and began to warm the frozen earth. Sleeping bags covered every available inch of the small cabin’s floor. I began cooking bacon eggs for breakfast, the smell of which woke those who hadn’t yet. We polished off our meal, packed up, brought in more wood, swept out the cabin and set out.
The snow had crusted overnight, which made the downhills a little more interesting. The warming sun began to soften areas of the snow, making unpredictable conditions. The eight of us made it to the car without mishap, tallying yet another successful trip into the backcountry.