On a beautiful mid April Saturday, Pam, Robert, Scott and I made
the 2,500' climb to the Fowler-Hillard hut in the Colorado Rockies.
We left the trailhead about 10:00 AM thinking we could find a bridge
over the stream blocking our path to the main trail. After half an
hour of searching, we took off our boots and waded across the rushing
stream of perfectly clear water - not too bad but it was extremely
Soon we were following the jeep road up and up and up. After
starting with a mild angle, the route turned steep about three miles
into the five mile climb. The snow covered route was firm and did not
require our snowshoes. Twisting and turning with switchbacks, we enjoyed
the views of bare aspen trees across a ravine. A stream worked it's
way in the crease of the ravines "V" only to be interrupted by an occasional
beaver dam. We didn't see any beavers but lot's of rabbit tracks in
the snow. We took it easy and continued our steady climb towards treeline.
After a little but of huffing and puffing, we broke through the huge
A typical Colorado high country scene began to unfold: huge
snow covered mountains in the distance, smooth snow covered mountain
tops under our feet and a brisk wind in our face! We quickly covered
the last half-mile to the hut by climbing 300' and then down 400'.
And then we were there!
This was my first hut so I was called a "hut virgin". A moniker I proudly
wore since I was somewhat amazed at the "hut" I found at 11,500 feet
in a pass between two mountains overlooking the Colorado Rockies as
far as you could see.
My appreciation for the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association
went through the clouds as I approached the hut. Here was a "hut" that
should be called a home. Shaking the snow from my boots on the wood
deck (with picnic table), I entered the door. This was a home I could
live in forever: a kitchen complete with pots, pans, dishes and more.
A living area with comfortable seating around a pot belly wood stove.
But there is more. There was split wood in boxes to use to
start your fire, propane in the tanks for cooking, electricity for
light via the solar panels, mattresses on the bunks and oversize pillows
to rest you tired back against or to rest you head at night in the
upstairs sleeping rooms. This was definitely not a "hut".
After an afternoon of scramble, snoozing and relaxing, we
enjoyed a pasta dinner with an incredible cheesecake desert compliments
of Scott, a 33 year old bachelor with 30 Colorado Fourteeners under
his belt plus a few 100 mile!!!! endurance runs. A great guy by
We enjoyed the evening and awoke to snow
squalls Sunday morning. With Robert leading us over the hump and Pam
down the hill, we soon made it back to our stream. Click on the picture
for a video!
The trip down was a little shorter than the trip up. And then,
the stream. To see a video of
Pam crossing the stream, click on the picture!
So we had a great time. The views from the hut were incredible,
the hut was incredible and the company was incredible. A great time
was had by all!
Thank you 10th Mountain Division Hut Association