We’ve lived in Colorado for eight years now but have never been on a hut trip. Thus we were excited to join our friends Audra and Peter for two nights at 11,200′ in Walter’s Cabin. Audra and Peter have a son Alex about Joe’s age and an infant Didier. Their friends Sarah and Levi (along with Leah and Anora) made us six adults, three kids, and two infants. Walter’s Cabin is one of the three Shrine Mountain Inns, perched above Shrine Pass (near Vail Pass) and one of the system of Tenth Mountain Division “huts”. And, we discovered, they’re pretty posh. We’d been expecting pseudo-camping, but what we got was basically a condo with thin air and a fantastic view.
We did a little mountain biking. We did a little hiking. I even snuck out for a short run on Sunday afternoon. Mostly we lounged around the cabin watching the incredible light on the Gore and Tenmile Range peaks out the panoramic windows.
Aside from the stunning view, the main attraction of Shrine Pass is the nearby Shrine Mountain (which is really more of a long, gentle ridge) a short hike from the cabin. It isn’t very high, but it’s treeless and has jaw-dropping views in all directions: Holy Cross to the west, the mysterious and peaky Gore Range to the north, and the familiar, tall Tenmile Range looming to the east. The only downside was the mosquito population which, like the wildflowers, was quite healthy.
It was a good, mellow time with new friends in a new place. I’d love to go back in the winter and ski the big, open glades to the east or the long, storied runs to the west.