Spring has Sprung: Cold Season Catch-up Part One

For once, it’s warmer outside our house than inside. I’m sitting on the back porch sans jacket. True, I’m still wearing a three-quarter length shirt and pants and I’m surrounded by snow. But it’s springtime in the mountains: at 58 degrees (which would have Floridians shivering, grabbing for down jackets) it’s basically summer. And tomorrow, it will probably snow again.

Which reminds me — I need to catch you folks up on this winter. I have been worse at blogging than Donald Trump is at not pissing off every Hispanic, Muslim, African-American, woman or other racial or religious minority in our country. And that’s saying something.

Let me remedy my errant and lackadaisical winter blogging patterns. In short, here’s what you’ve missed:

  1. A late February hut trip/liver destroyer to Goodwin-Greene hut outside Aspen, Colorado.
  2. A rapid fire road trip to see our good friends and former Colorado residents Steve and Amanda in Missoula, MT.
  3. Another more recent hut trip to Eiseman Hut outside Vail with more good friends, Maria Elena and Seth.
  4. The day (last week) Tyler and Marcus drug a very tired Sylva to the top of Buffalo Mountain and down Silver Couloir — an achievement for me, since it’s a ballsy line!

Without further ado, let’s tackle Goodwin-Greene…

Day One:

The day broke clear and warm. All ten of us — Tyler, myself, Anne, Kate, Dylan, Erica, Matt, Bex, Emily and Todd — met at Kate’s tiny, awesome cabin in Basalt for breakfast. After gorging ourselves on polenta, eggs with spinach and mushrooms, bacon and good, strong coffee, we milled around for quite a while… and then awhile longer. By the time we meandered up Castle Creek road to the trail head, noon was grinning at us, quite amused.

We splayed out all over the parking lot, re-packed bags with way too much food and alcohol to strap to Princess and Snowflake (Marcus’ and our snowmobiles, in that order) and started the six-mile skin up to 11,680′ Goodwin Greene hut (via a pass at 12,000+ feet). At that point, most of us figured we’d be lucky to make it there by sundown.

1. The epic splay out.

2. Meet up with Tyler and observe the biggest piece of foil to ever exist in the back country.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

3. Hike for a long time (Todd and Emily kicked some butt).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

4. Break up the hike more of Tyler’s antics.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA5. Take a break above treeline for pictures with Erica.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA6. Locate the cozy Goodwin-Greene Hut.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA7. Locate the shitter at the Goodwin-Greene hut — arguably with the best view while taking care of business… but the worst view for your buddies.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA8. Splay out all over Goodwin-Greene hut (note the ratio of alcohol to table space to people).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA9. Commence appetizers (impressive cheese spread brought to you by Kate DeMorest).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   10. Commence way too much drinking, game playing, wrestling, antics and late night disco dance parties.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Day Two:

Those of us able to overcome the impressive hurdle of our hangovers (the writer not included) enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and a lengthy day playing on the slopes of adjacent Gold Hill. Others of us (the writer included) woke up half way through breakfast, took a solid crack at skiing and then traded skis for seclusion in or around the hut. Regardless, the weather proved unbelievably nice at 11,600+ feet and all time was well spent.

1. Pick out a sweet line.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2. Gear up to ski the sweet line (like Emily).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

3. Hike out the ridge towards the sweet line.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA4. Enjoy the scenery.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

5. Enjoy the skiing, then check out the sweet line from the bottom.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA6. Note the boys are heading up for their third run…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA7. Take one more run (slide off the skin track and wallow on the slope, then ski down). Decide to hang up the skis. Attempt another crack at alcohol, since it’s post noon.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA8. Take stock of the (depleted) alcohol situation.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

9. Find some entertaining entries in the hut logbook — this one a clever, realistic version of crashing, with which many of us sadly can empathize.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

10. Move the (journaling) party outside.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA11. Perfect a back country loveseat with adjoining beer storage (thanks Kate and Bex).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

12. Start the hour and a half prep of pot stickers and spring rolls (brought to us all by Annie Gaspar).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

13. Welcome the troops home.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

14. Enjoy some espresso with whipped cream courtesy of Tyler who — while he drinks tea like a Hummer drinks gas — always brings the Bialetti and strong coffee (and this time, a bottle of whipped cream) for his lady and friends.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

15. Check out pics of your sweet line and/or console your neighbor.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

16. Finally finish up the small army of pot stickers and spring rolls and eat the crap out of them.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA17. Enjoy — and be stoked about — creative, predominantly hard liquor drinks in coffee mugs from Tyler, the bartender.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

18. Get hammered.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

19. Stand outside and watch things that probably shouldn’t happen with so much alcohol involved…

20. Get more hammered and do silly stuff to Tyler that he probably deserved.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA20. Eat a ridiculously fancy hut meal of cheesy grits, asparagus with mushrooms and wild caught halibut and salmon, courtesy of Dylan Dickey. Things get real weird with the fish skins…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

21. Things get even weirder with the fish skins…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA22. Drink more.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Day 3:

Throughout the night, the winds howled at 11,680′, pushing the front door open twice (the writer — in an alcohol-soaked stupor — pushed it closed once after our door-side sleeping nook turned icy). In the morning the dusting of snow ceased. Blue sky fought for domain with the still-present wind and fast clouds.

Meanwhile, our hangovers — some of them two days strong — fought for domain in our tired brains as we contemplated cleaning up, packing up and heading out. But first: french toast, Boulder sausage, toasted almonds, blueberries, whipped cream and real maple syrup from Tyler and Sylva (and leftover cheesy grits)!

1. EAT!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2. Survey the much reduced alcohol scene; drinking sounds horrendous, so we leave the dead soldiers for the next hut visitors.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA3. Pack up Snowflake and Princess for the journey out — including “Nancy,” Erica’s stylish handmade (by Mom, Nancy) duffel.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

4. Enjoy the scenery while heading back up the ridge.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA5. Enjoy skinning in gale-force winds.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

6. Enjoy a picture in gale-force winds.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

7. Gain the ridge, and pause to take in the stunning view during a pause in the gale-force winds.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

8. Check in with Tyler, tenaciously tackling Snowflake…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA9. …and Dylan, courageously commandeering Princess (with snow-plastered Nancy still holding strong on the back).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

10. De-skin at the end of the ridge and commence downhill skiing.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

11. Make fun of Dylan for getting Princess stuck.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

12. Cruise back down into the aspens and the trail head on Castle Creek road, splay out all over the parking lot, re-pack and head home tired but victorious.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Next time on Cold Season Catch up: Missoula, MT ain’t ready for Tyler and Sylva. Or it might be. Only time will tell…

2 Replies to “Spring has Sprung: Cold Season Catch-up Part One”

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