Benedict Huts Recap: Day One

I’m baaaaa-aaaaaaaaack!

Hope everyone had a great weekend! I got back from the hut trip late last night and after jumping in a much-needed shower, I fell asleep hard. Of course, Tals woke me up at 6:30 like normal this morning, but I’m already back in bed, under the covers as I type this. I think the weekend exhausted me!

Ready for lots and lots of pictures?!

Saturday morning started bright and early at 5am while Angel, Adrian, Lindsy, and I scrambled around our hotel room in Glenwood Springs, trying to get every last minute detail together. Alas, I failed. I’m pretty sure my cell phone charger still sits in that hotel room. Sigh.
The whole gang at the trailhead (I’m in the pink shirt on the far left)
Lindsy and me and the start of the hike
Anyway, we managed to round everyone up and get to the trail head in Aspen right around 9:30. Unfortunately, we pulled into the parking lot and saw lots and lots of…. dirt. It didn’t bode well for our planned winter wonderland excursion, but we kept the faith. After all, the trail head is *only* at 8,300 feet so we still had some elevation to gain. And sure enough, once we got away from the paved road, we were all able to strap on our snowshoes. Of course, I say this with enthusiasm now but I wasn’t so happy about it at the time because…
This hike was hard!!

Benedict Bridge
We crossed over Benedict Bridge and immediately, the trail turned left and headed up a steep incline. According to the topo map, we were still in the *flat* zone so I began to wonder what those super steep topo lines were actually going to look like in real life! After cutting across a flat and mellow field, we headed back into the woods and began the never-ending trek uphill.
Now, when we signed up for this hut trip, the lady on the phone’s exact words to Cindy were, “Wow, you’re going for a tough one, huh?” Of course, we laughed about it but didn’t really take her seriously. Girl knew was she talking about though! We spent the first 2 hours of the hike heading uphill the entire time. Usually, hikes in Colorado involve a lot of elevation gain so this isn’t completely abnormal, but it is infinitely harder when you’re wearing a big ol’ backpack on your back. (I didn’t weigh it, but I’m guessing my pack was around 40#). 
After a few hours of hiking, we were split into 3 groups: 9 of us in the front, 2 people about 10 minutes back, and the last 3 people about an hour+ behind us. We decided to finally stop and eat lunch, and although it was totally necessary and we were starving, that was the beginning of the end! We had warmed our bodies up so much that I hadn’t quite realized that the temps had been dropping as the predicted major blizzard blew in. Once we got moving again after lunch, I was freezing and truly had a rough time getting warmed back up. I finally had to let everyone go and completely stop and stand still with my hands hanging at my side for a good 5 minutes. That was the only way to get the blood to come back to my fingers!
Once I got my hands warmed back up, I started cruising again and began to catch up with everyone. Unfortunately for me, that progress only lasted for about 20 minutes because then disaster struck in the form of my snowshoe. It broke!
For anyone that has seen snowshoes, you know that they all have some type of strap that loops around your heel in order to keep your foot in the snowshoe. Well, the clasp that keeps this strap tight against my foot came loose, and my hiking boot was popping out of my snowshoe every 10 minutes or so. Under normal circumstances, this would have been kind of funny, but I definitely was not laughing! I was 4ish miles into the hike with 1.5 miles to go and around 1000 feet of elevation to gain. I had absolutely no other options other than to keep going, so that’s exactly what I did…stopping every 10 minutes to squat down and re-tighten the strap. After the 15th or 20th time though, my body was tired and I was sick of the added squats. Where was the damn hut???
Finally, I came to a T in the trail where it jogged left and steeply climbed up the hillside. I should have been sad looking at the steepness of the climb, but I was actually excited. I knew from looking at the topo map that the last 1/2 mile involved a crazy steep climb, so I knew that I was close to the hut. Sure, I had some serious elevation gain to tackle, but at least I was only a 1/2 mile away!
I cranked my iPod up and told myself that I would be at the hut within 10 songs. Yes, I know that is crazy slow hiking, but you have to remember that A) I was carrying a massive pack, B) It was snowing pretty hard by now and C) I had to continually stop to fix my snowshoe. Luckily, I caught a glimpse of the hut roofs at the start of song 8, so I knew I had finally made it!!!
I was cursing every last pair of snowshoes by the time I arrived 🙂
I think I showed massive self-control when I refrained from launching my snowshoe into the woods. I was pretty frustrated with it and I really wanted to, but luckily, I maintained some semblance of common sense. After all, how would I hike out a few days later?! Instead, I took off my pack, had Lindsy dust all of the snow off my head (from when my snowshoe gave out and I took a tumble into a massive drift of snow!), and headed inside to check out the hut.
To be continued tomorrow!
Similar to my “10 songs until I reach the hut,” do you set mini-goals for yourself when trying to achieve something larger?

How was your weekend?

Anyone want to buy a single snowshoe? The left one works great, I swear! 🙂

1 Comment

  • Reply The Best of Colorado: Adventure to a Ski Hut -Just a Colorado Gal at

    […] didn’t own backcountry gear so my time at the Benedict Huts was largely spent building snowmen and sledding luges. But, these huts stand out in my memory for one obvious reason: the […]

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