This is why we're here

Today I turn 28 years old. For my birthday, my amazing girlfriend Molly planned a backcountry skiing hut trip for us. Boy, oh boy! Three days and two nights way up there in the Colorado Rockies, and it was only my second backcountry ski outing. What an adventure it turned out to be.

We skinned up eight miles to Betty Bear Hut on the first day, another five miles on day two to Skinner Hut, and all the way back to the car on day three. These supposedly "rustic" cabins were fantastic. They honestly had nicer kitchens than my own apartment, making our ultra-heavy food supply all the more worth it. After being accustomed to carrying the lightest gear possible for my PCT thru-hike, it was a bit a change to carry a can of coconut milk with me, but we relished the taste of red curry veggies, pasta, bacon, pancakes, eggs, potato hash and mac 'n' cheese before and after long days of skinning and skiing.

In choosing to move to Colorado, I was not only electing to share my life with Molly in "the real world," but also to take advantage of the mountains that now lie right outside my front door. The Rockies are so immense, so expansive that you could spend a lifetime exploring them. While I've done a bit of summer adventuring at high elevation, this is really my first season getting into high-alpine snow adventure. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to learn new mountain sports and the girl who has shown me the way. This is why I'm here, and I'm loving it!

 Betty Bear Hut

Betty Bear Hut

 Molly napping in Betty Bear Hut next to the fire. So cozy!

Molly napping in Betty Bear Hut next to the fire. So cozy!

 View from the front deck of Betty Bear Hut. Right out the front door; what a view!

View from the front deck of Betty Bear Hut. Right out the front door; what a view!

 Betty Bear Hut even had a freaking breakfast nook with an immaculate view of the mountains. It really doesn't get much better than this. 

Betty Bear Hut even had a freaking breakfast nook with an immaculate view of the mountains. It really doesn't get much better than this. 

 Onward and upward! Molly skinning on our way up to Skinner Hut on day two.

Onward and upward! Molly skinning on our way up to Skinner Hut on day two.

 The view on our way to Skinner Hut. Not too shabby, if you ask me.

The view on our way to Skinner Hut. Not too shabby, if you ask me.

 SHE'S GOT TWO FACES.

SHE'S GOT TWO FACES.

 Modified #BrinsonBanksing, ice cave style! Someone built this cute little cave right outside the front door of Skinner Hut. 

Modified #BrinsonBanksing, ice cave style! Someone built this cute little cave right outside the front door of Skinner Hut. 

 Heading back to the car on the morning of day three got off to a rough start. At just under 12,000 feet, the climb back over Hagerman Pass was brutal. High winds and hard snow made for sideways hail straight to our faces. Visibility was practically zero, and I felt like I was skinning into the abyss.

Heading back to the car on the morning of day three got off to a rough start. At just under 12,000 feet, the climb back over Hagerman Pass was brutal. High winds and hard snow made for sideways hail straight to our faces. Visibility was practically zero, and I felt like I was skinning into the abyss.

 45 minutes later and safely on the other side of the pass, it was like a whole new world. Sunshine and calm winds made it quite delightful. (note the giant ice chunk still stuck to Molly's face from going over the pass.)

45 minutes later and safely on the other side of the pass, it was like a whole new world. Sunshine and calm winds made it quite delightful. (note the giant ice chunk still stuck to Molly's face from going over the pass.)

 Molly heading back down from Hagerman Pass on our way out. Just look at all that glorious powder.

Molly heading back down from Hagerman Pass on our way out. Just look at all that glorious powder.

 Skiing down through the woods; nearing the end of our trip.   photo/molly krumholz

Skiing down through the woods; nearing the end of our trip. 

photo/molly krumholz

Cheers,

Jonathan