Fabi’s Hut

One of my favorite things to do is lay on a beach in the sun after I have just been floating in the ocean. It is very simple and fun. But that is not what this story is about. This is a story about having fun doing things that are hard.

You all know that I love snowboarding, and have had the privilege of exploring some of the most fabulous resorts around the world. Since moving to Colorado I have also begun exploring the benefits of backcountry snowboarding. Also known as splitboarding; it’s high risk-high reward type benefits. This year Phil (my husband) scored us a reservation at a backcountry hut. This hut is one of many nestled in remote locations. There is a considerable amount of physical and mental steam involved in enjoying your stay, and that’s after the effort that went in to traveling to the destination, and that’s after the work that went into planning all the aspects of the trip, and that’s after the accomplishment of qualifying in the reservation lottery. Exhausted yet? Welcome to Type-2 Fun.

Perched on a mountain top, in the Elk Mountain Range, in the White River National Forest of Colorado is Fabi’s Hut. It is one of 39 huts in the 10th Mountain Division Hut System. At 10,970 ft, Fabi’s Hut has a bit of electricity but no plumbing, a wood burning stove, and an outhouse. Fabi’s can sleep six people, so we brought some friends along.

Our first great vista of the journey.

Here we are, about 2 miles into the 6 mile trek (with a gain in almost 3,000ft of elevation) to our home for the weekend. I’m second from the left, and Phil is to my right. The only splitboaders on the trip; our boards come apart and have a removable fabric on the bottom that allow us to travel uphill in the snow. We are wearing our beacons. We have our shovel and probe. There is no phone service, so we also have walkie-talkies and an emergency contact device. Our packs are filled with a first aid kit, a spare parts kit, food, water, sleeping bag, and a bit of extra clothing. We have a smile on our faces and a burning desire to get to the hut and get those heavy packs off!

Five hours later we arrived at the hut. Time to party!

And by party I mean get your boots off and your hut-booties on, chop wood, get the fire going, fill the drinking pot with snow, make some coffee, and figure out how the propane works so you can boil water for dinner.

There’s a lot to do on trips like this, especially if you are going to leave the hut and go exploring. It’s imperative to get a lay of the land while the sun is out, as seen here during the battle of the binos. Binocular recon will be followed by an abundance of references to the map.

Meals are a big deal on a hut trip. You want to enjoy what you are eating and drinking, but not at the expense of space in your backpack. We were fortunate to have a stove and oven at Fabi’s, and a travel companion with a backcountry espresso maker…

On this trip we had to put on our snowboards just to ride down to the bathroom!

Just kidding. But I am standing on my snowboard in front of the outhouse. Lots of people that have been to Fabi’s rave about the bathroom. I’m not sure that I could ever gush about a lavatory with no running water, but the views from this one were very inspiring.

No joke. This is the view from the toilet. Two of the outhouse walls were windows. Yes, this bathroom is very cold in the early morning and middle of the night; a small price to pay for such a marvel.

For some on this weekend getaway the six miles in and out of the hut were not enough mileage. The rolling terrain around Fabi’s was insufficient. They sought powder in trees and on mountain tops beyond Smuggler’s mountain. After all the work with the binoculars and maps they were ready to pack up and explore. A day trip of mileage in the surrounding wilderness was deeply rewarded.

And that was that. We finished our food, packed up our trash, and went out the way we came in. It was an enriching experience to say the least. I am very grateful to have friends to share these adventures with. I am also grateful to the individuals that make trips out to these huts possible. I am even more grateful to the post-war visionaries that came home to the American west and began building this reality.

Thanks so much for reading about my latest achievement. I hope you loved this peek into my winter fun.

Please know that 4 people on our trip are AIARE certified. All 6 members of our crew were healthy and in great physical shape. We traveled safely in these areas, and we always had the proper equipment at all times. These details are not to be taken lightly.

If you are motivated to explore the benefits of getting out into the wilds of the world please become knowledgable about where you are going to go and what you are going to do. You can never be too smart about these things.