Not far from the little town of Ashord, WA, the Mount Tahoma Trails Association operates and manages the largest no fee Hut-to-Hut Trail System in North America for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. My newfound adventure friends and I had been discussing a trip to one of the huts since summer. Once we confirmed our dates, our party size quickly increased from 4 to 10 as we included friends of friends and significant others. The more the merrier!
On the morning of our departure, we packed up and drove the hour and 45 minutes to the trailhead. With our snow permits purchased and backpacks assembled, we began the 4.5 miles up towards our home for the night, Bruni's Snow Bowl Hut.
"Hut" was a strange word choice to describe our home for the evening. With room for 14 people, a fully stocked kitchen and fireplace, the word 'cabin' feels more appropriate. AND it was only $15 a night which is a total steal. When was the last time you found accommodation for that cheap? On a mountain... with views of Mt. Rainer?!
The temperatures were low and light snowflakes began to descend but the work of climbing uphill had us removing layers early on in the hike. It was my first time snowshoeing and I wasn't sure what to expect . I figured it would feel similar to hiking, but more challenging and that assumption proved correct. The glutes were feeling it the next day!
We arrived and were greeted by ski patrol who oversee the backcountry, groom trails, and the use of the huts. Having stayed in the hut the previous night, they had freshly brewed coffee waiting for us and the fire going strong.
With the extreme warmth of the fire, we delayered and promptly started munching on lunch. Note for my future food packing self- it may seem silly to bring avocado, goat cheese and prosciutto, and rosemary bread rolls on a backpacking trip, but it's absolutely not.
The rest of our day followed a mellow agenda of playing in the snow, napping, more eating, drinking canned wine, swapping stories, and getting to know our other cabin mates - 4 friends who also came from Seattle.
The next morning we woke up to a foot of fresh powder and glimpses of blue skies. We left the warmth of the cabin and jumped outside with cameras in hand. I personally stayed for as long as my body could function in the cold before getting back inside for another coffee.
Around noon we packed up, snapped on our snowshoes and began making our way down the mountain.
I'm so thankful for adventurous buddies who motivate me to try new things and embrace each season. Hoping we can make this an annual trip!
Where have your winter adventures brought you?