J & I did our third 10th Mountain Division Hut trip in Colorado. Our first was to Polar Star Inn in 2012 and we did a second trip in 2013 to Shrine Mountain Inn. J’s sister Jamie (SILAdventure) and her partner Rachel (DocDoc) are all about the Colorado backcountry huts, taking 3 trips a year. Jamie is a member and enters the lottery to score some hut spots every year and they have probably been to half of them. So, whenever we are in town and there are spots, we usually hop on their hut trips.
This time, it was just the 4 of us and we XC skied to The Section House Hut.
We started at the Boreas Pass trailhead, right outside of Breckenridge. The 6.5-mile trail is pretty
exposed (in a safe way), with majestic views of Breck’s ski area and surrounding alpine scenery. The elevation gain is about 1100 feet, so minimal for the 6.5 miles and good for a novice. For perspective, it took us 3.5 hours to get up (plus a hearty lunch break), but only 2 hours to get down. We still had to work going down, but gravity gave us that extra push.
The Section House Hut has not just dramatic 360-degree views of the Rockies, but a classic bit of Colorado history. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as it was built in the 1880s to house railroad workers who managed this railroad section that ran from Denver to Leadville over Boreas Pass. I still find it hard to believe there used to be a railway line over Boreas Pass at 11,482 feet!!! The indoor pictures and written history indicated a very difficult, curvy passing for rail cars that surpassed the odds and operated through the 1930s.
The high mountain cabin sleeps 12 people, so we shared the space with 3 other groups. But they were an awesome group to hang with. Maybe they were so awesome because Rachel thought it’d be good for us to bring extra beer (via sled) to share … that could be the key to any stranger’s heart.