A Weekend In The Woods

This weekend, Lucas and I headed out into the snow. Along with a group of friends, we made the trek to Upper Angel Creek Cabin. About 6.8 miles from the trail head, the cabin is nestled at the base of a mountain near the end of a long river valley. Much like our last cabin excursion, various transportation methods were employed to make the journey: snowshoes, snow machines, cross country skis, and skijoring. Lucas and I snowshoed on the way out to the cabin, and on the way home, he drove a snow machine and I snowshoed by myself.

The weather was beautiful. Sun. Sun. Sun. I am obsessed with sun. I don’t think I ever appreciated it like I do now. On the way out to the cabin, Lucas and I actually had to wear sunglasses, crazy.

The trail snaked slowly up hill through the valley following the snow-covered river. It was like a post card. Stands of black spruce, small groves of aspen, snow so deep I sunk almost three feet even with snowshoes if I stepped off the trail. Layers of thick snow, like cake, on the trees, stretching up the mountains in blazing patches of white.

The cabin itself was small. A little wooden box. But it was warm. Always important. It was too small for all six of us to sleep in, so our friends brought their Arctic Oven. I have been dieing to see this tent in action since I first heard about it in the fall, and it did not disappoint. Picture a large tent with a stove in it, and you have a good idea what this looks like. The main part of the tent is made of the same material as diapers, which insulates and wicks moisture. This layer is then covered by a second, rain fly-like, cover. The stove pipe sticks out the top, and there are two air vents to ensure proper ventilation. It is hardcore.

But one of my favorite parts of the weekend was sledding. Yep. Behind the cabin, we hike up the mountain about a 100 yards with snowshoes to stomp down a path, snow above my knees, and created a luge-like slide for sledding. We had the thin plastic sleds that rolled up like wax paper, and man could we fly. It was hard to see, and steer, so it was almost guaranteed that we would crash into a snow bank. Bomb holes, that’s what we called the craters our bodies made in the snow.

We were like little kids, trudging up the hill as the stars started to appear on the horizon, snow up our backs and down the necks of our jackets, chunks of snow clumped to the wisps of hair that peeked out from under my hat. When someone crashed into a bomb hole we laughed as snow sprayed into the air like the white water of a wave, arms and legs sticking out like antennas. I felt 10 years-old again. It was wonderful.

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