The 10th Mountain Fowler-Hilliard Hut/Road Trip

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

It’s probably less than a dozen miles from our home but as we are already compelled to pull over and take in the view. To our delight the day is just brimming with promise.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

Kris takes a moment to pose for a picture.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

A wave of the hat, and we’re off!

(Well, “Crude Attempt” or not please accept my invitation to join us on our lovely little road trip. I’m not sure just how the cover image for these videos is chosen but I think it is a feature that could, and should, be given a revision by those who put these things together. Anyway, why not take a few moments from your day and come along for the ride!)

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

The road beckons, taking us across the continental divide via Independence Pass.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

A fairly scary road if ever there was one.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

The newly installed guard rails do help somewhat.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

But the views are simply breathtaking, especially on a day such as this.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

Every Autumn there is one weekend when the aspens peak – and this is it!

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

Lucky us!

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

The colorful kaleidoscope accompanies us all along our way, until we eventually leave the aspens behind as we top 11,000 feet or so.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

As we pop out of the trees we are rewarded with a slew of absolutely spectacular views.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

Until finally the hut comes into view.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

Our group has already assembled.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

We join them on the deck for an impromptu bite to eat.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

And then set off on a hike.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

The hut sits right on the treeline and as we head straight up the adjoining hill it feels as though we are heading to the very top of the world.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

Once we reach the top we catch our breath, pose for a picture or two, then set about trying to take in the magnificent beauty of the scene that presents itself.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

Just before dusk I head back up the hill by myself to enjoy a little splendid solitude and take in what proved to be one of the most spectacular and dramatic sunsets of my life.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

At times like these words simply fail me.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

Twilight seemed to last forever.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

The shadows rolled over the landscape with a grace and beauty that held me spellbound.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

The Rocky Mountains had never appeared so majestic.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

And I can honestly say I have never, ever felt so glad (and grateful) to be alive!

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

I was utterly lost in a moment whereby the world around me seemed suspended in harmonic balance.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

Where the mountains mimicked snow, and snow returned the favor by reflecting the mood of the mountains.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

As the sun dipped lower and lower the shadows grew more and more dramatic, the colors taking on an almost otherworldly hue.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

Although I didn’t know it at the time this oddly spherical hill, with its mysterious pair of buildings, would be the object of the next day’s hike.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

But to be honest I was simply mesmerized by the splendor of it all and didn’t know which way to turn for fear of missing a second of this utterly magnificent show of nature.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

Incredible vistas presented themselves at every turn.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

However, the sun finally bid its protracted adue.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

Seemingly with reluctance it finally dipped below the jagged horizon.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

Until it was finally… gone.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

But there was one final surprise in store as the famous ‘Holy Cross’ that lends its name to this particular range of mountains within the Elk Range came vividly into view as the back-light receded.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

And so it was with great reluctance that I traced my way back down to the hut, lingering all along the way to marvel at the sheer beauty of it all.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

But I was up before the dawn and decided on the spot to climb the beautiful looking hill from which the sun would peek out a few moments after I snapped this photo.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

However, before we could hike we needed a plate or two of flapjacks to fuel our way.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

Flapjacks, fruit, home-made plum preserve, Greek yogurt, honey. Hhhhnnnnnmmmmmn, delish!!!!!!!

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

After breakfast we discovered to our delight that the clouds had decided to put on a bit of a show.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

So we took our places on the deck and watched them sail by.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

This one was my favorite – and Kris’s too.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

Once we reached the top of ‘Sunrise Hill’ to our delight we found we had the perfect view of the previous evening’s twilight extravaganza.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

Those little square bumps turned out to be strange little cabins.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

So I couldn’t resist posing for one final photo.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

Happy as a lark, but sad to be leaving such an amazing place.

Hut Trip Fowler-Hilliard

Vowing to return sooner rather than later Kris and I headed back down the slope, retraced our path across the continental divide, and were back home well before dark. A more perfect couple of days it would be difficult to imagine!