The Old Second Creek A-Frame
One of the first places I fell in love with in Grand County, Colorado was the Second Creek A-Frame, an old structure off Highway 40 towards the top of Berthoud Pass. The a-frame style cabin was about a mile or so up a steep trail, sitting right at timberline at the head of Second Creek, with great skiing all around(with some dangerous avalanche chutes!) It was dirty and dilapidated, but could withstand the enormous snow load of winter at timberline in the Rockies.
It had bunk beds to the rear, a wood stove in the middle, and what amounted to a kitchen/library of sorts under the only window in the front. There was seldom any wood at that elevation, and we would pack in what we needed, sometimes hauling wax fireplace logs up the steep trail to the hut. Inside conditions were invariably either too cold, and with a fire, too hot. Any light had to be brought up too. Many folks used the walls of the hut as a sort of living journal, writing their names and dates along the soot covered interior.
The snow would be so deep in winter, you literally had to climb up out of the front door to exit, and more than once I think I fell into the place trying to negotiate the steep icy incline, just missing falling into the stove. In summer, the front of the cabin was littered in wood chips from cutting dead spruce for the fire. The surrounding area was a magic playground of skiing and hiking, a wonderland for a boy just out the swamps of Louisiana. A mountain world of dreams awaited us at Second Creek, and there were no rules or fees, just the practice of friendship and discovery. The times of skiing up the valley under a full moon, not knowing who would be in the cabin, whether they would be friend or troll, added to the excitement of a trip there. Many new friends were found, with crowded nights, impromptu meals, and new ski techniques to try on the hill the next morning.
One windy winter's night, as I slept cozy and snug in the upper bunk area under the big exposed roof beams, I dreamed I was swinging in the rigging of a sailing ship, racing the waves in the howling wind.
The old a-frame has been replaced with a new modern hut, complete with hosts, fees, and convenience, though hopefully the new Broome Hut will fulfill the traditions of mountain adventure and friendship for generations to come.
For information on the new Broome Hut in Second Creek, contact the 10th Mountain Division Huts Association at https://www.huts.org/The_Huts/broomeHut.html
Keywords: Berthoud Pass, Broome Hut, Colorado, Fraser, Granby, Grand County, Second Creek, Winter Park, cross country skiing, hiking, landscape photography, mountains, nostalgiawest, ski, skiing, snow, trees, winter
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