The New Broome Hut
On a windy afternoon in late February, Gabe and I met on Berthoud Pass to check out the the new Broome Hut. This modern mountain hut replaces the old A-Frame in the upper stretch of Second Creek, not far from the Berthoud Pass summit. We left the Berthoud lot, and drove the couple of miles down the west side of the pass to the Second Creek parking lot. Donning our snowshoes, we began the short but steep hike up the Second Creek valley.
The hike is only about a mile and a half, but also a 1000 feet of vertical climbing. Starting in the thick trees in the mountain forest, we would soon be in the open country of the alpine tundra.
There was a well packed trail leading up the valley, with numerous ski tracks in all directions. The thought of having skis instead of snowshoes often crossed my mind, but the heavy weight of the pack filled with cameras and gear soon took it away.
We climbed steadily up, in a slow motion race with the setting sun. Shooting the sunset was becoming a gamble as it retreated rapidly over the high ridge above Second Creek, and lit the Continental Divide behind us with alpine glow.
We gained the ridge where the new hut is located just in time to grab a few shots of the area, then headed into the hut to warm up. The Broome Hut is a modern unit, with room to sleep 16 overnight guests. We went into the day use room, a welcome part of the building for day trekking skiers, hikers, and snowshoer's to warm up before the trip back down the hill. Electric lights and warm air greeted us, as well as an indoor toilet.
After a needed break to warm up and sit for a spell, we unpacked our tripods and headed back out in the hopes of getting a few more shots in before the sun was gone.
The hut was filled with overnight guests, we could hear their lively conversations from the private area of the building. The ability to separate the day use travelers from the paying overnight guests reduces the conflicts that would occasionally occur in the old A-Frame.
The day traveler has the convenience of a warm spot to rest, while there's also the option of renting a private chalet high on the tundra.
After fortifying ourselves with hot soup, we ventured back into the night, hoping to get some star shots
in the hopefully clear high alpine air. Luck wasn't with us, there was a haze in parts of the sky, with only a few clear spots, and the wind was relentless. We braved the cold for a few more minutes, taking as many shots as we could before heading back to the day room.
In the calm space inside, after a quick spot of tea,we packed our gear and donned our headlights, knowing the downhill trek would be much easier on our stamina, but wondering how some of the steep trail sections would be with snow shoes in the dark.
The walk down was actually easy, the wind died out once we were in the trees again, and the steep sections went by unnoticed. We reached the parking lot safe and sound, ready for another trip up high.
Click on an image for a larger version
For more information and to reserve space in the new Broome Hut click here: https://www.huts.org/The_Huts/broomeHut.html
Keywords: Berthoud Pass, Broome Hut, Colorado, clouds, cross country skiing, hut, landscape photography, mountains, nostalgiawest, snow, snowshoe, stars, trees, winter
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