A snowstorm, 3 girls, 5 dogs, and the makings of a horror movie.
About a month ago, I was searching through the HipCamp website and stumbled upon this little gem called the Caribou Hut. Now, as you can see from the photo above, this little hut is cute as hell and a quality Instagram photo waiting to happen. We discussed, made the reservation, and patiently awaited our trip. We made our reservation for a Friday and Saturday night in March but due to a scheduling conflict, rescheduled for April.
Day One – Friday the 13th (great omen)
We made a plan for Sam to pick me up and for Julie to meet us at the trail head with an ETA of 6:00 PM. That would give us about 1.5 hours to hike 1.5 miles, which for us is cake. We started the drive and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, driving visibility went from 100% to 0% in literally 5 minutes. We were about .5 miles from the trail head parking area and when we arrived, it was windy but we could see. We loaded up the dog sled with beer, dog supplies, and firewood, got our packs situated, and started the hike at about 6:30 PM. Unfortunately the snow was so powdery that the sled kept sliding and tipping over, slowing us down a lot. We decided to ditch the sled, since it was getting dark fast, grabbed the wood and kept going a bit further. We made it to the halfway point and the darkness had completely taken over. The trail was absolutely non-existent due to snow and we decided to turn around to stay safe. It had taken us about 2 hours to go 1 mile. We left the wood in the sled, and hauled our butts to where we had parked the cars (arrived back in about 45 min), and started the drive back into town for the night. We were able to get a room at the Sundance Lodge to warm up and get a good nights rest before venturing out the next morning.
Day Two – Saturday
After getting a phenomenal nights rest, we woke up and headed out for round two of finding the Caribou Hut. The good news, after about 3 hours and heavy GPS usage, we found the hut! It was quite honestly the cutest little thing and we were beyond ready to just chill with the dogs. The hut itself was really adorable, however, when we booked it, we didn’t realize just how much work needed to be done. Part of the floor was falling through and there was a broken piece of plywood lying on the ground to cover it up – not very safe, especially with 5 dogs. There also was a ton of junk in the hut, a bucket of rusty nails, 2 broken lawn chairs, insulation (?), not quite what we expected. The hut itself was probably 6′ x 6′ so it was a little tight for us, but we made it work and still had a blast! We spent the afternoon and evening letting the dogs run around the outside of the hut, drinking beer, listening to some sweet jams, and just enjoying where we were. The hut also had a wood burning stove which kept us super warm the entire night, but we highly recommend bringing your own fire wood. Whoever had stayed at the hut prior to us stocked it with some kindling, but we still had to go out and find more, even with the bundle we hauled in ourselves.
Day Three – Sunday
The next morning we woke up to a gorgeous snowfall, seriously guys, this location is an absolute dream. It was so pretty the entire hike in, out, and in between. We changed, ate breakfast, loaded up the sled and started the trek back to the cars. After getting back to the cars, we loaded up and started the drive up to Fort Collins to pick up Sam’s new puppy – Nola, it was the perfect end to a weekend if you ask us.
- This hut is not easy to find at all. All three of us were very experienced hikers and were not able to find the hut on the first try. Please do not attempt this hike anywhere near nightfall or even dusk.
- Bring your own propane for the stove just in case, we had some but luckily did not have to use it. Backpacking meals are great for this trip as they’re lightweight and easy to make – just add water!
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