Posted by: Talie Morrison | March 6, 2011

Back Home but the Adventure continues….

Well, I’ve been back in Crested Butte for a week – but so much has happened, it seems like a month!    I got back home last Wednesday, met with Matt, who is in charge of guest services on Friday and started volunteering at Guest Services on Saturday.  (So in my first 3 days back, I had a place to live [Carol’s condo], a volunteer position [Guest Services], and a ski pass!)

Another "busy" day on the slopes on Mt. CB?

Then it was good to see everyone back at church on Sunday.   Monday was a day to get caught up and pack for Tuesday,  and Tuesday I joined with 5 other Buttians (those are CB locals!) and we cross country skied down to the little town of Gothic to spend Tuesday night in a “hut”.

Skiing out to Gothic

The “town of Gothic” isn’t really a town.   It is the site of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (a summer ecological school and study area).   In the winter, the school is totally closed up and snow takes over the area!   In the summer a dirt road (that’s metal to you Kiwis) goes out to Gothic, but in the winter the only access is by cross country skis.

Gothic in the winter

Snowmobiles are not allowed in that drainage, so it makes a beautiful peaceful ski from Mt. Crested Butte to Gothic.  It is mostly down on the way out there, but, of course, that means it is UP all the way back!   Oh, well….

Gothic Mountain under Colorado Blue Skies!

Now this hut is not at all like the huts I spent the night in in New Zealand!   Hot and cold running water, a shower, heated building, 4 bedrooms upstairs, electricity (a stove and a microwave)!

Now this is a HUT! Luxury!

But there was still an “out house” (or as they would say in New Zealand a “long drop”).   After a lovely dinner and a nice night’s sleep, Tom, Skip and I headed out into the snowy wilderness to dig a snow cave!   Skip had scouted out a perfect spot, and we started digging about 10 am.

What a perfect place for a snow cave!!!

Several of the local “Gray Hares” came by to either see our progress or lend a hand with a shovel for a little while.   We also did have help from two of the caretakers from Gothic, John and Ira.   They were AWESOME!   They were digging snow out so fast that it was hard for us to keep up with them by hauling it away!

Hauling Snow out of the Cave

It took us about 5 hours of digging and hauling snow to complete the cave.   But it was a work of art!   Plenty big enough to sleep at least 5 people – but everyone bailed out except for the 3 of us (Skip, Tom and myself).

Skip, Ira, me and John celebrating the end of the digging!

Another couple of friends (Don and Bill)  came out later in the afternoon and dug a second (smaller) snow cave.   Then they joined us in the big cave for gourmet snacks and wine for dinner.

Lots of "down" kept us warm and toasty!

After all that digging, we were pretty tired and it was lights out at 8:30 pm – YIKES – do you know how DARK it is in a snow cave at night when you turn the headlamps off?   Wow – what a shock to the system.   But once I got used to it, I was cozy and warm and had a pretty good night’s sleep.   We had skied out to Gothic and to the snow cave spot under clear Colorado blue skies, but during the night it started snowing and we woke to a couple of fresh inches of powder making everything look absolutely pristine!

Skiing back out in the snow

So it was beautiful quiet skiing back to the hut for a quick cup of tea/coffee before we skied the 4 miles back to the trailhead.    So I guess I am right back into winter here in Crested Butte!  I love it!

Lou, Kate and Pat visiting in the snow cave!

Sunrise on Gothic Mountain and snowed in buildings!

Lunch Break! Ira, John, Tom and Skip

Tom, John, Ira enjoying the fruits of their labor!

Hey, Tengu wanted to come along on the snow cave adventure too!


All good snow caves need a kitchen nook (and some decorations!)

With my Aarn Pack and pulling a sled out. I was glad I didn't have to pull it UP to the trailhead!



  1. Hurray! What a great first week home Talie!

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