Hideout Cabin

January 2009  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

This weekend I joined some friends for a three day weekend up at their backcountry cabin in the San Juan Mountains south of Telluride, Colorado. The cabin’s a real gem, situated in a rugged San Juan setting surrounded by prime ski terrain. Cecily’s parents are avid skiiers and they built this cabin back in the 70’s when it was somewhat reasonable to do such a thing. Nowadays we can only dream of building a little cabin in the high country like this… there’s just no more places to do it, and too many regulations (though this is probably a good thing). But I digress…

Vermilion Peak, 13,894 ft., towers over the backcountry cabin.

Vermilion Peak, 13,894 ft., towers over the backcountry cabin.

It’s about five miles along a snowed-in road to the cabin, and we loaded up some sleds with all our gear and beverages to pull behind us on our way up. We left after dark on Friday, so it was a big surprise to wake up on Saturday to the magnificent vistas all around.

Mike, Cecily, and Aimee skin up a high ridgeline with a rugged backdrop.

Mike, Cecily, and Aimee skin up a high ridgeline with a rugged backdrop.

With amazing spring-like sunny weather, we spent each day skinning up the nearby bowls and skiing/snowboarding back down to the cabin to relax for the rest of the evenings. In the warm weather the snow has become so stable that for the next few days we skiied/rode borderline springtime lines… a nice treat in January.

Snowboarding with a backdrop of the San Miguel Range. Rider: Parker McAbery.

Snowboarding with a backdrop of the San Miguel Range. Rider: Parker McAbery.

In such a prime location for photo opportunities, I couldn't resist waking up super early one morning to hike up a nearby peak for a sunrise shoot.

Dawn light high above the small town of Ophir, the lights of which you can barely see at this resolution down in the valley floor...

Dawn Over Ophir

Dawn light high above the small town of Ophir, the lights of which you can barely see at this resolution down in the valley floor - January.

Pre-sunrise glow illuminates the rugged slopes of Yellow Mountain, 12,933 feet - January.  The earth-shadow stretches across...

Yellow Mountain Panorama

Pre-sunrise glow illuminates the rugged slopes of Yellow Mountain, 12,933 feet - January. The earth-shadow stretches across the horizon behind.

A winter sunrise view of the high peaks of the Lizard Head Wilderness and San Miguel Range, including, from left to right, Mount...

Wilsons Sunrise

A winter sunrise view of the high peaks of the Lizard Head Wilderness and San Miguel Range, including, from left to right, Mount Wilson (14,250 ft.), Gladstone Peak (13,913 ft.), and Wilson Peak (14,017 ft.) - January.

Skinning along a ridge high above the Hideout Cabin, with Mount Wilson and Wilson Peak in the background.

Skinning along a ridge high above the Hideout Cabin, with Mount Wilson and Wilson Peak in the background.

My friends Mike and Cecily relaxing in their cabin with a San Juan sunset backdrop.

My friends Mike and Cecily relaxing in their cabin with a San Juan sunset backdrop.