"You just need to ski a gentle cat track to the lift, where they'll put the packs on one chair and you with me on another so I can help you. Then it's an easy ski to the yurt, only 2 miles, you don't even need to put skins on until the last part. On the way out, there's an easy cat track you can ski back to the parking lot."
"Snowplow in fear down an alleged green run while little kids on skis zoom past, while carrying a 45 pound backpack. Ride your first ski lift ever solo while clutching your huge backpack and wondering how you are going to get off successfully. Manage this but only because the liftie compassionately stops the chair. Then side-hill through an icy, steep traverse with switchbacks where if you fall, you might die, and midway through you need to switch to snowshoes or you might die. On the way out, you must trudge with skis attached to your pack the entire length of several alleged green and blue runs on your snowshoes for what seems like hours while little kids on skis zoom past. That's after you descend to a bowl in an attempt to avoid aforementioned icy traverse, then climb steeply back to ridge, becoming momentarily disoriented in fog and only half jokingly asking, "are we going to die out here?" before realizing the icy traverse has not been circumvented in its entirety."
Was it worth it? Absolutely yes!
The Stateline Yurt is located in a dead tree forest. Looking at the area I would guess this fire occurred in 2001, and it is slowly regenerating. In the meantime, it is starkly beautiful and creates nice openings for slightly terrified skiers. We toured through rolling ridges and an old road that leads up to the former lookout site on Saddle Mountain.
This really isn't an area for cross-country skiers like me. But I discovered a game changer: skins! I could charge up the hills and control my descent. Skins, I love you.
|Idaho or Montana? Just not sure.|
If I had known what the access to this hut was like, I probably wouldn't have gone. But I'm glad I conquered those fears and went. A good backcountry skier I will never be, but I am no longer quite as afraid.
When we got back, the guys were reading about a bike packing trip they wanted to take. The description read, "brutal yet fulfilling." I had to laugh. That summed up this weekend's trip very well.