A thousand years ago, in 2019 when life was normal (but honestly, was it normal then? Not really) I bid on an auction item for a non-profit group that supports wilderness and I won. It was a night's stay in a yurt in Idaho. We all know what happened in 2020, and we didn't know what we know now (I had friends who were wiping down their groceries). Plus, we were in a stay at home order (I know, few obeyed this, but I did). We postponed until 2021, when surely things would be better.
Right? It turns out things weren't much better this summer, but at least I knew I could go to a yurt. I gathered up my friend Flash and we hiked in on a beautiful fall day. The aspens were putting on a show for us, and all around were the sounds of a creek and...sheep?
|I didn't get a picture of the sheep. Here's Ruby instead.|
It turns out there was a band of sheep just below the yurt, and a small wall tent nearby. Well, we would have neighbaaaaaaaaaaaaaas (Sorry). It would take more than a few sheep to dampen our spirits. The yurt was perfect, nestled in some trees with a view of the rugged wall of Hyndman Basin. It is mainly a winter ski yurt, but you can rent it in summer as well. With a relatively easy four mile hike in, the exception being the "hill of hell" in the last mile, it allowed for some carrying of luxuries such as down booties and down pants. There's even a sauna, though we didn't use it, and a two-burner stove and a water filter. Although there was an outhouse, it felt a lot like glamping.
We hiked far up into the basin, climbing over false summits to reach the highest point before the climb to a number of peaks. This was far enough for us, neither of us being peak baggers in particular. A cold wind blasted us, a sign that winter was coming. We couldn't stay long, and headed down for a relaxing evening reading hut journal entries and reminiscing about our PCT days. We had hiked incredibly steep terrain day after day for weeks, with cold rain so constant our shoes never dried out. We were badasses, we agreed.
The sheep moved out the next day and Flash had to leave, so I faced a night by myself. I debated: hike out and get up to my old stomping grounds in Stanley, or stay here? In the end, I decided to stay put and not try to do everything. I built a fire in the woodstove and wandered around the sagebrush, enjoying the views. In the morning, it was a unique experience to be able to pack up without dealing with a frosty tent.
I had planned an overnight backpacking trip in the White Clouds, but a formidable forecast appeared. Heavy snow, winds to 45 miles per hour. It would be foolish to head out in those conditions, so I sadly drove home, putting this on the list for next year.
I've long wanted to live in a yurt. They seem like a perfect compromise between a tent and a house. J isn't so sure about their liveability, but I plan to keep up the campaign. I love everything about them.