This weekend was my third trip to Bruni’s Snowbowl Hut in three years. I think we can officially call this an annual tradition. It’s not so much the hike that is the attraction here. Really, it’s the hut itself, with grand views and a comfy vibe. This is a great place to come with (or become) close friends. The hike is about an 8-mile trek with 2,000 feet of gain (WTA description here).
The snow bowl “hut” (really a house on top of a mountain), is part of a system of huts and snowshoe/ski trails run by the Mount Tahoma Trails Association. The association is headquartered in nearby Ashford and does a great job of maintaining both the 50-miles of trails and the huts, mostly through volunteer labor. The huts themselves are rented by “berth” and are considered public warming huts. We bought out all the berths to have the hut to ourselves overnight, but if you stay there, expect company during the day. Two others and I decided we would have a quiet day reading on Saturday only to be overrun by a large (and loud) Meetup group. When it became too much to bear, we took a walk to what came to be known as the “meditation hut”. This was a new (and welcome) feature here since last year.
With regard to weather, I guess third time is a charm. The first year, we had no snow at all. The second year, we had snow on the ground but it rained most of the time we were hiking. This year, we had great weather windows during our hikes, with just a bit of rain to start on the first day and some biting icy winds toward the end of that day. The return trip on Sunday was clear(ish) skies and winter wonderland the whole way. While we were at the hut itself, it dumped a good amount of powder, making for a winter wonderland.
There is something special about sequestering a group of a half dozen or so individuals in a remote hut with no electronics and only books, naps, food, games and conversation to pass the time. While I could go on about the profound discussions and introspection that goes on here, I feel like this level of enlightenment needs to be earned. There’s an inside joke that has been running for three years about someone named “Eli”. Eli may or may not be my alter ego. Or maybe it is yours. If you want to find out more, you will just have to join us next year.
If you want to check out this or other huts in the system, you can find information at https://skimtta.org/.
I leave you with this amazing view of the morning light, with the sun clearing for the first time after a rather large storm system passed through overnight. The light that morning… incredible!