Spring Flingin' in a Yurt!

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(Trip taken, March 13, 2020) Every year, we attempt to rent a portion of a back country hut in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. We used to get them every year, until the entire country decided Colorado is the place to live. Now, accessing all the cool stuff is a challenge – gone are the good ole days of getting to the mountains easily.

In order to secure a hut, we have to go through a lottery system in January for the winter of the following year. In January of 2019, we failed to land a spot for the winter of 2020. The second year in a row.

We said to hell with that, and researched options for a different adventure. Years ago, our Denver magazine 5280, published a story about some yurts called the Never Summer Nordic Mountain Yurts located in the Colorado State Forest State Park, North/West of Fort Collins, CO. This has to be the most un-creative name for a State Park, EVER.

After the big rejection from the 10th Mountain Division Hut system, I decided to look into it and luckily, there were two yurts available in March, 2020. A perfect time for a winter get-away.

We picked the Montgomery Pass yurts. There are 2 of them separated by an outhouse and are REALLY good for groups. They say the 200 sq. foot yurts sleep 5 but honestly, 4 was just right. Think about all your gear and how crowded it would be with more than 4 people. You might just end up killing one another!

My friend D and I rounded up 6 amazing friends and away we went. It just happened to be the weekend before the entire world shut down because of the virus that shall not be named.

What’s a yurt?

There is a really good description of a yurt found on their website: “A yurt is a circular tent type structure. Yurts were designed by Mongolian herders as a necessity to keep up with their herd’s rapid movements. Evidence of yurts have been found from the fourth century B.C. in Mongolia and is still used by nomadic tribes in Central Asia. β€œYurt” is actually Russian for dwelling.”

What does said yurt look like?

It’s essentially a round dome with a canvas protection layer. Both of our yurts had a deck for sweet sunset gatherings.

The yurt came with pots, pans, silverware, dishes, a 2 burner propane cook-stove, table and chairs, pillows, pads for the bunk-beds, and firewood for the wood burning fireplace. Essentially, everything you need except food, games and bevvies.

How did we get there?

It’s roughly a 3 hour drive from Boulder and 3.5 hour drive from Denver. We took the route through the Poudre Canyon and it was STUNNING. One of our buddies saw a moose along the way.

Before you get to the yurt, you have to stop and get State Park passes at the Moose visitor office. The passes need to cover you for the amount of time you will be in the back-country.

Once you arrive to the trail-head parking lot, strap on your snowshoes or skis and head on out! We brought a bunch of beer and food, so we experimented with a sled to help pull everything. Macgyver Sean figured out how to build the rig. It worked out great!

It’s a pretty easy hike to the yurts – 2.8 miles with ~900 feet of elevation gain, all of which, you experience at the end of the hike. It took us about 2 hours to get there on snowshoes. The signs to the Montgomery Pass yurts are pretty clear – the risk to getting lost is LOW.

We were super lucky and hiked in a little snow-storm – the BEST ever conditions to kick-start our adventure.

What did we pack?

There is a winter packing list on the yurt website, but thought I would highlight some of the most important items: Sleeping bag, pillow case, wine, games, beer, whiskey, and coffee. What else do you need? We also had 4 sleds with us so we could relive the good ole days of childhood and sled down steep hills with reckless abandon!

Oh, we also brought food. Each yurt was assigned dinner one night – we were on our own for the rest of the meals. Sean and I dragged 4 lbs of chicken fajitas and our travel mates brought pasta, shredded chicken and pesto sauce. Not bad for back-country meals, eh? For dessert, D packed in cupcakes as it was Sean’s birthday as well :-). Happy Double Nickels to Sean!

What did we do while we were there?

  1. First things first, we unpacked all of our crap and got organized for smooth living with 4 adults in 200 square feet of living space.

2. We went sledding – the video below is of Mr. L. We loved his graceful body rolls to make it down the hill. The video posted funky, but it is hilarious – especially if you can turn up the sound.

Mrs. G wins the award for the cutest and most nimble sledder of the group! She has MAD sledding skills.

3. We had a snowman building contest between the yurts. Luckily, our friend N is an artiste who came up with the great idea to carve out a dragon in a non yellow snow pile by our yurt. Our competitors built a toilet-paper hoarding, snowman. We had 30 minutes to make it all happen. Not sure, but I think our team might have won, though it was pretty close. The competition was fierce.

4. We watched the sunset every night with happy hour cocktails – the company was outstanding! :-).

As you can see, we were very busy the whole time. So busy, we somehow managed to skip nap-time. When it was all said and done, we were sad to leave our cozy home in the back-country of Colorado. To soften the blow, the views on the way down were spectacular.

Would we do it again?

Hell yes. A great time was had by all even with the fouler than foul smelling outhouse. The friendship, views and special moments we shared will stick with us for a lifetime!

In the four days we have been back, the world seems to have spun out of control. Not only with this virus, but our friends had to put their sweet puppy down. Life sure has a way of throwing curve-balls seemingly all at once. If we had it our way, we all would have stayed up there for an undetermined amount of time. Alas, work, family and pet responsibilities prevented this from happening.

Thankfully, we all have the strength and fortitude to make it through all of this. Hope everyone is doing ok during these challenging times.

….i choose this….

Pam

45 comments

  1. Sounds like such a fun getaway. Unfortunately, Colorado and all its hidden gems have been discovered by the masses. Thank you social media 😐 Glad you found this new place to escape reality even for a short time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It sounds like great fun for you and your friends. I like the looks of your yurt and the natural beauty surrounding it. I don’t like the idea of an outhouse. I consider a motel without room service to be roughing it, so you wild kids are way out of my comfort zone. Still it does look like you had a great time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t agree more Mel. Dang, if we only knew while we were there. We only had cell service in the outhouse. I’d check emails and then worry I was going to sink the phone in the compost toilet. Haha.

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  3. This is one of your best ideas ever! I often wish I lived close enough to get in on your adventures, but this one made me really jealous. And you got it in in the nick of time … what a mess we are in now, with no good end in sight. 😦 I feel lucky to have outdoor options at all, and the crowds here surely can’t compare to the hordes wanting be outside in Colorado right now. Stay healthy and safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a blast!! My sister lived in a yurt outside of Durango for many years. (She’s since bought a house in Pagosa Springs.)

    So sad about your friends’ puppy. We just received news that our bunny has to have an eye removed. We are crushed, but hoping that this stupid virus doesn’t delay surgery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wow, I am impressed she was able to do this! She’s an original part of the tiny house movement. Oh no about the bunny!! That sucks so bad. I hope surgery won’t be delayed for that baby. I can’t stand to see fur babies in pain or ill. UGH. Hang in there friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. We took him to our usual vet and he disagreed with the idea of surgery for now because our little guy shows no signs of pain or discomfort – absolutely zero. So, we’ve got him on some meds and we’re holding off for now… Thanks for your thoughts. I agree… animals in pain is the worst.

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  5. Great post! It looks like such a fun trip. The virus chased me off trail but it is good to be home with my nervous family, even if “home” is an hour outside NYC. I tried to get them to come out on trail with me but was VETOED! πŸ™‚ Stay safe….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I totally get it! Especially up there. I am a little nervous being here in Colorado, so really doing everything I can to stay inside. We had an awesome time on this trip right before everything went awry!! I went hiking last Thursday and I swear it was a freeway on the trail. That all kind of sucks, but, things will recover soon enough. Hope you are finding fun things to do!!

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  6. What a great outing right before tvtsnbn! ; ) I once saw a 6 hour documentary about nomadic people of Mongolia living in yurts, I learned a lot. Yurts are fascinating – so practical. Looks like you had a wonderful time.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. In SE Oregon & other parts there are yurts. The best off beaten path is near chiloquin, crater lake area. Super cheap. Thousands flocked to our coasts and other areas for spring break. Now our national parks and wildlife refuges are shut down. Which 8s a bummer for locals like me, who live here bc of wide open spaces. I hope you are following guidelines of social distancing. Wishing you and yours well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are definitely following our guidelines! This trip was right before the whole world shut down. I have been spending a bunch of time on my Peloton bike, rather then motoring around outside. Starting to feel like a mole! LOL. Will have to check out the Oregon yurts when we are allowed to!

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  8. This certainly looks like a fun trip. There’s certain magic when it comes to being outdoors, getting back to nature and spending the night in a yurt. Although I haven’t had a chance to experience it, I know I would absolutely love it. Thanks for sharing and stay safe 😊 Aiva xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That looks like a fun getaway, Pam! My husband always says he’d like to live in a yurt or a teepee and I’m like “ummm…nope”…but I might consider vacationing in one!! lol. Hope you’re doing well! xx

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