It was fully night by the time I stepped out of my Subaru onto the icy snow layering one of the roads leading out of Montezuma.
After a drive from Denver, several hours of work, packing an overnight bag and grabbing a beer with my cohorts at Dos Locos, I'd finally reached the trailhead for my destination, a friend's off-grid cabin up nestled in ye ol' mining hills. It's the equivalent of a hut trip, but with a more exclusive and homey feel.
All that remained was a snowmobile ride out into the wilderness he calls home - with the pack on the back and groceries strapped to the side.
Hopping on the back of my friend's sled, I enjoyed the warm winter evening air breeze around my goggles and onto my face.
It was the best of both worlds: The full moon moved through the sky, out of vision until well past midnight, meaning the stars had a chance to shine like pinpricks in a heavy blanket onto us earlier in the evening as we sailed through the trees.
The most recent full moon, called the Full Worm Moon by the Farmer's Almanac, met with warm nights perfect for enjoying the orb's beauty. Even catching it as it began to wane was better than missing an outdoors experience under the full moon.
All this was better than the next day's snowpack, which sits as stale as an old cake, layered with crusty frosting. Thank goodness for the warm morning, promising a beautiful spring-like day. Good company and great views in the hills surrounding Montezuma make a morning cup of coffee almost as enjoyable as an early tour to that favorite powder stash that's nonexistent this year.
Summit Huts Association operates four cabins in Summit County and can be found online at www.summithuts.org.
The 10th Mountain Division Hut Association operates others in the Sawatch Range and the greater Colorado Rocky Mountains. Find more information at www.huts.org.