The Seipel Hut, where we stayed for the week, is a cozy off grid cabin. The inside walls are paneled with light colored pine and it abounds with built in shelves, pegs, and benches. It has a kitchen, a dinning room with a bay window, a living room ell, a downstairs master bedroom, and two upstairs smaller bedrooms. The windows look south and west from the cabin. From upstairs, we could see over the trees to the far mountains. The master bedroom is a recent addition. It’s missing in some of the 10th Mountain site photos. The wood stove that easily overheated the rest of the cabin never quite warmed the master bedroom. So we used it as our refrigerator and my parents slept on the couches instead.
The kitchen was a dry kitchen — meaning we had to haul water in buckets from an outdoor spigot, and the sink drained directly into a wash pan underneath. We carried that water to a designated gray water disposal spot a few steps from the cabin. The real trick was remembering to not use the sink when the wash pan was missing. We eventually came up with a signaling system using the cabinet doors.
The kitchen was well stocked with pots and pans. We seasoned the two cast iron pans with our olive oil. The stove ran off a propane tank as did the gas lamps throughout the house. The gas system had an interesting timer shutoff system. First you lit two pilot lights at the stove, then you could turn the timer on for the stove or the house lights. When the timer ended, it shut off the gas. The reason for that pilot light, as we figured out after much discussion, was to heat the small thermoelectric generator that ran the timer. An odd system, but it worked.
The entrance to the cabin was across a deck and then through a covered walkway. One side of the covered walkway was the cabin wall. The other side held the stacked, split wood, and the outhouse. This made the outhouse experience quite pleasant because you just had to put on your slippers and a light jacket. It was below freezing in the outhouse, which kept the smells down. However, it also froze the pee and poop. This was my first time seeing a frozen poop stalagmite / matterhorn.
The reason I am describing the hut in so much detail, is we didn’t make it out of the hut all day Tuesday. My Dad usually gets kitchen duty on these trips. He tromped over to the pump at the neighboring Polar Star Inn once to get water. Tyson and my Mom rested on the couch or dinning benches. I tried to entertain Isaac a little with games from the upstairs shelf. We were all exhausted from skiing in the previous day, and still struggling with the altitude. We played two games of dominos, and then I tried to teach Isaac solitaire so I could take another nap. He mostly got the rules, but he preferred when we played as a team.
At some point as we were resting and sipping honey tea while staring out at the blanket of snow, I commented that this wasn’t our type of vacation at all. Normally we are going full speed ahead on some adventure. Tyson protested from where he lay on the couch that “this is full speed ahead!”
- Main page with all days of this February 2020 winter vacation in Colorado
- Official 10th Mountain Huts page for Seipel Hut