The snow seemed to get deeper and deeper.  At one point, I planted my pole to the side of my snowshoes, and it sunk all the way up to my wrist.  Thank God, that Bryon broke trail, each snowshoe sinking deep into the fluff.  It also took all the guesswork out of where to  put my foot,  kind of like “Snowshoeing for Dummies.”  Put one foot here, put the next here.

As the late afternoon sun slide beyond the towering peaks, I wondered if we should turn around.  You can never be too careful in wintertime.  My thoughts were interrupted by a shout from Bryon as he stood next to a wooden sign.

“It says the hut is only 60 yards down the trail.”

Yay!  We come quickly upon the quaint cabin, a small opening in the banks of snow leading to the entrance.  We don’t have the entrance code, so just hang out in the entry way, noshing on trail mix and Kind bars.

Our goal when starting our winter patrol was to get to the Colorado Mountain Club Cabin near the west end of Brainard Lake.  The cabin is one of many huts staffed by Colorado Mountain Club members during weekends, allowing those who are cold and weary to warm up with a cup of hot cocoa.  The CMC cabin is also available for overnights at a cost of $12 for CMC members and $24 for non-members.

Having lived in the west for many years, I was all too familiar with the Sierra Club, another well known conservation organization.  But until I moved to Colorado, I’d never heard of the CMC.  In fact, I learned a lot of its history while researching a campfire program at Rocky Mountain National Park.

When Enos Mills launched his campaign to create Colorado’s first national park, two very influential organizations got behind his proposal — the Denver Chamber and the Colorado Mountain Club.  In fact, Mills was one of the founding  members that helped create the CMC in 1912.   I think of the CMC as our very own personal Sierra Club, working tirelessly for education, stewardship, and conservation of our this wonderful natural environment we enjoy here.

It’s also a great organization to join to meet other like-minded nature lovers.  They organize all kinds of activities and classes — whether it be Wilderness First Aid, backcountry skiing, hiking, fishing or backpacking.  If I were single, I’d probably join up with these multitude of activities.

In this era of technology, where most of us get way too much screen time and not enough time connecting with nature, I’m grateful to the CMC.  They serve a valuable role and provide wonderful opportunities for Colorado residents to enjoy the great outdoors.  After 100 years, their mission remains the same to this day.

To unite the energy, interest, and knowledge of the students, explorers and lovers of the mountains of Colorado;

Collect and disseminate information regarding the Rocky Mountains on behalf of science, literature, art, and recreation;

Stimulate public interest in our mountain area;

Encourage the preservation of forests, flowers, fauna, and natural scenery; and

Render readily accessible the alpine attractions of this region.