The family hut trips last winter were so fun, we decided then to book out Elizabeth Parker hut and do it all over again this winter. And my resulting blog posts are apparently so photo-laden that I’m going to split up the trip day by day.
Filling up an entire hut with friends is wonderful fun, but definitely a little involved – especially thanks to the National Parks need to buy wilderness passes on top of paying the hut fee… and then depending where you get the wilderness pass, you need to pay an additional booking fee, and argh! But once that’s all done, you just get to enjoy the trip, hurrah! Although the actual logistics of getting yourself plus kid/s up to the hut for a couple of nights can sometimes feel overwhelming too…
But then, finally, you’ve locked the car one last time (“Did I definitely press the beeper?” “I think so.” “I’m sure you did.” “I didn’t see the lights flash though.” “Maybe I’ll just go back and check it one more time.”) and you’re skiing.
We had pretty nice conditions for our ski in. A bit cloudy, but not too cold, and lovely snow. Definitely not too cold compared to all this -25oC and -30oC weather that’s been kicking around this winter. We’d already cancelled one hut trip thanks to unpleasant cold levels.
Our ski-in group consisted of two 3-year olds, a 5-year old, a 6-year old, and eight adults. Some of the crew had motored on ahead of us, and some were going to be making it in later that day.
And so we skied in slowly, and practised the art of patience and coaxing small children to cover long distances.
Lunch breaks that involve stopping and playing in the snow definitely help! The picnic table at the 5km marker of the Lake O’Hara road makes for a great lunch stop, and has a couple of hills for keeping tobogganing kids happy.
And then we continued, and the Moosling sometimes skied under his own steam, although mostly I was towing him. Not pictured, as I’m the photographer, and so was mostly taking photos when I wasn’t towing a slightly grumpy 6-year old (some ski trips just involve higher grumpiness levels than others, it’s just a thing, 6-year olds are people too).
But then finally, on to the final twisty narrow trail through the trees. And disaster, as the Chariot overturned and Kat’s coffee cup fell down a snowy cliff, and she had to climb down and retrieve it. Successfully, I might add.
The final stretch, where you can see the smoke wisping up from the huts, and then finally, through the trees, the huts appear in view.
And then a few of us headed back out to help the others after dumping bags at the hut. Hurrah, light-weight skiing!
And then, hut life. The two really small kids hang out in the main cabin, discussing the sweet lines they’ll be skiing tomorrow. Well, maybe give them another decade at least.
Group meals tend to lead to a hedonistic smorgasbord of deliciousness. There was as much eating on this trip as there was anything else. The cheese! The dips! The bready goodness! And that was only the appetisers.
And so friends, and friends of friends, and new friends, all create an enormous racket, as everyone chats and socialises, eats delicious food, and drinks delicious port.
And outside? The night is brilliant, calm and quiet, filled with stars and the beautiful Milky Way.