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Brazos Cabin Cross Country Ski/Snowshoe Trip

March 2-4, 2007

Trip Leader, Author and Trip Report Photos: Dave Yeamans

Trip Participants: Don Gettemy and Gracia Coffin, Francesco Grilli, Kathleen Gruetzmacher, Jan Studebaker, Bill Priedhorsky, and Dave Yeamans.

Photo Galleries: Francesco Grilli, click here, Jan Studebaker, click here

Original Club Announcement:  click here for details

Seven Los Alamos Mountaineers skied and snowshoed into a cabin maintained by member David Yeamans between the Brazos Cliffs and the Colorado border. Some of the crew shoveled a place to park along the private roads where we launched while others prepared the heavy sleds full of gear to be pulled by a snowmobile. By about 3:00 all but two of the travelers had made the 8 1/2 mile trek up 2000 feet or more and were safe inside the snow covered cabin. A snowmobile "rescue" was indicated for the others so we dispatched the sag wagon and brought them up the last four miles or so. One crash with trivial injuries provided plenty of excitement for that contingent.

Our wonderful accommodations at about 10,000 feet.

We spent the next day skiing in the area. The snow was over the tops of all the fence posts and there were slopes, gullies, canyons, meadows, and every other terrain that can be skied. We cut a lot of turns and wore ourselves out thoroughly. That made the evening's meal of enchiladas and Spanish rice all the more meaningful....green chiles and a good appetite. And don't forget the chocolate cake.

Jan viewing our groups tracks.

The trip was planned for ten people but we agreed that seven or eight is more like the number that can easily fit into the well-appointed cabin. There were enough chores to go around: shoveling a path to the outhouse, taking off the window covers, keeping a fire going, cooking, and cleaning. Everybody pitched in and we even had time left to relax and play cards.

Ascending an unnamed high spot for an excellent view,
 and a fun downhill ski.

Early to bed and "early" to rise worked for us but in zero-degree weather we were happy to wait until about 9:30 to hit the trail home.  It is a fun ski down for about half the trip where the snow is deep and soft but as we lose elevation the snow gets thinner and harder making a controlled descent very taxing. But everybody got down without injury. Even so, the snowmobiler was doing a mother hen routine just to make sure.

Lessons learned:

  • It's OK to snowshoe but having a ski option also would be good for next time,

  • The window covers have 4 bolts, not 3....don't rip off the cover or you'll break it,

  • Let your passengers walk the last 200 yards to the cabin,

  • Snowmobiles can be blamed for anything and they don't resent it,

  • The greatest luxury in a winter camp is liquid water so bring plenty,

  • The 'library' cafe in Chama offers belly dancing classes.

This trip is likely to become an annual or even semi-annual one for the club based on the smiles we all wore at the end of it. Thanks for coming along.


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Jan Studebaker

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