We knew before we began Friday would be a long and difficult snowshoe from Uncle Bud’s to the 10th Mountain Hut. Beyond Uncle Bud’s Hut we worked to find the way through the deep powder. Under clear blue skies we navigated along the route of the combined Colorado and Continental Divide trails looking for the widely space metal, blue diamonds that had been nailed to trees. We stopped to admire the distant views from a ridge and then descended steeply, stumbling through the wonderful powder down into Porcupine Gulch. We all enjoyed the slide down. We followed blue diamonds down into Longs Gulch, and after lunch left the Colorado Trail following diamonds towards the 10th Mountain Hut.
We climbed over two more ridges before descending to the North Fork of West Tennessee Creek. At approximately 3:00 PM, we crossed the wide, willow-filled floodplain, and lost the trail. After searching unsuccessfully along the edge of the floodplain for the trail, we plotted the northeasterly course towards the hut and began to climb through the forest. Fallen timber slowed us as we climbed, and before we reached timberline, it grew dark. In the first steep clearing we reached, we found a blue diamond but could find no more. Using GPS and Ryan’s map reading, we plotted a course, and Dave navigated uncannily to a large meadow where we finally saw the hut at approximate 6:00 pm. There were lights on in the hut so we spotted it easily. It was a fine adventure and everyone in the group performed well. We turned off our headlamps and approached the hut across the snowy meadow in the moonlight.