Last week I was trying to think of something fun to do for Valentine’s Day with Matt. While thinking about it, I stumbled on an article on Facebook called, “Cozy Up in a Colorado Yurt: 5 Unique Backcountry Stays“. Immediately I decided to surprise Matt with a yurt trip. The only one on the list that seemed affordable and feasible were the Emma and Marceline yurts. I checked the website, LeadvilleBackcountry and of course Valentine’s Day weekend was completely booked, but luckily Matt and I never have weekends off anyways so I booked it for this past Monday night.
The plan was going to be to tell him a day or two before going but he had to sign a waiver and I figured he would want to be prepared so I told him a week in advance he was super excited! Our friends even said that I won the girlfriend of the year award! (woohoo!)
We finished packing Monday morning, stopped for a few more things in Dillon and then drove to Leadville. It was so nice not having to drive very far but knowing we were going to such a remote location. We drove past the main downtown of Leadville and then headed into the mountains south of town. We parked on ridge near the Black Cloud Mine and headed down a jeep road. It must be a popular snowmobile trail because the whole way to the yurts we followed snowmobile tracks.
Both of our packs were around 40 lbs, which at first didn’t seem too bad, the first ridge was a 500ft climb where we hit public access through private property, some of which was leased through the Fish and Wildlife Service of Colorado. After the ridge, we went downhill for a little bit which was really fun actually. Then we crossed through a meadow to the steep climb at about 4.5 miles in.
At this point my pack was digging in and I was ready for the yurt! For the next mile and a half we slogged up 1200 ft to the yurts. I had to stop and rest my pack off of my hips every so often, it was brutal. Once we reached the clearing, we had a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and then the yurts were just ahead.
Matt arrived first and found that one of the owners was up and had set up in the Marceline Yurt, so we took the Emma. The yurt was everything I could have hoped for. There was a gas grill/oven combo, a woodstove, 2 bunk beds and all the supplies you could ever need. We unpacked, and then headed up the ridge behind the yurts to check out the view.
The view of the Sawatch was amazing and we decided we would come back up for the sunset. We cooked a little snack and started a fire in the woodstove in the meantime.
After the sunset we came back to the yurt, cranked the woodstove and made dinner. It was so warm in that little yurt, I couldn’t believe it! We drank wine, ate dinner and played cards until our tired muscles caught up with us and we went to bed. Matt got up every couple of hours and put more wood on the stove and we never really got cold.
In the morning we decided to just hang out at the yurt and let the snow soften up. Unfortunately it never really softened up and we picked the worst way to head down. My pack was so heavy that I couldn’t really snowboard with it on in the punchy snow, so Matt (winning the best boyfriend award) took my pack and his and we somehow made it back to the skin track.
The skin out was tough, but we both just kept moving and finally made it back to the car. It was such a great trip, next time we’re going for more than just one night!
Ps. This was the view from the outhouse. Now I really want to live in a yurt!