Elfin Lakes Shelter needs to be experienced.
Yes, reservations required. Do it This is about 14 miles roundtrip, and worth the effort. In the snow it can take 4 hours to get to the hut. That also depends on how long you stay in the warm emergency hut along the way, Red Heather Hut, 3 miles from the trailhead. Pack warm, even though the main hut has solar panels for heating, it may not get enough sun to keep you as warm as you’d like. Learn more and more
I’m fortunate enough to have people to adventure with. Julie and I work together. So we are constantly looking up places to explore. We have the same budget, as cheap as possible. The biggest expense is always gas.
Snow everywhere! I would consider this a moderate hike, but I also ran 15 miles the day before, so you be the judge. It was snowing when we arrived to the lower lot, and there we started the journey adding an additional mile of uphill grind. Better to do that than come back to a car snowed in. The goal was just to reach the shelter, no lakes or mountains to take in. Just a challenging snowshoe in the Canadian wilderness. Less than halfway in was the best halfway point I’ve ever experienced on a hike. And that’s not just because it’s my namesake; Red Heather Hut. The warmth hits you first. Rushes over your face to reveal how cold and wet you really are. The ranger chops wood for the year, and your fellow hikers keep it going. There are hooks for drying clothes, tables, and seats by the fire. I felt spoiled. I did my research ahead of time and made use of there was propane stove there. That was the best grilled cheese I’ve ever had.
Back to the grind.
4 more miles.
They lied, there is no cabin, this is an elaborate scheme.
Omg, it’s real and it’s beautiful.
Warmth. Again. Yes. See the solar panels, and all the snow blocking the sun? The heat didn’t last through the night, again plan accordingly.
If you forget to bring something to pass the time, there is plenty left behind from previous hikers to keep you entertained. The night was full of playing uno with strangers, helping make the community sterile water, and sipping on adult cocoa. Sleeping was almost non-existent. I heard everyone else snoring, and everything creeks. So I easily arose in the morning to go outside to see that it was no longer snowing. Sunrise was coming. There’s a special kind of chill you feel before the sun touches everything around you. You see your breath and feel the cold hit your lungs and into your belly. It connects to inner thoughts and adds weight. As soon as the first ray hits you it flees and a new day begins.
Hiking is my reset button.
Julie slept through sunrise, but she was battling a headache and the sun was only peeking through clouds. It wasn’t until we started the hiking back that the clouds retracted. And then we wished we had sunscreen. The hike back was gorgeous. We got to see all that we had missed in the snowstorm on the way in. There were mountains and frozen lakes all around us. The trees were covered in all this white glitter. The trail had been completely snowed over, at least a foot if not more. Mounds of it, everywhere. So untouched. It’s inspiring to see nothing but nature in every direction.