A few staffers from The Little Nell (including Executive Chef Robert McCormick and Adventure Concierge Kane Hudson) were lucky enough to hit the trails earlier this week on an overnight horse pack trip. This trip, which can be booked through The Little Nell’s Adventure Program, is in a word: amazing.
We started the day a bit apprehensive. None of us had much experience riding a horse, but our guides were reassuring. And the horses were even more assuring. With sure footing and a calm demeanor, these impressive animals led us deep into the backcountry of the Snowmass Wilderness and up to the stunning vistas of Snowmass Lake (without us even having to break a sweat).
It’s roughly 9 miles to the lake from the trailhead, so 18 miles round trip. We visited the lake on Day 1, at our guide Chris’ suggestion. He’s a wise man. For these inexperienced riders (and inexperienced rears) Day 1 was the perfect time to take the extra miles to the lake before circling back to camp for the evening.
Tommy, our camp chef, was there waiting for us with trout he’d caught from the river — which he fried up and served alongside bruschetta, grapes, cheeses, olives, chocolate trail mix and delicious wines. We somehow made extra room in our bulging bellies for ribeye steak, ratatouille, and creamy polenta, followed by lemon poppyseed strawberry shortcake, all prepared (mostly) in advance by chef and his team at The Little Nell.
Telling stories around the dinner table turned into telling stories by the campfire, and before long, eyes drooped. We headed for our sleeping tents (complete with cots, fresh fleece-lined sleeping bags and pillows with little chocolate treats on top). Sleeping with the sound of the rushing river… so far from civilization… we didn’t stir until 9 a.m. when we awoke to the smell of bacon and coffee. Huevos rancheros (what else?) was the perfect meal before leaving camp.
Before long, we were in the saddle and riding back to civilization. Kane, being the avid hiker that he is, opted for a trail run, showing us all up as we marveled at his energy. In sum: Great company. Great food. Great scenery. What else can you ask for in the Rocky Mountains?
Thanks to Chef Robert for all the great images. Want to see more of the story? Here’s a short video recap of our journey.