Though Jack and Porter Barnes have held down the fort (hut) in the child department for many years, the last few Friends and Family of HMI hut trips have been characterized by more and more wee ones.
This year, as I worked on a 500-piece puzzle of Winter Park Ski Resort, I deemed the effort futile after one of the pieces ended up missing a chunk that has hopefully found its way through 2 year-old Eliot Talbot’s digestive system. Though I might have made it beyond that first brush with adversity, a subsequent treasure hunt designed by Evelyn Talbot (age 3), Sierra Reiff (age 4), and Annie McPhee (age 5), traversed my fragile puzzle on several occasions. When Ethan Reiff (age 1) started to crawl near with a sparkle in his eyes, I decided to call it quits on the puzzle and take in a way better form of entertainment: the children.
I sat back to watch as the three girls created an imaginary world, making sure to orient the maps that they drew and account for any fairies in the Broome Hut. I sang along with the rapt audience of kids as Harwood strummed Frosty the Snowman and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I witnessed Sam Critchlow (math faculty RMS 19-26) invent a numbers game in which the three girls needed to figure out how many eggs were in a dozen and other similar puzzles. Paul Dreyer used his hat as a translation device through which each of the girls would speak in a language they seemed to understand though it was gibberish for me.
All of this creativity and more fun happened inside the confines of the Broome Hut, located near Berthoud Pass in the Araphoe National Forest, and, as per usual, there was also lots of fun to be had in the snow outside!
The child takeover of the hut trip was complete when, as we skied back to the cars, two men who were skinning in pulled out their iPhone to shoot a video of hard core mom, Christina Reiff, HMI Director of Summer Term & Adjunct Programs, with one year old Ethan Reiff in a front-pack carrier and four year-old Sierra Reiff in tow in her snow chariot.
As she descended, Christina yelled, “Quads are burning!”