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Unplugged Weekend

By September 19, 2014

Colorado Hut My husband and I are not particularly outdoorsy. We love a good hike, walk or run, but most other outdoor activities fall far outside our comfort zone. We do NOT camp. (My husband will joke that his idea of camping is a 3 star hotel, and I honestly have to agree.) We do, however, make an annual pilgrimage high up into the Rockies with a large group of friends for our “hut trip.” The “huts” in question are actually large cabins typically built at or near the tree line with no running water, no cell service, no phone, no electricity. What they do have is a wood burning stove and gas range, a well-stocked kitchen with cooking utensils and dishes, outhouses, and a series of bunk beds and foam mattresses to roll sleeping bags on to. It is as close to camping as this family is gonna get.

We made our annual hut trip a couple of weekends ago and it struck me, as it always does, how peaceful life is when you are completely and totally unplugged. Our phones lost their signals about 45 minutes away from the hut. We forced the kids to turn off the iPads at about the same time. The iPads were left behind in the car so as not to tempt the boys and incur the wrath of all the other children denied that luxury.

I can’t describe how freeing it is for us to be totally untethered, and for us and our kids to be totally freed from electronics. Our boys explored around the cabin with their herd of 7 kids. They found an old abandoned mine that one of the other kids decided to pee into. (What else do you do with an abandoned mine, right? At least the pee marking had the much appreciated side effect of causing the kids to not go into the mine – hallelujah!) We packed a sack lunch and climbed a mountain, literally. Afterwards the kids had hot cocoa and the grownups had wine, the kids all played cards and board games, while some adults napped, read books or played with the kids. At dinner time we had pasta with marinara and spicy Italian sausage, a simple meal at sea level that’ll  bring you to tears at 11,000 feet. Seriously, everything tastes amazing at altitude (huh, did I just figure out why astronauts can eat dehydrated food? Their poor brains need oxygen!) The after dinner clean up is a group effort. Washing dishes with filtered water that you have to heat on the stove and rinsing in cool bleached water takes some teamwork. And who knew washing dishes with friends could be so nice? Because there’s truly nothing else to do but just talk to each other. When everything in the kitchen was back in order, we filed out to the fire pit for s’mores and homemade brownies (and let me tell you, you haven’t lived till you’ve put roasted marshmallows on a brownie.) We were treated to pure silliness from the then deliriously tired and sugar hopped up kids. There were campfire songs, magic tricks, jokes and ghost stories.

The next morning was more of the same: exploring, playing, laughing, talking. Mid-morning we packed up and headed back towards Denver. We all stopped for lunch together on the way down. And as we sat the phones came out, the kids and grownups stared up at the TV screens, and although we had a good time, the magic was gone.

A lot has been said and written about unplugging your devices and being “present.” And I don’t always subscribe to that philosophy – but every once in a while it’s so worth the effort. Although you don’t have to go to these extremes to achieve an unplugged weekend, I encourage you to consciously put your devices away, get away from the house and all the chores and distractions there, and create some unplugged magic with your family this weekend.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Esranur February 29, 2016 at 2:06 am

    – Such a quiet, romantic and srneee day with an awesome couple who have cut away a lot of the cruft which often goes with weddings and kept it about the important things, each other and how much they enjoy being together.I’m not normally a huge fan of square photos but they work perfectly here, congratulations all round!

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