Hull Cook worked at the Boulderfield Shelter Cabin on Longs Peak during the summers of 1932, 1933, and 1934. These are his stories.
The Boulderfield Hotel, or shelter, or cabin, whatever you may call it, was constructed in 1926 and 1927 by the National Park Service, and was operated during its 10-year existence by the Colliers. The construction was not an easy task. Everything but the actual rock had to be laboriously packed in on horses or mules over a very rough and rocky six-mile trail at high altitude. I believe Jack Moomaw, an early park ranger and guide, supervised the construction of the trail across the Boulderfield to the hotel site, which enabled pack mules and horses to negotiate this jumble of rocks without suffering broken legs. The workmen stayed at Timberline Cabin, so a good part of their day was spent in hiking the three miles each way to and from Boulderfield.
Problems, of course, arose later, some of which were quite unexpected. For example, one would not expect a small, rugged granite building to be easily pulled apart. Yet a little of that happened each year. Cracks up to a half-inch in width in walls and floor would open up, necessitating a caulking job every spring. To account for this instability, I believe that there must be an underground, glacier-like ice flow that is constantly replenished by seepage from the Dove snowfield.
Wind was another problem, its effects having been underestimated. The first winter was educational. The whole roof went off, smashed, dismembered, and scattered for miles. The cabin became a large solid block of hard-packed snow enclosed in granite walls, a rather discouraging spring discovery. To avoid a repetition of this disaster, the new roof was reinforced with small logs laid horizontally on the gabled roof, and held down with a row of head-sized boulders above each log. … Continue Reading