The National Ability Center in Park City, Utah invited us to visit their yurt in the Uinta’s. The hike is just under one mile and required us to wear snowshoes.
Deep Powder Ahead
Stepping off the trail with snowshoes I sank to my knee. Without them I sank to my waist so staying on the trail was important. The trail had been used by many people before we got there, but wasn’t wide enough for the Emma X3 in some spots.
Half of our group went ahead and used their snowshoes to widen the trail. They also recruited other hikers they passed along the way. They told them about the wheelchair that was on it’s way up and asked if they could walk along the edges of the trail to help.
Pushing in the Snow
Pushing in the snow is a challenge. Our trick of attaching ropes to the front of the chair didn’t work well in the snow. The person up front was always turning the front of the chair and making the rear wheels slide off the beaten path.
Because the tires are smooth they tend to slide sideways easily. If the trail was angled to the one side or the other the chair would slip into the powder and have to be muscled back onto the trail. Luckily between Sam weighing 90 pounds, and the chair weighing 49 that wasn’t too difficult.
Slow and Steady
We didn’t set any speed records on this adventure, but we did make slow and steady progress to the yurt. On a trip like this it doesn’t make a lot of sense to rush through such beautiful country.
We stopped and said hello to other hikers. Sam even got a kiss… from a curious and friendly golden retriever along the way.
National Ability Center Yurt
Nestled in the woods is the National Ability Center’s Yurt. They had chairs inside, but it wasn’t too cold and we decided it would be easier to keep Sam in the X3 out front. We brought the folding chairs outside, sunk them in the snow and enjoyed some hot chocolate.
The yurt is available for overnight trips. Inside there are 3 bunk beds. I think it would be a lot of fun to take a group there and stay the weekend.
After a much deserved rest at the yurt we packed everything away, strapped our snow shoes on and headed back down the mountain.
National Ability Center Guides
Three members of the National Ability Center accompanied us on our trip. They all did an outstanding job.
Ruth was the leader of our group. She stuck with Roger and I and helped us push Sam up the hill. She made up for her small size with loads of energy and a great attitude. Ruth did more than her fair share of pushing Sam up the trail to the yurt.
Ruth is from Florida and deep down misses the beach. She kept mixing up the word snow with sand. She fell in the powder once and jumped up saying, “I’ve got SAND in my pants!”
Berin was the photographer/videographer for the trip. He was the only one in our group who wasn’t wearing snowshoes. Instead he had special skis that allowed him to move around the group in the deep snow. He could leave the trail without sinking and get different shots as we traveled.
Brandon went ahead of the wheelchair to blaze the trail, and unlock the yurt. He grew up in the area and was happy to see all the visitors in “his” mountains, but also misses the solitude they brought in his youth. Brandon did most of the pushing on the way back to the parking lot.
All three guides loved the X3 and made the trip so fun and we felt like old friends by the time we returned to the parking lot.
Book your own trip
If you would like to learn more about the National Ability Center Yurt or any of the other great things they do for the community head on over to https://discovernac.org/facilities/uinta-yurt/