Ico guests and volunteers practicing cross country skiing on Van Norden meadow Photo: John Cordes
Here is a trip summary written by 2 participants of the San Jose ICO snow trip to Hutchinson Lodge in Norden in Feb 2014. San Jose ICO is part of the Loma Prieta Chapter that takes inner city and disadvantaged youth to experience the great outdoors. Travis and Benito are participants of the Bill Wilson Center's Drop-in program for homeless young adults in San Jose -JGC, editor
My name is Benito, but my friends call me Sasquatch, I am one of the ten participants that went on the San Jose ICO trip to Hutchinson Lodge near Truckee, Ca. During the drive there, we occupied our time with music, sleep, and anything else entertaining that we had in our possession. I was in the white van with Luis, Travis, Victor, and Adam. Travis took videos with his phone of us dancing to the radio. It started to get cold as the scenery changed from the brown hills covered in dead grass to the mountains covered in snow. The windows started to fog up from the change in the climate; everything was covered in white powder. We soon arrived at our destination, the bottom of a slope that led to a big cabin formally known as “Hutchinson’s Lodge”. The moment everyone made it out of their respective cars snowballs started flying. Amidst the icy chaos, we soon made it up the slope with our belongings. The lodge is one story. The inside is split into two sections; the living room area and at the other end of a long hallway, two small rooms. The front door leads to the small room where we changed to our shoes. The hall is home to a sauna and a shower, the rest of the hallway is home to firewood. The small room at the end is where the ski’s and sleds were kept. The large living room has couches and tables and two firewood stoves at either end and piles of chopped wood stacked on the sides. On both ends of this large room are two elevated sleeping areas; one for males and the other for females. Under the girls sleeping quarter is a small kitchen on the left and two bathrooms on the right. Once inside we changed into our snow clothes, had a quick lunch, and around two we started our snowball war. After a long tiring battle, we gathered our ski’s and boots and headed down the slope to go cross country skiing. We crossed half a mile of snow, across a meadow, we crossed a frozen stream, and had a long yard race; it was exhilarating. The first day of fun in the snow was nearing its end. We headed back to the cabin to change clothes and had dinner by the warmth of the fire. We ended the night learning to play a game called “oh shit”. In the morning, we had breakfast and eagerly went to ski on the hills around the cabin. After two more hours of fun we went back and packed our belongings getting ready for the long drive home. The trip brought new friends and made older friends closer. Everyone felt joy from being in the snow and left us all with a healthy hunger for more fun in the fresh powder!
It’s only being my third time in the snow, I was no less excited then when I first saw snow. With all the excitement and wonder from the snow I was filled with a sense of gratitude. It’s not everyday you get an all expense paid trip to north Lake Tahoe. The wood fire cabin gave it a home like warmth, making everyone become closer friends during the time we were there. Learning to ski was exhilarating. Another generosity from the wonderful people at ICO. All together as friends, it allowed us to leave reality for a moment and have a healthy dose of good all fashion fun.
Travis and Benito
This trip and 2 other San Jose ICO snow trips this winter were generously supported by a grant from the Clair Tappaan Lodge Foundation.