” We are heading to Anderson’s Cabin,” stated our guide Tyler. He was a young, capable man with a backpack that contained a seemingly endless supply of maps, demonstration photographs, water, and other supplies for our small group. The air is so dry here. Although it may not feel like sweating, you are actually losing water through your skin, nose, eyes and mouth at a much faster rate than back home.
With a base elevation of about 8,100 feet on Colorado’s Beaver Creek mountain, visitors can easily fall victim to the effects of the high elevation, especially where the summit reaches 11,440 feet.
The packed dirt trail ascends upwards less than one mile from Bachelor Gulch, Avon, Colo. The trail was bordered by sweet-smelling wildflowers, pines, and blooming shrubs. Along the path, you might see wild roses, lupines and occasional columbine. We were actually walking through a virtual Garden of Eden, which Tyler described and identified during the hike. We learned how to identify edible plants and the poisonous ones, which could make a huge difference in survival situations.
After we crossed Beaver Creek (named for — you guessed it — the beavers that inhabit the
water systems in the area), a wood cabin surrounded by tall pines came into view.
” We are hiking in what’s known as the ‘Bachelor Gulch’, Tyler explained.
He explained how seven bachelors came out to the area in the late 1800s aiming to strike it rich during the Colorado silver rush. They hoped to mine silver and gold, so they staked claims under the Homestead Act.
Preserved by The Ritz-Carlton, Anderson’s Cabin is now used for picnic hikes, wedding events and private dinners, and views from its deck are stunning. I could easily imagine that a lantern-lit dinner would feel like time traveling back to the Colorado wilderness of the late 1800s. However, after Tyler described the hardscrabble existence and conditions of the settlers during that time period, my romanticized notions evaporated.
” “It was a very difficult climate,” he stated. “A lot of people froze or starved to death.”
It made me even more grateful that I could enjoy the luxurious amenities and accommodating staff of the hotel just a short hike away.
I could easily imagine that a lantern-lit dinner would feel like time traveling back to the Colorado wilderness of the late 1800s.
Inspired Activities at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch
When I first saw The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, I was reminded of famous national park lodges constructed of logs and stone, such as The Ahwahnee in Yosemite or Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn. The property was designed with national park grand lodges as inspiration. Tyler also offers guests the chance to explore the area. Guests will learn survival skills such as food, water and shelter. He instructs them on building a survival kit with tools that will assist them during the hike — and get them “thinking outside of the box.”
Jean Alexander-Gitchell, director of sales for The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, described how they came up with the idea: “We thought, what if you were one of the bachelors who lived here? How did you light your fire? What was your method of finding food? Tyler will accompany guests and show them [to do those things]..
Alexander-Gitchell and her team developed the “Edge of Wild” package for guests to experience this summer.”
“We are on the edge of the mountain, basically on the ‘edge of the wild,’ so that inspired the idea for the new package,” she said, noting that guests can use a resort credit included with the package for activities, dining or spa treatments. “Basically, you define what your wild is, and then, we’ve got different programming here to accommodate that for guests.”
My “wild” included the educational nature hike, yoga, dining outside and indulging in the “Miner’s Mineral Mud Wrap” signature spa treatment. The Edge of Wild package will be available only until Sept. 6. It demonstrates the variety of pursuits at the property. Some activities are offered on a rotating basis, such as the survival skills hike. Next time I will try my skills with the “Whiskey and Wood Burning”, or “Lager and Leatherwork”, activities at the hotel. On the back lawn, there is a fly-fishing class. For those who enjoy fishing and want to have a challenge, the Fly Tying and Tivoli option is available. Guests learn how to tie their own featherflies while sipping Tivoli beer.
During my stay I also met the most famous bachelor in Beaver Creek. He is handsome, dark, and friendly. The ambassador for the hotel is “Bachelor”, a 2-year old Saint Bernard with a lot of personality. He often goes on hikes with Tyler.
He is the type of bachelor that I would love to have as a souvenir of my Edge of Wild adventure. A girl can dream, can’t she?
The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch
I’m Michelle, and I love to travel. As a former hotel expert for one of the world’s largest hotel chains, I’ve stayed in nearly every type of room imaginable (including many that were not so desirable!). Nowadays, I am fortunate enough to be able to explore the world on my own terms. From international flights to learning different languages, there is nothing too far out of reach!