Typically, when planning an Alpine Trails Book Club outing, I start with the book, then wrack my brain to come up with the best possible trail to pair with it. To start off 2018, for once I knew exactly where I wanted to go: a short snowshoe around Gold Creek Pond paired with a stop at my nearby family cabin would be the perfect way to ease out of the holiday season. I envisioned a laid-back morning of snacking, hot beverages, and meandering conversation. The trouble was I couldn't come up with a fitting book, but when Ashley suggested reading The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking, I knew we'd found the perfect combination. I'd already unintentionally planned the perfect hyggelig day for our meeting!
Since we'd spent the previous night at the cabin to get everything nice and hygge, Ashley, Evie and I left the cabin in the dim pre-dawn to reach the trailhead at the arranged time. The morning was too cloudy for a noticeable sunrise; instead, a soft grey light gradually bled across the sky. An icy wind greeted us at the trailhead, blasting down the road and making me dream of the scarf I'd left on its hook in the cabin. Thankfully our group was prompt, and soon we were back on the trail headed for Gold Creek Pond. As we hiked, snowshoes squeaking in the powdery snow, fat flakes began to fall from the steely skies. By the time we reached the southern shore of the pond, our view was nearly obscured by driving snow. As we hurried in our loop around the pond, I was reminded of a line from the book:
Perhaps hygge is even more hygge if there is a controlled element of danger - of uhygge. A storm, thunder, or a scary movie.
The stinging icy flakes blasting every bit of exposed skin could only improve the hygge atmosphere of the cabin! Soon we'd left behind the stormy pond and reached the welcome sight of the cabin, where we could better appreciate the storm from the warmth of the stove.
As the rest of the group shed their warm layers, I put a kettle on to boil for tea and set out the assortment of snacks we'd prepared for the group. Soon, we were settled into a ring around the food, and hyggesnak (lighthearted conversation) began to flow, punctuated by the crackling woodstove. Though we'd started the day as a group of strangers, after some shared Sondaghygge (Sunday hygge) we parted as friends.
In many ways, cabins include all the drivers of hygge: the smells, the sounds, and the simplicity. When you stay in one, there is a closer connection to nature and to each other. A cabin forces you to live more simply and slowly. To get out. To get together. To enjoy the moment.