Member Trip Report



Uncle Bud's Summer Hut Trip, near Leadville, Colorado

July 3-7, 2008

Author and Trip Leader: Judy Opsahl        Schematic Map: click here

Participants: Patti Duni, Yvonne Keller, Ernie & Susan Newman, Evan Rose & Felicia Orth, David & Irene Powell, Bryan Lally & Paula Barclay, Laura Patterson, Ray & Joy Green, and Judy & Dick Opsahl

The second annual Fourth of July weekend trip to a 10th Mountain Hut system hut went to Uncle Bud's Hut, beginning with driving up to Leadville on July 3rd, and staying overnight at the Columbine Inn. Most of the group met for dinner at Rosie's Brew Pub in Leadville Thursday night. After breakfast on Friday morning, we reloaded gear and people into two 4 wheel drive trucks and two 4 wheel drive SUV's and drove to the trailhead. Walkers then walked the 2.3 miles up to the hut, the drivers drove in over the definitely 4 wheel drive road, and Bryan and Paula, who drove to Leadville on their motorcycle, rode the motorcycle to the hut. Even the slowest walkers arrived by 10:30 AM, giving us time to explore the area around the Hut during the afternoon. Evan and Felicia took a short morning trip after arriving at the Hut and saw a lynx, which they spotted because they noticed the birds around them suddenly became very agitated. The lynx came into view, stopped to look at them, and then walked off in search of smaller prey. In the afternoon, four of the group, the Greens, Dick Opsahl and Yvonne Keller, chose to climb nearby Galena Mountain, 12,313 ft, while the rest of the group explored (and Bryan fished) some of the lakes south of the Hut before all returned for happy hour and a delicious dinner. It was a very warm, sunny day, and we could sit out on the deck enjoying our wine, beer, and spectacular views of Mounts Massive, Elbert, and Galena.

Laura Patterson and Irene Powell
with Mt Massive in the background

Group of us hiking on the Colorado Trail

For the next day, Dick Opsahl planned to hike/run from the Hut to Mt Massive via the Colorado Trail, which passes close to the Hut. He originally planned to summit Mt Massive, but when informed that that would entail a 36 mile round trip, decided to go as far as he could before returning in time for dinner. Oddly enough, no one wanted to join him (!), so he got up at 4:00 AM, ate a breakfast of leftovers from last night's dinner, and was on the trail by 5:20 AM. The others of us slept 'til a reasonable hour, had a leisurely breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, croissants and muffins, and planned a hike north on the Colorado Trail to Lake Decker, somewhat off the trail, where Bryan wanted to fish. He and Paula took off right after breakfast and, by bushwhacking, actually made it to the lake, where he caught (and released) one good sized fish. The rest of us followed and found our progress slowed by a snowfield on the north side of a ridge that covered the trail in places. Nonetheless, we took time for a group photo on one of the snow free meadows along the way.

We stopped for lunch by a pair of lakes along the trail, and then, noticing some cloud build up to our west, headed back over the ridge to the Hut. Dick Opsahl made it back from his trek by 4:15, having gone about 16 miles. Bryan & Paula came in just before 5:00, as happy hour was starting. The rain began shortly after and continued all evening, making us all glad to be back from our adventures. After an early dinner, most of the group played charades with great gusto, to the amusement of not only the participants, but also the on-lookers. Thanks to Irene for bringing the game. It kept us entertained until most of the group headed for bed at 9:00 PM.

Making breakfast burritos

Boy, that was a good breakfast!

Irene and Dave Powell had been expressing a wish to climb Mt Elbert (14,443 feet altitude, the highest peak in Colorado and the 2nd highest in the lower 48), and soon a groundswell developed with almost everyone deciding to drive over to the Mt Elbert trailhead early on Sunday. Three opted for a more relaxing day at the Hut, while twelve of us went to Mt Elbert. The day was in and out sun, a few spritzes of rain, but basically cool--good climbing weather. Six made it to the summit. The other six got above tree-line (12,000 plus feet altitude, 4 miles distance and 2,000 feet of climb), but on seeing that the remaining 1.5 miles to the summit involved 2,300 more feet of climb, decided to enjoy lunch where they were and then head down. All of us were back to the cars by 4:00 PM and back to the Hut by 5:00, in time for happy hour and another delicious dinner. Those who summited were Evan Rose, Bryan Lally, Paula Barclay, Dick Opsahl, and Irene and David Powell.

Approaching tree-line on Mt Elbert

Closer to the top of Mt Elbert, which is another 30 minutes beyond the sub-peak in the photo

The last morning, we awoke to light rain, which, mercifully, stopped before we had to load the trucks. After breakfast, we gathered for a group photo. Click here for a larger view.

It was a super trip, with many adventures, but also with time for those who wanted to relax to do so. The food was abundant (as is usual on LAM trips). We had two people preparing each breakfast and three preparing each dinner, and the meals were universally delicious. We are planning a similar trip for the next Fourth of July to a Hut yet to be determined. Information will be on the trip schedule soon after the Hut reservations are made in October. Next year I will try to make a deal with the proprietor of the Columbine for a group rate for our stay there the night before hiking in to the Hut.

Send your trip reports, comments, updates, and suggestions about this site to
Jan Studebaker

Website Design by Jemez Web Factory