Uncle Bud’s Hut Trip
Part 1, A Tale of Two Day Hikes, or, Awed on Arrival.
Rogue Carver on the Loose in America
Ask anyone around this corner of Colorado – very few of us seem to spend as much time in the backwoods as we would wish. After all, here it is, all around us in every direction, mile upon mile of the wildest, most beautiful, pristine hiking country imaginable, just begging to be explored.
However, fortunately, each year at this time a feast for the outdoor senses awaits thanks to our friends Greg and Heather’s generous invitation to spend time at whichever of the 10th Mountain Huts they have chosen to book. Consequently the two full middle days of these most blissful of breaks have served to provide some of the very best and most enjoyable hiking of my life.
This time around however the annual hut trip was to prove something rather special indeed, for my hiking companion was to be none other than my son Joseph, and what a delightful and memorable experience our hikes turned out to be.
Down through the years Joseph and I, along with his mother Kris, have hiked hundreds of miles together, although admittedly too few of those miles have been trod in recent years. Joseph however is quite the accomplished hiker and outdoors-man, having completed the grueling month-long NOLS outdoor leadership course in the rugged mountains of Wyoming at the age of 15. Yes, that’s 30 consecutive days, and much more significantly, nights, at or around or above the treeline. And just last year he walked the entire breadth of Spain along the Camino di Santiago di Compostella… and on to Finesterre, or the ‘End of The World’… and so I knew I had with me a hiking companion of the very highest order. And so, all things considered, we both thought that it was about time to set the bar high and aim our sights on a hike that would ultimately deliver us to one of the surrounding peaks.
By sheer coincidence the peak we ended up hiking was the very one my eyes fixed upon earlier that morning when I had awoken and gazed in awe as dawn broke over the rocky, craggy and seemingly inaccessible ridge-line leading up to the 12,800 foot peak of Mount Galena.
And my, my. What a sunrise…
Mount Massive, 14,428 feet (4,398 m) is a fourteener in the Sawatch Range, constitutes a section of the Continental Divide, and is a mountain that not only demands attention from every direction but also serves to play havoc on the local weather, as we will shortly witness.
But as we set out on that merry (late) morning of Thursday, September 25th 2014 we cared not, nor had a clue exactly where we were headed. As the tourist copy rightly puts it; ‘In Colorado trails are but mere suggestions’, and off we went, striding into the Holy Cross Wilderness oblivious to the outrageously joyful day that was about to unfold. Our only plan lay in the stunningly obvious decision to head towards whatever took our fancy and seemed to afford the best, most interesting option.
So I hope you will join Joseph and myself as we share a slice of the incredible scenery we encountered on our two day-long hikes.
I am of the firm belief that my artistic style as a sculptor derives primarily from my living and working in these Colorado Rocky Mountains, and that if I lived anywhere else my sculpture would look very different indeed. I am in fact convinced that my Curvilinear Reductionist Sculpture, a style of sculpting I have developed while living here in the Roaring Fork Valley owes its very existence to the presence of these magnificent and most majestic of mountains and their ready availability/proximity to my life.
Until next time, thanks for stopping by.
Uncle Bud’s Hut sits at around 11,000 feet alongside the Continental Divide and is part of the 10th Mountain Division Hut System. Leadville Colorado is the closest town.