Uncle Bud’s Hut Trip
Part 2, Footloose in the Land of Giants
Rogue Carver on the Loose in America
As mentioned in my last post the weather was to play an epic role throughout both days of our Uncle Bud’s Hut day hikes, but whichever scenario was to play out, each day sprang to life with dazzling sunshine, so strong and pure it served to fill the air with the promise and excitement of an unfolding adventure.
Having previously decided to head out and bushwhack our way in whichever direction seemed to offer the most interest we set out with little clear idea of just where our day hike would lead us, but as we gazed around at the phenomenal mountains encircling us we had little doubt that we would scramble our way to the top of something, but as the above picture was taken we hadn’t the slightest clue as to which particular peak that might be.
The instant we stepped outside the hut’s perimeter clearing we found ourselves embraced by a deep, but far from dark, enchanted forest. Pristine streams fed crystal clear lakes; a paradise so calm and quiet a leaping fish could dash the silence with a single flick of his tail.
Not a speck of litter did we see, nor another human being bar a party on horseback as they lazily ambled by.
Eventually the trail, a section of the famous Continental Divide network of long distant footpaths, rose up and out of the forest. With barely a second thought we opted to veer off and make our own way across and up a steep, incredibly rocky, rough hewn incline that could not have contrasted more radically to the pastoral woodsy scene we had left behind.
What we discovered were rocks, minerals, lichen, boulders and jagged shards, sandstone and granite in textures, shapes and colors, of all shades and dimensions. In short, we found ourselves in stone heaven.
Such was the diversity of mineral laden rocks strewn here there and everywhere that even though scaling the peak was our ultimate aim it was always with reluctance that the decision was reached to pick up our packs and continue picking our way up the steep and rocky incline.
To our left a vast panorama worthy of an epic American Western. On the right: sudden and certain death – we were literally hiking along the very ridge-line that had so vividly captured my attention as I awoke from my bunk back at Uncle Ben’s Hut just a few hours previously. Ahead of us loomed the 12,893 ft peak of Mt. Galena.
The photos above reveal the shocking effect of a massive explosion that literally blew the mountain apart. As a result the landscape is littered with reminders that such a relatively recent cataclysmic event occurred a mere blink-of-an-eye-ago in geological time. So very recently in fact that erosion has yet to play a significant factor in the shaping of them.
By the time we took our final few steps to the Mt Galena’s rock strewn peak the alarmingly thin air was beginning to take its toll, at least on me, and so the moment Joseph located the official marker (somewhere in the moonscape above) I immediately pounced on the chance to reward myself with a little shuteye in the sun. It felt great, believe me!
Rested, relaxed and revived it was time to poke around a little and take it all in.
I always find it an incredibly exhilarating feeling to be atop of a mountain, especially one that deposits you at almost 13,000 ft. A mountain that you yourself have propelled yourself up via your own leg power, and its even more special when the only other human being for miles around – in the whole world it seems, is your very own son.
How I love nature … if I could hug it I would !
Thanks for stopping by. I hope see you next time when we’ll take a more leisurely stroll along an old wagon road to the top of the world… or Hagerman Pass at least.
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.