For our second hut trip of the year, we hiked to Jackal Hut - a hut perched high in the Gore Range between Leadville and Vail at 11,600ft. The trailhead starts down in the historic Camp Hale (training grounds of the 10th Mountain Division) and climbs steeply up 2,600 ft in about 3 miles. Since this year's snow has been...well...sucky, we ditched the skis and opted to just bring snowshoes...which turned out to be almost unnecessary. We hiked 1000 feet up (in about 1.5 miles) before we even encountered snow on the trail, and only a few of us donned the snowshoes within a quarter mile of the hut. The snow pack was melting out fast at the hut with less than a foot of snow in some spots (and plenty of dry grass poking through). But with temps near 70 degrees, who's complaining! And, in one of the most unique hut trip experiences, we actually managed to have a mid-trip beer run thanks to the strong hiking of Dave and Shaun!
Shaun loads up the car at the Leadville Super 8 Jay braves the treacherous snow at the trailhead. ....okay, so maybe the snow wasn't that treacherous. Rurik stops for a snack 1.5 miles up the trail we finally start to encounter a little snow Stopping for a snack Still ascending Within a quarter mile of the hut Arriving at Jackal hut Witt relaxes with the Sawatch range in the backdrop Brian, Witt, Carlos, and Ryan enjoy the sun on the deck It was probably close to 70 degrees outside Kevin performs the "I'm grabbing a beer from the snow in flipflops" dance Rurik, Kathy, Bridget, Witt, Carlos, and Ryan Noah, Kevin, Shaun, Darrin, and John A fine view from the deck of numerous 14ers Can you spot Massive, Elbert, and La Plata in this pic? Once the winds picked up, we retreated inside Noah updates the score log The score log: a hut tradition for 1 year! An interesting view of Climax Mine (and Fremont pass) from the hut Not a bad view from the bedroom Brian discovers an acoustic guitar up at the hut Snowshoes...which served very little purpose on the climb up Jackal The Sacrificial Lightning Mast Shaun and Dave enjoy a fajita dinner Sunset over Mt. of the Holy Cross Kevin After dinner entertainment After dinner entertainment Our source for drinking water Sunset over the Sawatch Range Jackal at night Jackal at dawn A view of the nearby ridge east of Jackal Sunrise on Mt. of the Holy Cross Alpenglow on La Plata Peak (left), Mt. Elbert (center), and Mt. Massive (right) From Jackal, looking east A gray jay on the deck A gray jay on the deck BACON! Heading out for a day hike to Pearl and Elk Peak Heading out for a day hike to Pearl and Elk Peak Witt Heading towards Pearl Peak Heading towards Pearl Peak Fowler-Hilliard Hut in the distance to the north Rurik and Kathy Jay Jay, Bridget, Kathy, Rurik, and Witt on top of Pearl Peak Brian....taking the photo of the group on Pearl Peak Rurik, Kathy, Witt, Bridget, and Jay Witt Brian and Witt The Sawatch Range, from Mt. of the Holy Cross down to Mt. Princeton Post-holing with snowshoes The Sawatch Range The Mosquito Range Jackal Hut Brian....doing what he's always doing.... Approaching the hut after our day hike Shaun and Dave relaxing Kevin Witt celebrates the bounty of "the beer run" Brian enjoys a beer and a pancake and bacon sandwich for lunch Our beer cooler Shaun, Dave, and Ryan enjoy the fruits of the beer run Dave and Bridget Dave and Bridget Carissa and Jay Jackal Hut Kathy and Rurik Kevin The BEST April Fools joke ever Shaun and Jay hiked down the 2600 vertical feet to the car, drove to Leadville, purchased a LOT of beer, hiked it back up, then left this box with rocks in it on the picnic table Enjoying the sun Witt...really not pulling it off Dinner Bridget and Dave relaxing Sunset The kitchen of Jackal The main living room Jay Morning fog The Jackal outhouse Carissa and Kathy The entire hut crew Clockwise from left: Jay, Shaun, Kevin, Witt, Brian, Ryan, Ling, Noah, Carissa, Rurik, Kathy, Darrin, Carlos, Bridget, Dave, John The living room The dining room The kitchen The bedroom The bedroom Departing Jackal (in light snow) Departing Jackal Snowshoes seem less useful here... Noah...looking svelte Carissa Bridget Camp Hale Our trailhead