Giving Shelter From the Storm on the MBT
By Kathy Bedell, © Leadville Today
If you’ve ever been out enjoying Leadville’s Mineral Belt Trail (MBT) and got caught in some unexpected bad weather – like an afternoon rain storm – you were probably grateful that there was a shelter nearby. Early this week, the MBT installed the fourth, and final, shelter in the southwest quadrant of the trail, between mile marker 10 and 11.
This last structure – Chad’s Shelter – has been named in honor of Chad Smith, son of Dick and Charlene Smith. He would have carried on the fifth generation of the Smith Lumber business, which started in Leadville in 1900. Sadly, Chad Smith passed away in 2013; Smith Lumber closed its doors a little more than a year later, in July 2014 (link to story).
In fact, all four of the MBT buildings’ materials and labor were donated by Smith Lumber, with John Herron from Above Edge Roofing topping off the structures. Their interesting design stems from the ultimate in recycling. Each haven is made from various sized stulls, stacked on top of each other, and pulled together at the corner with a lap joint.
So what are stulls? Stulls are used in sacking lumber for transportation. Over the years, Smith Lumber would set the stulls aside after unloading lumber deliveries, for the express purpose of being made into a MBT shelter.
The first three shelters have been named after mining shafts in the area of where they are situated. The first shelters include the Swamp Angel Shelter, located at the Leadville overlook. The second is called Lime Lode Shelter, located as you head up California Gulch on the north side. The third shelter is the one located in Evans Gulch, named the Cummins and Finn Shelter, after the smelter in that area of the historic mining district.
So where is Chad’s Shelter? Specifically it’s between mile markers 10 and 11, in the southwest quadrant of the 11.6 mile non-motorized loop around Leadville. More informally it’s in the area where the boys scout picnic area and scopes are located. Or, if you’re familiar with the plaques along the way, Chad’s shelter sits right in front of the wildlife habitat plaque that has the picture of the bear on it.
So as the seasons turn and the chance of needed some shelter comes about with the colder weather, now you know there’s one more stull-built structure out on the trail more you. Enjoy and be sure to check out the new one when you pass by.