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Southwest Life Health And the West is History Community Travel

Photo: Olga Schaaf Little Loading Pack Train – 1934

Here, Olga Little (standing on truck bed) directs the loading of supplies onto her burros at the base of La Plata Canyon. Little was a remarkable woman in what was traditionally a man’s profession. For 40 years, she operated pack trains into and out of the La Plata Mountain mining district. Her exploits are legendary. Starting as a teen, the 5-foot-4-inch woman began running mule pack trains into the La Platas, delivering supplies to the mines and returning with 80- to 125-pound sacks of ore. She was known for being particularly gentle with her burros, at times guiding up to 30 animals in one train. In recognition of her significant contributions to mining and life in the La Plata Range, a peak was named in her honor. Located just east of Kennebec Pass, Olga Little Mountain reaches to 11,426 feet in elevation. Little died in Durango at the age of 85 in 1970.<br><br>Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum.org