Trip report: San Juan River fishing, Mary Highland Lakes llama Trek, Telluride
Blues and Blues Festival.
This page provides a report of a trip we took that included fishing on the San Juan
River below Navajo Dam, a llama trek to Highland Mary Lakes
in the Weminuche Wilderness, and the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival in September
On Friday, we drove from Amarillo to Silverton to pick up the panniers for
our llamas so we could pack for the trek. We returned to Purgatory Ski Area and
stayed there at about 8,700 feet elevation to begin acclimating to the altitude
before trekking to Highland Mary Lakes at 12,000 feet.
The next day we met our fishing guide at
and drove to the San Juan River below Navajo Dam in New Mexico. This spot has world
class trout fishing. We had a great day with lots of fish and fun. We returned
to Purgatory again and spent Saturday night there.
On Sunday, we met the llama outfitter at the lower trailhead for Highland Mary Lakes,
and loaded the llamas, and hiked up to Highland Mary Lakes. If you are taking llamas,
please note that two areas of the trail are not suitable for llamas. At one point,
the trail passes through a narrow slot in steep rock. It is easy to bypass this
problem with a small detour. Near the top, the trail passes over a talus field
which is also not suitable for llamas. See the sidebar for
maps and other information that show the locations of these two spots.
We camped near the largest of Highland Mary Lakes for two nights. On Monday, I
walked up to Verde Lake and enjoyed the beautiful view from there.
At night, the was no light pollution in this remote area. The moon did not come
up until the early morning hours. The sky was cloudless. Consequently at 12,000
feet elevation, the stars were astonishing.
Tuesday afternoon we packed up, headed down to the trailhead, and camped there to
avoid a 4:00 AM start on Wednesday to make it down to meet the llama outfitters
and get to the airport on time for Taylor's return flight.
On Wednesday morning we met the llama outfitter and returned the animals and gear.
I have been on about 8 or 10 llama trips. On all my other trips the llamas were
we behaved and easy to manage. The llamas on this trip were not. They balked and
charged in front of us. One knocked Taylor down and another spit on Donna. The tack
they supplied had problems. I will
not use this outfitter again. If you want additional details please feel free to
contact me here.
After dropping Taylor at the airport, we went to X-Rock just north of Durango to
rock climb. We explored the area. There were only a few routes at our level, and
these were all occupied by a group from Fort Lewis College. We decided not to climb
there that day.
Telluride Blues and Brews Festival
On Thursday, we drove to Telluride for Blues and Brews Festival. We met up with
and more of friends for a 4-day weekend of great music and beer. Connie and I now
go almost every year.