San Juan Brook Heaven

Mid-week, we started a mission to travel from Missionary Ridge in Durango to Pine River Trail near Vallecito. We started after work and made our way to our first lake, City Reservoir.

Our first night, we hiked well into the dark – set up the tent and fell asleep. In the morning, I ventured out to the first lake of our mission to find an abundance of Brook Trout.

After we left our first lake, we summited the pass and entered an area with creeks and ponds full, absolutely full, of trout.

We traversed the side of a cliff until we reached a rocky descent. After we headed up a pass and slept along a creek surrounded by mountain tops including a remote fourteener.

We slept without the rain cover on the tent, and in the morning we woke to our dog Shasta sitting peacefully watching a herd of Elk descend along the mountains.

After descending into the valley, we made our way down to a lake with crystal blue waters. The crystal blue waters revealed the deep dark depth of parts of the lake while being transparent enough to reveal large blocks of granite, giving off a different universe feel. I caught a cutthroat in this lake. We camped overnight.

After that lake, the trail lead down a windy and not necessarily straight forward descent. We crossed several rivers and made an ascent over a rock well kept pass unto moon lake.

We made our way up to a well-designated path that lead out to Moon Lake, where yet again it was filled to the brim with Brook Trout. When you caught a brook, all the other brook trouts would swarm around.

Last day, we made our way to Emerald Lake then out the Pine River Trail. Shasta slept happy and content for days.

*** All photos are film. Color film is developed from disposable cameras, the black and white is from a 35mm camera. I didn’t plan advance ahead (buy film online) and our Walmart didn’t have any film only disposable cameras.

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