The Annual Trip to Telluride, v.2011

Aahh, Telluride. What a wonderful place. This year’s visit was another great one. The weather was maybe a bit cool but sunny every day. We really love it this time of year, not too busy and most of the restaurants and shops are still open.

We made our regular arrangements at The Mountain Lodge in Mountain Village rather than the town of Telluride. I love the Lodge for it’s location on the mountain and, if you get on the right side of the complex, it’s bordered by a small but loud stream. This year, we were on the third level which provided a wonderful view across the San Miguel valley and the always stunning mountain range. The Mountain Lodge, or Mountain Village in general, is also great because you can use the gondola as your transportation rather than your car. The gondola runs not quite 24 hours a day so, unless you’re closing down one of the bars, it’s very convenient. Finally, they allow dogs and their staff really takes care of us.

This year’s visit was a little busier than some previous years, probably due to the nice weather. We fished several days with mixed results. Our very first year fishing the San Miguel, which was only about four or five years ago, has been the best. As with most of the state, the water was still a little higher than normal but clear. The river was a tiny bit more crowded than in previous years but we were still able to find several stretches that we had to ourselves. The fish were more picky than usual so the fishing was a little bit more challenging than either of us would like. We fished mostly with droppers off of big, flashy, high-floating flies and that’s always fun. And the icing on the cake is always the scenery we’re in the middle of while casting our flies.

Also because of the late spring, the colors were a little late in kicking off. By the end of our week, the aspen were just about to peak. We made our traditional drive on Last Dollar Road which provides some great tree viewing and a taste of off-roading without banging us around too much. We had planned on making another off-road adventure but we ran out of time (read: opted to be lazy).

This year we added a short hike off the top of the Telluride ski area. It was a beautiful hike and for most of the hike, we were the only ones on the trail. We ran into a couple of mountain bikers who stopped to thank us for our presence and especially the anti-bear bell on our dog Jette. I guess the bears had been active on the mountain.

Also as usual, we enjoyed several restaurants for both lunch and dinner. One of our favorites is the Telluride Bistro. It’s a tiny Italian place with maybe 10 tables. They make one of my favorite dishes, mushroom ravioli very well. We also had some great ‘artisan’ pizza at La Piazza Del Villagio in Mountain Village. Good thin crust, fresh ingredients and creative menu options and another place where we were able to leash Jette up next to our table. I tell you, I have never been to a more dog-friendly place, anywhere.

Every year it gets harder to leave Telluride and this year was not an exception. For most of our vacations, I’m ready to head home and fall back into my routine. I had no desire to return to that routine this year. Although I’m not certain we’ll ever be year-round residents to Telluride, we’ll certainly be regular visitors to our little version of heaven.

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