Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
While living in the mountains has its share of routine work associated with a remote lifestyle we cut out time for enjoyment and fun too. In the summer we will hike to the top of the mountain or just walk down to where we have our swing and sit and give thanks for living in such a beautiful place and gaze out on the mountain range in front of us listening to our springs gurgle from deep within the ground.
In the winter time when we are not shoveling snow we take time to sled down our driveway on our plastic bob sleds or go snow shoeing. We believe we have the best bob sled run in our community. We shoot down our 100 yard driveway, bank off the snow at the edge of the road and then on down the road for another 100 yards. Since it is right here on our property when we tire out we can come inside a nice warm house for a cup of tea or hot chocolate. Sledding has been sporadic this year with the weird weather pattern we have been experiencing. Last year at this time we had already received 158” of snow and this year we only have received 42” thus far. Last year was seasonable temperatures and this year it has been below zero at night and single digit or a few degrees above single digit during the daytime. Clearly global warming has not reached our location yet. Our wood stove has really gotten a workout this winter so far.
Another of our winter pleasures is to strap on our snowshoes and go for a hike. In the winter it is so quiet as we snowshoe through the remote areas and the soft snow. Our community has 115 miles of roads and most of them are not plowed which allows outdoor adventurers miles of area to explore on either cross country skis or snowshoes. We tend to stick to the roads as going cross country or up the mountain is more strenuous. Perhaps for younger adventurers that would be okay but the roads provide us adequate room to get in exercise and explore. Our community also allows snowmobiles on the unplowed roads and many of the roads adjoin National Forest which offers many more miles of hiking trails that can take you on extended adventures. We have never invested in snowmobiles so we stick to our snowshoes. To spice up our snowshoe hikes we will occasionally take a picnic lunch along and find a nice spot to have a picnic. With the exception of this year the temperatures are usually very tolerable and thanks to the low humidity a winter picnic is realistic and comfortable. With our low humidity we do not have the bone penetrating cold like in some places.
The spruce and pine trees are all draped in snow and combined with the quiet it makes for a fun and relaxing experience. We come across animal tracks on our hikes that reveal life and activity which we would not know about if it were not for the snow. It is always good to return to a warm radiating wood stove after a winter outing and enjoy a warm beverage. For safety sake it is good to layer clothes and be sure to have goggles or sun glasses to protect your eyes. We rarely use sun screen as very little skin is exposed to the elements this time of year. While our lifestyle has many necessary responsibilities and tasks to maintain ourselves comfortably we enjoy the time we can set aside just to enjoy life and restore ourselves by sledding or snowshoeing. Some would rather sit by the warm wood stove and read a book and we do that also. Being outdoors however is invigorating and what makes Colorado the winter paradise it is.
For more on Bruce and Carol McElmurray and mountain living (and playing) go to: http://www.brucecarolcabin.blogspot.com