Homesteading at High Altitude

Reader Contribution by Bruce Mcelmurray
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Homesteading at high altitude can be a challenge. It requires stamina, endurance and toughness.  To be happy and successful with it you also need patience, perseverance and preparation.   The below photograph is one taken yesterday Saturday, April 30) where I was splitting firewood.  It was 52 degrees outside and the weather was beautiful – just the perfect kind of day to be doing this activity.  As you can see I prefer to use a hand maul as it has less moving parts than a mechanical splitter.  If it breaks it is much easier to replace than the more expensive gas operated models.  My current system is very green by today’s standards.

Then there is what can happen at high elevation one day later.  The following photo reveals just how fast things can change at 9,750 feet.  I’m standing in the exact spot as the day previously but this time instead of holding a splitting maul I’m holding a snow shovel.

If you are prone to procrastinate then maybe high altitude living might not suit you.  Fortunately I pay close attention to the weather forecast,  If not, I would have my garden planted and would have lost a good portion of same.  Our winters in the mountains are long, our summers short, and my personal favorites are spring and fall.  We use our wood stove 7 months out of the year.  Growing season is short, and I wouldn’t trade living here for any other place. 

The living is harsh, but the benefits are superior.  Our views will take your breath away, the sky is so blue you need sunglasses to look up, our air is clean and fresh, our water pure and tasty, and our frequent visits from wild animals is a special experience.  The quiet is deafening and requires some getting used to if you have lived in the City.  

So, could you live in the mountains or at a high elevation?   If not please follow our blog to experience a homestead in the high country vicariously or visit our personal blog site at