Different Up Here
some it's that first view of the mountains that grow larger and larger
in the windshield, or play peak-a-boo in the airplane window. The views
are indeed breathtaking, and when you reach the summit, breathing
itself can be a challenge. Mountains provide a feeling of isolation.
People who pursue snow sports in the mountains often feel they are in
some sort of secret place standing in the middle of a white wonderland
with few other people visible. It's drier, stormier and sunnier, but
the mountain environment is normally a land of extremes, including
extreme differences from one mountain location to another...oh, and
mountains have some of the most spectacular scenery in North America.
But some features of high country living give reason for a little
precaution for maximum enjoyment. As you travel from sea level and
elevation increases, the air gets thinner and there's less oxygen.
Humidity levels decrease, the air gets colder and the sun's ultraviolet
rays are more penetrating.
example, in Colorado, the highest elevation is a lofty 14,433 feet, and
no point in the state is below 4,000 feet. For those unaccustomed to
altitude, some preparation is a must. Visitors are often out of breath
and their breathing is faster and deeper. Some people develop more
uncomfortable flu-like symptoms of headache, upset stomach, poor
appetite, problems sleeping and feeling tired. A bloody nose is a
common for people who are sensitive to dry air.
your adjustment to the higher altitudes of The West easier, stay at
5,000 feet for a day to two before traveling higher; get a little extra
rest and less physical activity in the first few days; drink more water
and do not consume alcoholic beverages, caffeine or salty foods. Salt
causes your body to retain fluid which will increase the effects of
altitude sickness. Eat low-fat meals and enjoy higher carbohydrate
foods. Most of all, listen to your body! Take it easy, enjoy, and don't
push yourself. Should your condition be extreme, seek medical
sunscreen to prevent sunburn and don't forget your shades! You may need
to protect your lips, skin and the inside of your nose from the dry
air. Don't drink the water in mountain streams and do carry plenty of
water along, you may need a gallon or more per day. Mountain weather
changes rapidly. Dress in layers, avoid all-cotton clothes which can
become very cold when wet, and take rain gear even on a sunny day.
Always travel in the backcountry with a companion and tell others where
you are going and when to expect your return. Don't expect cell phones
to work everywhere in the mountains, but take one, anyway.
of this may sound scary, some people acclimate quite easily. If you
choose to live up here, you could actually live longer! A Harvard study
in 2006 showed that the top
seven counties for life expectancy are along the Continental Divide in
Colorado, all well above 6,000 feet. Is it the skiing? Lifestyle? the
altitude gets your heart more exercize? The relaxed, low-stress life?
Sure! Other mountain
counties in Utah, Idaho and some additional high, but not mountainous,
counties in Colorado are included among the long-life Top 40. There are
many factors at work here, but at an average expectancy of 81.3 years
in these areas compared to a US national average of 75.5 years, I'd
consider upping my altitude.
the mountains often means living a more rural lifestyle. Here are some
cautionary pointers to consider before committing to a move to the
try to make the Mountains like the place you just left. Most mountain
residents like the Mountains just the way they are. They don’t all want
paved roads, curb-and-gutter, local tax-supported “amenities,” oversize
resorts, fancy golf courses, strip malls, or big-box stores. If you
move to an isolated cabin, don't expect the fire department, sheriff or
the snow plow to reach you as quickly as you'd hope. You may need to be
to like brown. People who visit the Mountains in the height of summer
or the ski season tend to think that the mountains are either green or
white. The truth is that the Mountain landscape is brown most of the
time. The longest growing season is six months, but not every year, and
most are much shorter. In some areas, even the trees are brown from
to understand water rights. US history includes homicides committed
over water disputes. In rural areas, water rights are deadly serious
business. The old ranchers’ saying that, “You can mess with my wife,
but don’t mess with my water” is not a just a trite joke. As population
growth continues to stretch water resources, expect the fight over
water to become more heated. Don't move to a piece of land without
knowing the water source.
expect to be greeted with open arms by the natives. Thousands of people
are moving to the Mountains. They are causing the real estate market to
inflate and are demanding more and more governmental services. That
will translate into higher taxes. Your very presence is reducing the
amount of open space and agricultural land, and in some cases, hurting
the very environment you came to enjoy.
expect to make a good living in the local economy unless you happen to
be in one of the limited professions in high demand in the Mountains.
You will also find that, most day-to-day living expenses in the
Mountains will cost more than the area you left. Because of the
Mountains' relative isolation from manufacturing and distribution
sources, the costs of those goods are likely to rise faster than other
better-located areas as fuel costs increase.
Understanding and living with these considerations will make you a
welcome member of the community. Some people embrace these limitations.
This list was reportedly provided to newcomers in rural Larimer County,