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Old 07-22-2016, 12:21 PM
4 posts, read 3,967 times
Reputation: 11


I plan on living in a cabin year round, for the rest of my days. I will explain my current situation & then I will list some questions I have.

I recently moved to Colorado for school & peace of mind. I served as a EMT & Paramedic for the last 10 years of my life. My training was done in Chicago. I worked in OKC as well. I need a break. I am advancing my career to become an ER RN.

I have the money from doing lots of contract work and an inheritance left to me by my parents. I can afford the life of a mountain man, if you will and attend nursing school, debt free. I am single. 34. No kids. No divorces. Just my 11 month old retriever.

The winters would not be a problem. I worked out of an ambulance in the dead of winter in Chicago. It was cold but I figured if I could handle that, winters here in Colorado shouldn't be bad. The mountain nights are cold but I enjoy cold weather.

Vehicle upkeep is something I take serious and it will not be a problem for handling the roads.

The commute to school would be 45 min on non snow days and double that on snow days. That's nothing compaired to Chicago traffic. If I could drive an ambulance with 130,000 miles on it with bald tires and bad suspension, then the winter roads in San Isabel are a nice treat. Colorado Public Works keeps the roads clear, as I have drove threw Rye many times during the snow.

I've noticed some expensive pre-built homes in the 160,000 price range and up. For school, electricity would be a must but solar powered energy has promising results.

I plan on gardening for healthy living. Once I have more free time, I would like to learn to hunt turkey & raise chickens for eggs. I am trying to get away from the mass meat markets for health concerns.

My concerns would be wildfires. I could try to maintain as much as a burn free zone around the parameter of the cabin, if the county will let me cut down shrubs, bushes around the cabin. This would be done to try and prevent as much damage from occurring as possible.

Mudslides would be another concern. How would one set up measures to try and prevent the most damage from occurring? Sandbags? I've noticed many decks are supported by wooden posts.

What are the major reasons for septic tank breakage in the mountains?

My water usage would be kept to a minimum.

I enjoy the company of others but I don't need to be around people that often. I've seen some areas that are within close proximity to towns like Colorado Springs & Pueblo. I'd also like to help my neighbors, even if they are not that close, with medical emergencies.

Any tips and advice would be appreciated on how to take the right steps to achieving this vision would greatly be appreciated.
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Old 07-22-2016, 12:32 PM
Location: Evergreen, Colorado
650 posts, read 564,091 times
Reputation: 999
Can you be more specific about where you're looking for property?
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:10 PM
1,822 posts, read 1,389,611 times
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Among other matters, I'd be concerned over food. I used to do lots of gardening, but have all but given it up since moving to CO. It's tricky growing food here, and if you're in the mountains, probably more so. There would be a short growing season. Greenhouses help, but you might have to heat them for months on end. Water is often in short supply. Water rights is another can of worms. I guess for meat there'd be deer, rabbit, and maybe bighorn sheep and bear (do people eat those?) Useful streams, rivers, and lakes for fish are lacking compared to other states, but maybe you could do that. I don't know... sounds like days of hunger. And that's if you can even get the land without "breaking the bank". A lot of people in the state want to do that type of thing. I'd personally try that elsewhere, where it is more affordable and you don't have black bears for neighbors.

Last edited by Sunderpig2; 07-22-2016 at 02:06 PM..
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:30 PM
Location: Colorado Springs
3,046 posts, read 2,076,221 times
Reputation: 3536
Well, attending a school to be an RN with a 45 minute drive will really limit your options as to haw far away from it all you can be.

Living in the woods, wildfire is always a concern. All you can do is mitigate to the best of your ability and hope you don't get struck by lightning. Not only do agencies allow it, they recommend it.

Mudslides typically aren't big concerns here unless you are living on a fairly steep slope with poor drainage, poor foundations, in a prior burn zone, are in a flood zone, have expansive soils that don't absorb water, etc.

No info on septic tank breakage. Expansive soils or ground shift may be the biggest issues for these.

Solar electric, somewhat expensive but viable here.

Water....big potential issue here. You can't just use whatever is near your land, minimal as it may be, and it won't be if your gardening, unless it came with rights.

Gardening as a supplement isn't bad. As a means of living, probably difficult to do. Hunting turkey here is a seasonal, licensed activity, so you can't live on them year round, as is all big game as well. You could get a small game/fishing license that allows year round use, but living off rabbit and trout year round doesn't sounds hugely appealing to me, YMMV. As a student with a long commute and assuming a poor internet connection because of remoteness, you may not have time to totally support yourself with home grown food and hunted game. Farmer markets can assist with this, but you may still need to deal with occasional store bought items.

Dryness of Colorado compared to Illinois may be a shock. Implications of that are extensive.

I guess it depends on how "mountain man" you are planning on going and how far off grid you want to be.
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Old 07-22-2016, 03:16 PM
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
4,873 posts, read 9,618,037 times
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The conundrum here is being close to nursing school yet living practically off grid in the mountains. Especially if your school is located in one of the Front Range cities. Do you know where school will be?
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Old 07-22-2016, 11:23 PM
4 posts, read 3,967 times
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School would be in Pueblo.

I was looking at areas around San Isabel.

I used to drive 45 min if not longer when I was going to school in Chicago. Trust me, commuting in big cities sucks. The 45 min drive isn't bad from San Isabel along route 165 to CSU Pueblo.

The dryness isn't too bad. Better than the gunshots in Chicago.
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Old 07-23-2016, 07:59 AM
242 posts, read 285,821 times
Reputation: 531
Your purchasing options may be a bit wider if you have cash. Lenders are a bit squimish about mountain properties at times. We know of some folks right now who are struggling to get a loan because the home they chose to purchase is 500 ft off the county road on a small, private road and the bank wants proof the road is maintained and the home is accessible for fire protection/etc. Possibly not a concern for you with the bank...but later on such things may come into play with insurance costs on the home....if you can get insurance at all.

Most "cabins" won't be "off grid" and will have the electrical/sewer/well hook ups/regulations in place you find in most homes.

Keep in mind that while the roads are clear...your driveway/access to your home will not be...until YOU clear it. This can be a time consuming/expensive effort depending on the year and how far off the plowed road you are located. When it snows in that area...it SNOWS.

Mudslides may be a problem in some areas in certain years....but it is doubtful. Never say never...but there are other concerns that take precedence here, IMO.

Septics fail here mostly...like in other areas...when people fail to properly maintain such a system.

Fire is a definite concern. Things can change QUICKLY. Fire mitigation is always a good thing. Many insurance companies require it. Even so...it's no guarantee and your main concern in such an instance is simply GETTING OUT.

160K isn't "expensive here..... especially if there is land..or services...or the biggie...a water right. There are still reasonably priced properties here/there.... and again...with cash you may have a bargaining chip others don't have... but guaranteed...it isn't a cheap proposition by any means to live in/maintain a home that is remotely located. If it was...everyone would be doing it. The farther out you are from "town"...the more energy/expense will be required on the whole.

hope it works for ya. I'd look at renting first if it were me...and see...via >experience<...if the drive to/from town and the required maintenance needed for such a property are things you want to shoulder long-term.
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Old 07-23-2016, 08:22 AM
825 posts, read 1,604,222 times
Reputation: 1239
To garden or raise livestock you must have water. Please review any of the many threads concerning water rights and well permits in this forum.
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Old 07-23-2016, 02:56 PM
3,794 posts, read 3,984,910 times
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If you start school this fall, focus on getting ready for that and make finding a cabin a stage 1 casual hobby for 6-9 months then hit it hard next spring /summer. If you don't start school til sometime in 2017, hit finding a cabin hard now and try to get the place bought and adjusted to your needs / tastes before winter. Unless you are under a lease currently. If so, wait til you are 3-4 months from the end of it, unless that obligation doesn't matter much to you.

Either way, break the ice and go see a few places near Rye now, even just for the practice of identifying and asking questions and evaluating answers. Some risks to jumping on a place before you've seen a dozen or couple dozen. I guess you could get it right immediately but for a lot of people being vigorous with the search and patient about locking in is prudent.

If you are planning on being an ER RN and living near Rye, you are going to do that commute to Pueblo or Walsenburg long term. You sound fine with it, but adding 5-10 miles to it would be a time cost worth double-checking not only for yourself but how it may affect future sale prospects.

Given what you said about your financial and household situation, you might at some point consider renting or owning a small place in your work city. Line up your work days and stay in town between some of them. Or find a friend in town that would give you that occasional option.

Last edited by NW Crow; 07-23-2016 at 03:24 PM..
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Old 07-24-2016, 08:17 AM
9,830 posts, read 19,527,350 times
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Sounds to me that you are mistaking the Rockies in Colorado for a temperate mountain zone like something north of Atlanta Georgia. It is not.

Once you get into the "mountains" where there are trees, the growing season for produce is so short it's really not worth your time. What you might be able to produce will be so small and animals will have their way with it that it would be nothing more than a hobby garden and would not produce food. I know this because I had relatives in Colorado that gardened above 8000 feet for decades.

Same with turkeys, chickens, etc. This is not the place to be doing stuff like that.

Also in Colorado you don't own any of the water unless you own a water right. I believe Hickenpooper has now passed the rain barrel law, that helps. But any rural property in Colorado you will need to sort out a reliable water source. You will need to budget at a minimum tens of thousands of dollars to do this.

Again you have mistaken Colorado for a temperate zone in regards to weather, "the winters here in Colorado shouldn't be that bad". Well, they are. If you live "in the mountains", you will have nights below freezing 9-10 months of year. That is going to require a significant amount of heating for a good part of the year.
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