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Old 01-18-2010, 09:37 AM
 
2 posts, read 5,046 times
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I was thinking of moving to Grand Junction if I was offered a job (near the airport) I'm from Milwaukee and I do love the outdoors lifestyle and I find myself traveling to Utah alot. Is there a large community of trail
runners/backpackers/canyoneers in GJ?

Any common use trails to run on during the work week w/o driving too far away all the time? I guess the only thing I'm wondering is if I will be happy living in a small town, with less dense forested area. I do need green in my life.

Any historical neighboorhoods that are low crime where renting is possible?

Organic/all natural food stores? I did read on another thread about farmers markets.

Recommended yoga studios?

The main reason to move is to become part of an outdoors community, more outdoors options, and not having to jump on a plane with all my gear for a week from Milwaukee. The move is not so much because I dislike my job or where I live now. Denver and Salt Lake would be more ideal for me but I have a chance of a job opportunity in GJ but not sure it if would offer me what I need. I've been through GJ once and I didnt' feel a great connection at the time and mainly because is small and the brown landscape but if I can find the right people to make connections with, all that might not matter at much.

Thanks for any info!
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Bend, OR
3,296 posts, read 8,197,447 times
Reputation: 3316
Quote:
Originally Posted by trails74 View Post
I was thinking of moving to Grand Junction if I was offered a job (near the airport) I'm from Milwaukee and I do love the outdoors lifestyle and I find myself traveling to Utah alot. Is there a large community of trail
runners/backpackers/canyoneers in GJ?

Any common use trails to run on during the work week w/o driving too far away all the time? I guess the only thing I'm wondering is if I will be happy living in a small town, with less dense forested area. I do need green in my life.

Any historical neighboorhoods that are low crime where renting is possible?

Organic/all natural food stores? I did read on another thread about farmers markets.

Recommended yoga studios?

The main reason to move is to become part of an outdoors community, more outdoors options, and not having to jump on a plane with all my gear for a week from Milwaukee. The move is not so much because I dislike my job or where I live now. Denver and Salt Lake would be more ideal for me but I have a chance of a job opportunity in GJ but not sure it if would offer me what I need. I've been through GJ once and I didnt' feel a great connection at the time and mainly because is small and the brown landscape but if I can find the right people to make connections with, all that might not matter at much.

Thanks for any info!
I lived in GJ with my husband for almost 7 years and we never found exactly what we were looking for. We are very outdoorsy as well, and while the location is nice for access to the canyons of Utah and the mountains of Colorado, the outdoor community seemed to be lacking in GJ. Of course, I also believe this has to do with how "active" you are in the community itself. We didn't join any clubs, or hang out at the outdoor shop to meet people. We relied on meeting people through work for the most part, which may have been our problem. So, I'm not sure whether there is a big community of folks that you are looking for, but I didn't find it during the time I lived there.

There is a network of trails in town near CO National Monument (sorry, can't remember the name right now) that are managed by the BLM with multiple uses including hiking, trail running, mountain biking and some jeeping. You can also access tons of trails near Fruita, which is about 20-30 minutes from town. There is some excellent mountain biking in that area. As far as the small town itself, you will probably either love it or hate it. GJ has experienced quite a bit of growth in the last 10 years, so some bigger city problems, such as traffic jams, crime, etc. are making there way to this once sleepy town. You can't do much about the brown in the area. GJ is a desert, so if want green you will have to head up to the mountains. Of course, there are plenty of irrigated fields, so maybe it will seem greener than you expect.

Downtown GJ proper is probably the only place where you will find some historic neighborhoods. Crime is a bit of an issue there, but probably not like the crime you would experience in a larger city. I remember when I was living in GJ, there was a series of arson crimes to the older neighborhoods. You may also have more homeless to deal with, but probably not as bad as a larger city. Not sure about the affordability these days, as GJ rental prices have gone up since I first moved there due to a boom in the oil & gas industry (which also brings another host of problems, IMO). You will struggle to find any local organic food stores. There used to be a great little one downtown called the Sundrop, but when Vitamin Cottage moved in, they went under. That's probably your best best for organic, somewhat local produce, except during the summer with farmers markets.

There are several yoga studios downtown, but I remember them being expensive compared to what I used to pay for yoga. I can't recommend one over another though.

I understand your wanting to find a good community that you can connect with. In the 7 years I spent in GJ, I never found that connection. That's the reason we decided to leave. Luckily, for us, we have found a great community with that connection and we knew we made the right move. I can't say that GJ won't offer you what you're looking for, as each circumstance is different to the observer. I can only offer you my experience. The western slope of CO certainly has the outdoor opportunities that you seek. I just don't know if it has the community aspect. Hopefully others will chime in as well! Good luck in whatever you decide.
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
4,888 posts, read 8,901,170 times
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Yes there's a large community of trail runners and backpackers here. The closest trails are the Mt. Garfield and Monument areas, both are right next to GJ, not a far drive. However, these are desert trails, there's minimal to no vegetation or trees in these areas. For mountain hiking, you'll have to drive about an hour to the Grand Mesa. There's no greenery around here, so honestly you might tire of living around all this brown.

There's lots of outdoors activities, but most of them require a 1 - 3 hours drive. Having lived in other outdoor meccas, I find Grand Junction to be inconvenient in this regard. For example, it's a two hour drive to Blue Mesa for fishing and boating. It's a 3 hour drive to the Frying Pan spillway for fly fishing. The Grand Mesa is nearby and is very beautiful, but here's the problem: mosquitos. During the months you'd like to be out hiking, camping, and fishing, the mosquitos are out in force ( one of the few places in the southwest with a mosquito problem.) A lot of people around here actually avoid going up there for this reason.

The historical neighborhoods are the Gunnison and Main Street areas. Nice homes, old tree lined streets. Problem is a lot of younger people rent down there because the college is close by and the homeless people live down in that area, so there's a little bit of crime.

I have not seen a single organic/natural foodstore here. This is a cowboy/petroleum town. There's lots of hunters and red meat eaters around here.

You may find it takes a long time to establish a social network here in Junction. The reason is simple. Most of the people are, or come from, the local farming community and have extensive family ties in the area. This is a very family oriented town. Although people are pleasant and polite, they are not open to letting outsiders immediately into their social networks. The consensus is that it takes an outsider two or three years to make there way in.

Given your post, I don't think you'd be happy here.
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Old 01-18-2010, 04:20 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,754 posts, read 16,450,212 times
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The outdoor activities that you crave are readily available all over the area. There are some excellent, though technically challenging mountain biking trails in the Tabagauche hiking-biking area along Monument road about 2 miles from downtown GJ. I'm a walker/hiker myself so I take a short hike in the Tabagauche trail system just about every day after work. If you plan to go jogging during your lunch break, you can jog along the canal just south of the airport. I also work near the airport, and I go walking along the canal during my luch break, and I often encounter joggers doing their thing. The crossroads fitness center is also less than a mile from the airport. They offer reduced membership to employees of businesses nearby.

There is an adequate ( but not great ) natural food store called The Vitamin Cottage. Don't let the name throw you. They do have an adequate selection of organic produce, though it does not measure up to a similar store in California or Boulder. You can find some great organic and non-orgaic FRESH produce at the downtown farmers market during the summer season from mid June thru mid September. If you enjoy local wines, we have that in great measure.

With regard to the Grand Mesa. Yeah, the mosquitos can be a nuisnace, but the mosquitos have never stopped me from hiking/camping there. It's just an hour from downtown Grand Junction and the temperatures are 20 to 25 degrees cooler up there. It affords an easy escape from the summer heat of the Grand Valley. There are usually a handful of days in the 100s, with some summers having many more than that.

PS: If you like UTAH scenery and countryside, you'll love the Grand Junction area, because the countryside here is more like UTAH than the typical Colorado mountain scenery. Personally, I love the red rock canyon country around here.
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