Water and Snow

It’s been a bunker down and get cozy in the cabin kind of week. Temps have been in the low 20’s every night and only reaching mid 40s during the day. Add the wind chill factor and the feel-like temps are even lower. But at least it’s snowed every day and for two South Carolinians who can probably count on one hand how many times we’ve previously seen snowfall, that makes this bone chilling cold a little more bearable. I can’t believe it’s the end of April here! Back in Charleston, summer comes early and here in Colorado, winter stays late.

I should choose my words more accurately. This pretty white snow makes the cold more enjoyable. It’s the fact that we’re sheltered in a small cabin with a wood burning stove that makes it bearable. We were actually suppose to be tent camping this week, but when we realized just how frigid the temps were dropping we jumped online in desperate hopes that we could find a last minute cabin we could afford instead. We lucked out.

Here’s a shout out and big thanks to Kim from AirBnB who really helped us out short notice by letting us stay in her rustic off-grid cabin at a great rate! I highly recommend using the AirBnB or HomeAway websites next time you’re looking to rent a place for a little (or big) getaway. Both sites and their mobile apps are super easy to use and have a lot of great features for planning your next trip.

The only downfall to this particular cabin is the lack of access to water. At Kevin’s place, back in Del Norte, we have a fresh mountain creek that runs right next to the cabin. Takes me less than one minute to walk to the creek, fill up of a bucket or two, and walk back to the cabin. We heat up the creek water to use for washing and rinsing dishes, taking showers, and washing laundry. But here, there is no convenient creek to fetch water and the rain catch well at the top of the property is currently off so we have to bring in all of our water. Not just clean drinking water, but enough for all of our needs. And that’s quite a chore! Going back to Kevin’s cabin will seem even more comfortable to us now.

It’s funny how your perspective and appreciation for the simplest of things changes the more you go without. I will never again take running water for granted. And during this off-the-grid experience thus far, I have often thought of the millions of people around the world who don’t have easy access to clean water; many of which who must walk miles, sometimes daily, to obtain water for their family. At least here, I can drive five miles to a creek like we did yesterday to fill up our solar showers or to the local grocery in Fairplay, Colorado to buy a few gallons of drinking water. And tonight, since it’s been snowing all day and our solar bags are half frozen, we are driving a few miles into town to visit the local rec center where we will gladly pay $4.50 each to take a long hot shower. By long, I mean the typical five minutes or so. Our showers of late have been a quick sixty seconds or less.

And luckily we thought to hit up a pretty cool little laundromat when we visited the nearby ski towns of Breckenridge and Frisco earlier this week. I actually don’t mind hand washing and hang drying our clothes. It’s kind of therapeutic as I find many household chores to be, but it’s certainly not an option when it’s freezing cold and snowing outside all day every day.

Neil and I really digged Frisco. Seemed like a hip little mountain town full of outdoor enthusiasts. Breckenridge was cool, too but felt too a little too touristy for our taste. They are both high in the mountains, that’s for sure. Close to 10,000 feet elevation and the perfect area for a family ski-trip if you’re into winter sports. And if you do visit, you have to stop into the Daylight Donuts in Breckenridge on Main Street where we had the best toasted apple fritter ever. That and some coffee helped take the chill off as we strolled through town checking the clearance racks. Neil really needs a better pair of weather resistant hiking paints. We didn’t find any good deals, but luckily we’ll pass by an REI Outlet on our way back to Del Norte this weekend. Otherwise, we plan to hit up some local thrift stores.

We’ve pinched pennies many times before in our years together, but we’ve never pinched them quite this tightly. Once again, this experience is teaching us new skills and helping us redefine our priorities and perspectives on how we spend our resources whether it’s our limited supply of water or our limited supply of dollars. And I think, or sincerely hope, we will be the wiser for it. In fact, I wish more people could have this experience, because in the end it’s our learning to treat all people and all resources with respect and appreciation that will yield the greatest benefit for everyone and our planet.

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