Living at nine thousand feet above sea level presents challenges that are much different than you might think. First of all is the weather. Even though the TV stations broadcast the latest forecasts, they rarely include the high country. Today is a glorious day with brilliant sunshine and frigid temperatures, but the intense sun is working hard to warm things up. Did I forget to tell you that already there is foot of snow on the ground? As I sit here, I can see the wind blowing freshly fallen snow off the mountain peaks into the backlit blue sky. Down here in the valley chimneys are pouring wood smoke straight up into the dazzling wild blue yonder. The crystals in the snow are glistening in the bright sunlight creating a winter wonder. Having lived by the ocean for most of my life and loved the beauty of the Maine coast, I can see the same sense of wonder and beauty in the mountains of Colorado.
Another challenge in the high country is breathing. The air is definitely thinner and adjusting to the new altitude takes several days. Simple things like climbing stairs can or hiking can quickly cause fatigue. Once acclimated these symptoms disappear and life returns to normal. I’ll give this a test tomorrow by venturing out skiing for the first time this year. I might not last long, but I know it will be fun.
The final challenge I have encountered in the high country is cooking. I never realized how long it takes to boil water. Last night I made a delightful shrimp/artichoke casserole. It’s a good thing I started early or dinner would have been late. Modifying recipes to account for increased cooking time is a must. If the recipe says it will take forty minutes, plan on sixty.
As you can see, life here is an adjustment and learning all the tricks can be….well, tricky! Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how the skiing is in my next post.