Moving to the country four years ago meant exchanging the comforts of city life for the beauty of mountain living. What we gave up in convenience we gained in peace, tranquility and incredible access to the Great Outdoors.  There’s a saying “If you’re lucky enough to live in the mountains, you are lucky enough”. We couldn’t agree more.

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It can be really difficult to explain where we live.  I guess it depends on my mood and assumed geographical knowledge of the individual that’s asking but when asked where we live, there is no easy answer.  I always tell out-of-staters we live near Silverthorne, half the time they don’t even know where that is.  I tell people in Summit County that we live near Heeney, people in Kremmling that we live on Spring Creek, people in Steamboat that we live by Green Mountain Reservoir and people in Denver that we live 30 minutes North of Silverthorne which is the most accurate answer I can give and yet they’re never satisfied like I’m holding out some secret town that I live in.  According to the assessor’s office we live in Kremmling, according to the post office we live in Silverthorne but technically we live in neither.  To make matters worse, our address says Silverthorne (a Summit County town) but we live in Grand County.  We’re less than a mile from the Summit County line making us the red-headed step child of both counties, no one will accept us as their own, which is fine with us because we’ve never been the type to fit in.

While all my responses are correct in one way or another, the most accurate is that we live in a tiny neighborhood called Blue Valley Acres, 30 minutes North of Silverthorne and 15 minutes South of Kremmling.  Ours and roughly 100 other homes sit off of Hwy 9 among nothing else but expansive ranches and National Forest.  If you’ve ever made the drive to Steamboat Springs, you’ve likely glanced at our neighborhood as you flew down the highway wondering “who in the world would live out here?”.  And for that, I used to be a bit hesitant to tell people where we live.  That was until I realized that moving to the country, where nature reigns and human development is minimal, that this may very well be the best thing that ever happened to me.  I’ve lived in big cities and small towns but nothing can compare to living in no town at all.

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The location drew us here. It takes us an hour or less to get to the 7 ski resorts we most frequently photograph weddings at: Steamboat, Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper and Winter Park.  Our property backs to BLM (public land) and overlooks the Blue River, we’re 6 miles from National Forest, 3 miles from Green Mountain Reservoir and one scenic drive away from Eagles Nest Wilderness.  The recreation opportunities are endless but nature’s nuances are what captivate me everyday.

Once a month I can count on the full moon keeping me up at night and every August be woken up by the cows across the river.  In June the snow-melt amplifies the rush of the river putting me to sleep like a baby.  July afternoons bring such quick passing showers that the sun still shines bright guaranteeing a magnificent rainbow or maybe two.  Buzzing cicadas may be the only sound we hear on a summer day minus the two cars that might drive down our road.  By January a thick blanket of snow covers the valley and 30-50 deer tuck in along the gentle slope in our backyard.  Nearly every day we awake to a bright blue sky and watch the clouds appear out of nowhere soaring like giant cotton balls on an eastbound expressway.  Come evening the setting sun paints a scene better than anything I could dream up in my mind and as night falls the Milky Way can be seen from nearly every window in our house.

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But it’s not all butterflies and rainbows.  Winter drags on and come Memorial Day the sight of snow makes me cringe.  A wretched thing called an Inversion Layer means that the coldest of the cold air gets trapped in our valley making it 20 degrees colder at our house (7,500′ elevation) than in Breckenridge (10,000′ elevation).  There’s no such thing as take-out or delivery in the country.  I’ve become an expert at planning a weeks worth of meals to avoid making the 30 minute drive to the grocery store more than once a week.  The wind can be relentless, the lack of cell service a bit maddening and the distance from friends sometimes lonely.

Life is a series of compromises and that’s what I’ve come to learn from the country.  The colder the winter, the more I appreciate every single minute of summer.  We may spend less time with our friends but the time we do get is better spent because we know it may be months before we get to do it again.  It’s easy to tolerate an hour long drive to shoots and meetings a few days a week when I can hike, mountain bike, paddleboard, snowshoe, fish, raft, hunt, camp, wakeboard, you name it, within minutes of my house.

The ebb and flow of nature is a constant reminder to take life in stride because we can’t have peaks in life without the valleys.

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Above & Below: Our backyard.  Winter, Summer and by the light of the moon.2001-111910moondeer

Below Left: The Milky Way
Below Right: Our little rural neighborhood from the air.  029-091210iss

Below: The view from our house.  It never gets old.IMG_2231

Below: Our neighborhood after the season’s first dusting of snow.

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Below: Playing on the snow-covered beaches of Green Mountain Reservoir.005-102711winter

Below: It took living here for two years to finally take advantage of our private fishing rights on the Blue River.  We got a proper lesson but this popular pastime didn’t stick.  There are far too many hobbies to partake in here in Colorado, there’s just not enough time or money to do them all.088-031412fishing

Below: Hiking in Eagles Nest Wilderness

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Above & the below 3 photos: One of our favorite spots (minutes from home) to camp, hang out around a fire or just watch the sunset.Panorama1 467-092511audrey 3832-082311audreycamp

Four years ago I thought we might be nuts for making the move out to the country.  I now know, the lifestyle isn’t for everyone but for me, I can’t imagine life getting much better than this.