The Dream – An increasing number of folks are having the same dream today: get a piece of land isolated from the stress and pollution of civilization, and live a self sufficient lifestyle where who you are and what you do mean more than how much money you have or what your “place” is in the corporate world.
Can a family today really do it? More important, can they be happy doing it? You bet! We did. Seven miles up a rocky 4×4 trail, snowed in five months of the year, elk, moose, and bear for neighbors, living only a mile off the Continental Divide in Southwestern Montana. Our son learned to ski and ride a horse before he knew what a tricycle was.
Right now, we’re doing a voluntary stint in “civilization” to help our parents out, but when we’re no longer needed we’ll be heading back to the wilderness. No doubts at all. Why is it, then, that about 95% of people who move to an isolated spot quit after a short time, never to return? We lay it on inadequate preparation. The biggest change in a lifetime, and few people think of preparing for it. No wonder so many fail.
We feel the first and perhaps the most important step in preparing for a wilderness move is to separate the dream from reality. Sure they can be the same, but sometimes there are things that must be compromised to keep sane and to live that dream in peace.
For instance, how isolated do you and your family really want to be? There are a lot of places out there, at all levels, from the last place on a good road to land where you need to canoe or pack horses in for miles, or even fly in via bush plane or chopper.
In snow country, it is impossible to keep a long road drivable in the winter, even with a snow plow and a 4×4 with chains on all four tires. It is very hard to plow uphill on a rough road: the wind piles snow into big drifts, very quickly at times, and sooner or later, you run out of places to put the snow, especially in the woods or drift-prone areas. The “convenience” of driving a truck just isn’t worth it. But then, we have friends living in northern British Columbia who canoe in and out in the summer, and snowmobile the river in the winter. A float plane on their lake is the only other option.