Sunday, October 13, 2013

Choosing a remote location

Choosing a remote location is really difficult, but forgetting a factor or two can make your experience a lot more difficult. The topic of this post is really intended to deal with a remote, or off the road system type homestead.
It is easy to be swayed by the view, and beauty of a particular location, which may cause one to forget the real reason one is living out there to begin with. Beautiful vista's won't feed you or provide comforts of any type if any of the necessary ingredients are missing. I know of more than one cabin that is lacking in either available firewood, water, or both... Needless to say these cabins are not used on a regular basis. Traveling miles over rough ground to carry firewood or water (in relatively small amounts) gets rather old. And gets so quickly I might add. Even homes on the road system here are dry (no well), and water must be transported on a regular basis. It just becomes part of the daily routine. Firewood is also more difficult to obtain cheaply, and many people buy their firewood from loggers. This isn't the remote type homestead I'm talking about, so I won't cover them here.
If you have decided that you want to try and live remote, I suggest you do a bit of leg work and thoroughly check out an area first. And I mean in person.
There are two things this homesteader needs that he could not do without. The first is a close source of water for drinking. I was fortunate to have a large creek on the property I chose. This one thing has made my life much easier. I only have to go about 100 yards to find an abundant supply of flowing cold mountain water. Finding property with a bit of lake shore or near a lake would be second, although the straining and purifying process would be more involved. Actually finding a good spring on or near the property would be the icing on the cake, and quite a bonanza, but I wouldn't count on that. Creeks.. in my area, are much easier to find, and supply very good water.
Secondly, in order but not in importance is a good supply of timber fore firewood. Your cabin can if needed be built of conventional lumber.. But if you are in an area that requires heat, you will need a steady supply of firewood.
In many remote locations that should not be a problem, as long as you stay below alpine. Be aware that if you choose an area above alpine you will be dragging logs.... and you will more than likely be dragging them uphill....
The advantage to a remote location that has not been timber harvested is that you are going to have a lot of available preseason ed firewood available to you. It is simply a matter of brushing out a series of trails (I made that sound easy huh... that's another post all together!)... and hauling it home... Managed, you may find you will never have to cut a live or healthy tree. The fact that there will be a large area of state of federal land available goes without saying. while it would be wise to check on the legalities of cutting trees on public land beforehand.
Terrain is also an important consideration. If located on a lake, or even near a lake, a fly in situation is possible, if you can afford it. River travel to a remote location is also a possibility, however unless you own your own boat, the outlay of cash is also required. I have found the in my case a charter boat or a fly in (with freight) run about the same.
If your proposed acreage is tucked away in some nice nitch of wilderness you may find that ground access is nearly impossible due to the terrain. I speak from first hand experience here, as a guy I know purchased a tract of land higher up in the hills. He bought the land after doing a fly over. Unfortunately he has discovered that accessing the land in the months when there is no snow on the ground has been frustrating and unfruitful. Unless you are content with limited access (not including foot travel), your homestead may not be realized. As for foot travel area's of wilderness can be so rough that the thoughts of packing any gear in will soon evaporate. I would recommend that you actually travel via foot and scout a route in before you settle any deal.
The topography even of the ground you decide on may or may not be suitable for gardening or the raising of livestock.
All of these things should be considered and weighed before deciding on whether or not a parcel is suitable.
Living remote can be challenging enough without compounding it for yourself. Even the relatively quick trips to the creek can get a bit tiring, after a bit. Especially after you wash a bunch of dishes and take a bath, then realize that you need to make more runs right away. The same with firewood. Keep it close and as convenient as possible, and you can think of heating your cabin for a year in terms of less than $100 dollars.
I hope this helps a bit for those interested in homesteading. Of course the things I've mentioned also do apply to varying degrees to rural homesteads that ARE on the road system. Hauling water, is hauling water, as is gathering firewood. Only the logistics differ.
Thanks all, for reading. If I can think of more to add I'll edit this at that time.