Our first time arriving in Pagosa Springs, we were completely spirited away. The word “Pagosah” meaning healing waters in Southern Ute, is home of the world’s deepest hot springs. We were completely oblivious to all of the splendors of this beautiful area, our only focus was the piece of land that was purchased, the land that would become our home. Upon arriving, our souls were lifted from the small town feel. We followed the main road passing alongside the San Juan river as it flowed exuberantly through the center of town. Winding its way to the main attraction, the series of pools that have been built up and filtered from the mother source. Their crystal clear waters glistening in the sunlight, steam rising into the cool mountain air. The historical bathhouse rising up over the river, the stunning views of the San Juan Mountains rising up over the valley in a full panorama. We knew in the depths of our hearts that this was it, this was home.
We drove the 12 miles out of town to the base of a mountain, 10 miles winding up a dirt road full of bumps and potholes, encompassed by deep lush forest and towering Ponderosas. Up an up until we got to our plot of land. This land, this untouched, overgrown wilderness. A symbol of our flourishing love. We danced, we laughed, we howled at the moon beside a cedar scented fire. Creating blueprints in our minds of our house yet to come.
After a couple years of hard work, we are at a place of comfort. Still living entirely off the grid in this wilderness, we have the basic necessities that bring us simple happiness. Everything is running off of a battery powered system, we have running water, a working stove, refrigeration, lights and each other, which is all we need. We have watched this small piece of earth sprout up from a seed into a flower and the most beautiful thing is that it is all ours.
Our town Pagosa thrives off of tourism. We have met so many beautiful people here, most are transplants like us, yet they cherish the sacredness of these lands just as much as we do. The biggest attractions are the hot springs which are abundant along the San Juan river. But being located within the San Juan National Forest there is so much more, from undisturbed wilderness to beautifully carved mountain peaks to cascading waterfalls, so many things to do and see. Thousands of people travel to this small mountain town each year to soak in these healing waters and to enjoy the quiet sanctity of nature. There is the bathhouse which consists of over 20 different pools to soak at varying temperatures as well as two other establishments with filtered pools and spas for a price. However there are a series of pools built up by locals along the river for free, called the hippy dips. Each year we have watched these pools grow wider and deeper even contributing to the effort of rock stacking to create pools.
In the winter, Wolf Creek pass approximately 23 miles east of Pagosa Springs, gets the most snowfall in Colorado. The town changes into a winter wonderland attracting skiers and other travelers who love lavishing in the fresh snow. Plus there’s no better way to warm up than taking a dip in a hot spring. The town also uses a geothermal heating system to provide heat to the locals in the colder winter months which is great for the environment. Besides healing the body and soothing the mind, there are so many benefits that come from these mineral waters. Pagosa Springs is surrounded by Southern Ute lands, carrying culture and history from the native people who dwelled here long before it became a town settlement. There are native American ruins throughout the back county roads and the Sacred Chimney Rock, now a national monument, holds a plethora of Puebloan structures. The seasons carry us here or there in our travels, but Pagosa always pulls us back. We couldn’t have picked a better place to call home ❤️
I remember back in the late summer of 2015, aimlessly wandering through the Swiss Alps and the Austrian forest, feeling a deep desire for my own peace and quiet. In that time I was physically alone and foreign, left to contemplate my past, present and future inside my head, muttering thoughts to the trees and mountains around me. Nowhere in the world had I a home, or a place to feel truly comfortable. Always on the move, always a guest or a visitor. I craved and fantasized about a piece of land where I could simply relax, and take in all the beauty without feeling like I was interrupting someone else’s tranquility.
For four months I searched across the United States for a feeling. Trying desperately to cling onto something. And then, out of nothing, I stumbled upon our home. I knew it was home. I didn’t know which portion of the wilderness specifically we could stake, but I saw it and knew deep within that this was the place that I would want to spend the rest of my life building a dream. I knew nothing about the town, nothing of the people or the reasons others flowed to the area. All I knew was the deep wild around the land – the Weminuche Wilderness.
When I told Tyema that I had bought the land, I was hesitant, worried and flustered whether or not she would appreciate the beauty. Whether or not she would feel the same as I. I remember my heart racing, dropping to the pit of my stomach as we slowly crept up the ten mile dirt road to the property. Slow motion as we went back the quarter mile dead end lane that was our road. Trees blocking all view, deep brush and towering Ponderosa Pine trees obscuring the backdrop. Her smile meant more to me then than any other feeling that I have known thus far. It was in that instant that I knew we were meant to be together. It was the moment that I knew I wanted to marry this woman and together create a home in this magnificent wilderness.
Every time we come home I feel like the luckiest man in the world. So incredibly happy. So much at peace, so much in love. I cherish every minute we spend here. When we are away I am always dreaming up our next project, or contemplating our future together in this rugged, incredible terrain. No matter where we go I know I have something more rich than any treasure in the world, I have love and peace. Nothing else matters in the end.