Sunday, February 24, 2013

CAN ANYONE TELL ME ABOUT COSTILLA COUNTY? is a site with forum-style postings about different communities. One thread starts with this query from screen name ShariaRoberts:

Greetings everyone, My husband and I just purchased land in Blanca CO.Costilla County. Can anyone tell me about this area, the people, what kind of work is available, etc...... Thank You

Some of the responses are interesting, especially in light of our own experiences surrounding the disappearance of Jack Gordon. Here is a small sampling of the several dozen responses (or you can check out all the responses here):

Jazzlover- "There are very limited jobs in the area. Costilla County has one of the lowest per capita incomes in the United States."

CrazyBeautifulDisaster- "Of course you will be able to find the happy go lucky people like myself or you can find people that are just angry at the world."

JPPhillips- "There are a lot of beautiful places to visit that are close by."

DragonflySharyn- "Well, if everyone that bought one of these "land deals" would move there we could have a whole community of like minded people and it would be great!"

Base of Mt. Blanca- "Besides the cold, and the poorness of the area, I would like to get advice on this..... if I leave my cabin alone for periods of time, will I go back to find it broken into, everything stolen, and 20 people living in it?"

80skeys- "There's a reason why this land is cheap. Not to say it's "bad." It's just not the first place people think of when they choose someplace to live. It's out in the open, exposed, wide open spaces, no shade. You have to drive a long ways to get anywhere. You have to dig a long ways to hit water. Winters are brutally cold. There's not anything you can do with the land unless you irrigate the heck out of it. Overall it's not most people's idea of where to settle down. It's not even useful as a base camp for outdoors activities because: no running water, very long drive to reach the mountains or the Rio Grande river, nothing really in the way of outdoors activities you can do on the land itself. I don't think the value of the land has changed in decades, so it's not a good "speculative" venture."

Jazzlover- "an individual deputy sometimes having to cover hundreds of square miles. The thieves know this. Having all kinds of locks, etc. offer some protection, but if a thief is determined to break in to an isolated property, he may have all day (or days) to do it. In the SLV, the area is very impoverished, and there is certainly some resentment of outsiders by a chunk of the local population."

gn3- "If your property is fairly isolated (and even if it's not), it stands a fairly high chance of being broken into when you're not around. As Jazz said, it's a poor area and outsiders aren't always well liked. I know several people who have had properties broken into there."

Ziasforever- "If the theives want in your place. They're gonna get in. Alamosa, Conejos and Costilla counties are among the poorest ones in the Southwest. As a result they have limited resources such as fire and police. While it is not policy, the Code of the West is still considered the hallmark of justice in rural areas. You can find the Code of the West and its definitions and procedures on Huerfano and Chafee counties websites. The mountains by their very nature are why it's in place.  Theives literally have days to bust down even the best, solid steel door. I know because mine have dents from assaults and some of my neighbors' doors have been beaten relentlessly with a sledge hammer. I've only seen the sheriff on my road one time in the years I've owned my property. I carry a side-arm and have a large-caliber rifle ready mainly for bears and more worriesome, mountain lions but just-in-case I roll up to my property and the B&E is in progress."

Wanneroo- "I remember as a child my great grandfather at his isolated Colorado home showing me his sheriff deputy badge and his handgun. Plus there were plenty of rifles and shotguns about the house. Where he lived in a gated area it was probably unlikely to have a home invasion but if you did, the cops weren't exactly down the street."

tankpaintertim- "Thanks. I am very serious about moving there ans starting over with good honest open people as my neighbors!!! We are sick of the rat race ...back stabbing , lying people!"

1baccj8- "Really?!? That picture is in the Sangre de Christo Ranches? I didn't see anything even remotely like that there. Most of the lots we went down and looked at were either on a hill with little flat area usage or majorly split by gullies/ravines. We did not look at even one lot that had 5 usable acres. Let alone anything that pretty. All scrub, sage bush and dry dirt." 

It seems to me that there are four types of landowners who have purchased property in the eastern end of the Sangre de Cristo Ranches in the last 15 years.

1. Those who have bought land and have romantic and unrealistic notions about living a simple but beautiful rustic lifestyle amidst like-minded folks.  They tend to say, "I'll just put in a sauna for the cold winters and I can run my Internet business from home."  or "When the s**t hits the fan, I can go hunker down in my bug-out cabin in Costilla County",  or "I'll start with just a small one-room cabin, for me and my wife and the kids and the dogs."

2.  Those who have bought land and actually built a house or cabin and use it as a part time "getaway" or vacation home.

3.  Those who have actually lived year round in the area and realize that the land is harsh and the lifestyle is hard, and accept that for the trade-off of beauty and solitude.

4.  Those who are running or hiding from something in their own life from outside the valley, whether it be a failed marriage, a career gone bad or perhaps worse, a criminal history.  Some would consider the Sangre de Cristo Ranches subdivision to be one of the main stops along the underground railroad for sociopaths.

This is a potentially volatile mix.

1 comment:

  1. Lots of good information. I'm contemplating buying just a few acres in Wild Horse Mesa, mainly to live seasonally with my man, who is retired from law enforcement. We're

    We're both used to cold winters and hot summers from our childhoods, so weather's not an issue. The Code of the West isn't a problem, either, as we're both legal gun owners. My main concern would be leaving our 5th wheel for short periods of time, to make infrequent runs into town. We're fully self contained, and would probably stay for a month or so. We'd be heading back to CA for the summer so I can run my surf school.

    Does anyone have any information (good or bad) about Wild Horse Mesa?