As a kid, I heard people say things about Monticello like “the wind blows too much”, or “it’s too cold in the winter” but I didn’t think much about their whining at the time.
Funny, but I have thought about the plus side of Monticello almost non-stop lately. Marcia and I could live almost anywhere if we ever considered leaving, but the chances of that are solidly between zero and nada.
Seems to me the people who complain the most about Monticello are those who have never lived anywhere else. I lived in Provo, Orem, London, England and Mesa, Arizona for a total of 15 years. The rest of my life has been in Monticello.
Those other places I lived were interesting in many ways, but I have never been seriously tempted to leave Monticello and San Juan County permanently.
May I tell you why? Before I begin, however, I will say that if I had not been raised in Monticello, my second choice would be Blanding. I drove to Blanding every school day for almost ten years. Blanding and Monticello have so much in common, are so much alike and are SO interrelated that it would be an easy transition for me.
Great and good souls do not end at Devil’s Canyon, despite the outdated mutterings of a few cantankerous old coots.
First reason I love Monticello… two weeks ago I drove “the loop” which is about 18 miles in a circle that goes west from Monticello, past North Creek, Spring Creek, Monticello Lake and makes a circle back to the highway just south of the Monticello Airport.
I saw an amazing abundance of wildlife, so the next day about 6 p.m. I drove the loop again, only that time I was armed with a pair of binoculars, a camera and a clipboard.
The second trip was much slower and I recorded every single living wild animal I saw until dusk. The tally: 147 deer (honest)… 17 wild turkeys…six elk, one red fox, five squirrels, 29 prairie dogs, nine chipmunks, one mouse, three cottontail rabbits and an amazing assortment of birds and ducks.
If I added the sightings of the previous day, I could have included coyotes and a skunk.
If I were prone to prevarication, I could have claimed porcupines, bears, bobcats, and cougars, all of which are in the area, but seldom seen.
But think about that. Two hours, 20 miles and that number of wild creatures.
Compare that to my seven years in Mesa. Arizona has its share of beautiful country, but in all those seven years I saw maybe a dozen deer, no elk, no wild turkeys, no foxes nor anything else that I remember save birds and rodents. I did see one javalina. If you live among the four million souls in Maricopa County, AZ, you will drive for hours before you get to non-posted, non-private places where nature can be enjoyed.
In Monticello, one minute from city limits in any direction and you are in contact with wild and beautiful country and a potpourri of critters. You don’t even have to leave town. Winn Westcott chased a brown bear out of his yard last week, and of course the ubiquitous mule deer are as much a nuisance as a delight.
Whether you are enamored by wildlife or not, isn’t it cool to be able to walk out of town and be instantly in semi-wilderness with hundreds of furry friends and a long list of fascinating things to do?
With the internet and 400 channels of television, I have all the access to the outside world I need or want. People say we are too isolated. The way the world is going these days, I think I like living in a place where survival (come anarchy in the cities) would be a easier than anywhere else I know.
Ok, I am approaching my word limit. I still have 99 reasons to share as to why Monticello/Blanding are the best places in the world to live. I will work on succinctness this week and try to condense those many reasons into a few future columns.
Stay tuned and thank your lucky stars you don’t live in places like Detroit, Harlem, South Central L.A, Washington D. C. or along the Mexican border in Arizona. Maybe I will be able to get Marcia to tell you about Washington D. C. one of these days.
San Juaner’s are truly blessed.