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1000 miles to Durango

Chris

CHRIS

Major: Mathematics – Mathematics
for Secondary Education option
Hometown: St. Louis, MO

Year: Senior

I have always loved the mountains. That’s why when I found Fort Lewis College during my junior year of college, I didn’t hesitate at the opportunity to transfer here. When I decided to move here, I sort of knew one person that I had gone to high school with in St. Louis four years before. Other than that, I didn’t know anyone in the town. I couldn’t have imagined how easy it was going to be to make new friends as a transfer student. I had already transferred schools once before and did not have nearly as good of an experience and knew almost no one at my second school. Fort Lewis was a different story and some of the bonds that I have made with my friends out here have been incredible. I think part of the reason it was so easy to meet people was all the possible activities there are at Fort Lewis and in the town of Durango.

I had heard that it was difficult to find a job in Durango. So during my 1000+ mile move from Missouri to Durango, I was really nervous about finding a job, especially since I have worked my entire way through College thus far. However, within two days of arriving in town I had found two jobs: one on campus at the Student Life Center and one working in the warehouse of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. I won’t say that it was easy: I mean I definitely had to put myself out there, but I was able to do it. Between my two jobs, I was able to meet a few new people who introduced me to more of their friends. We started going to live music shows on during the week, salsa dancing on Thursday nights, and doing something outside on the weekends. One of my favorite activities I ever did my first year out here was a full moon snowshoe hike up Raider’s Ridge. The view of Durango from that ridge is gorgeous and the hike under a full moon is really pretty and easily navigable.

Fishing at the Pastorius Reservoir south of Durango
Fishing at the Pastorius Reservoir south of Durango

Since then, I have met some of my closest friends in my collegiate experience. My favorite experiences with them all seem to be from fly fishing, which is an activity that I really got into when I moved out here. There are so many different areas to go fly fishing around here. If I only have a couple hours I can just head down to the Animas River in town or drive somewhere and meet my friends. On one of my favorite weekends ever out here, I rode my motorcycle out to Vallecito Resevoir and met one of my friends there where we went fly fishing/snagging for salmon. Snagging is the act of hooking a fish anywhere other than the mouth. In many states, salmon snagging is illegal. However, in Colorado where salmon are not native and the Colorado Department of Wildlife (CDOW) stocks kokanee salmon every year in lakes across the state, snagging is legal during certain parts of the year when the salmon would normally make their annual run upstream to spawn and die. But since they cannot successfully breed naturally in Colorado they just die. Thus the CDOW allows fisherman to snag them during certain months. On the day my friend and I went salmon snagging, both of us caught our bag limit of 10 fish a piece and had a massive salmon feast that night with our friends.

I could not have imagined how much fun I would have in Durango until I moved out here. The experiences I have had with my new friends have been incredibly invaluable and I look forward to every adventure I have with them.

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    Posted @ Wednesday, October 02, 2013 by Emily
    Emily's avatar

    Chris,

    Even though I wasn't a transfer student, I did come to FLC and Colorado a long way from home. I had the same expereinces as you; i was greeted with nothing other than friendliness and comfort into this great place we call home.

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