Life in The Wet Mountain Valley

The seminary is located eight miles southwest of the town of Westcliffe, a wonderful rural Colorado town located in the gorgeous Wet Mountain Valley. Life in the valley comes with its own unique challenges. Following are some of the biggest. Learn more about Westlciffe at the town’s website.
Grocery Shopping

Westcliffe has a supermarket, local butcher, and a few other stores where one can find most grocery items (although prices tend to be higher than the larger markets down the mountain.) There are other supermarkets such as Walmart, Sam’s Club and Costco in the larger cities “down the hill”.

Driving Times to Other Cities
  • Canon City (1 h 13 min – 58.8 miles via US-50 E and CO-69) 
  • Salida (1 h 12 min – 56.1 miles via CO-69 N and US-50 W)
  • Pueblo (1 h 20 min – 65.6 miles via CO-96 E)
  • Colorado Springs (1 h 45 min – 85.8 miles via CO-96 E and CO-115 N)
Downtown Westcliffe Colorado Rocky Mountains
Cooking at Elevation

One of the first adjustments students and their families have to make to living in the mountains is the challenges brought about by cooking at high altitudes.

At 9000 feet, water boils at 195o and evaporation occurs much quicker. Cooking things like rice, stews, pasta, etc. take longer and need more liquid. Brown and wild rice are especially difficult and often are a bit “crunchy.” Some students have found success using rice cookers, pressure cookers, or soaking rice in water for a few hours in advance of boiling. Cakes and pies can also be a challenge at altitude. To avoid having a cake fall in the middle try using a bundt pan. For pies, like pecan, pumpkin, etc. try bringing the filling to a boil in a separate saucepan before pouring it over the crust. For those who make their own bread, less yeast or shorter rising times are required.


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