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Cheap land Colorado • The New Yorker

What Going Off the Grid Really Looks Like

Illustration for The New Yorker Magazine

In “Cheap Land Colorado,” Ted Conover hunkers down in a valley that has become a magnet for dreamers and the dispossessed alike.

“In the United States,” Gertrude Stein once observed, “there is more space where nobody is than where anybody is.” That was true in 1936, when she wrote “The Geographical History of America,” and it remains so today.

The numbers are startling, and not only if you live someplace like the Upper East Side of Manhattan, with your hundred thousand neighbors per square mile.

Add up all the developed areas in the fifty states—the cities and suburbs and exurbs and towns, the highways and railways and back roads, the orchards and vineyards and family farms, the concentrated animal feedlots, the cornfields and wheat fields and soybeans and sorghum—and it will amount to a fifth of our nation. What is all the rest? Forests, wetlands, rangeland, tundra, glaciers, barrens, bodies of water of one kind or another. If you don a blindfold, throw a dart at a map of the country, and commit to living where it lands, you will most likely end up alone, in the middle of nowhere.

full piece here