The beautiful San Luis Valley in southern Colorado is hemmed in by the Sangre De Cristo Mountain to the east and the San Juan mountains to the west. It is the ancestral home to over a dozen native tribes. It is the site of the oldest Spanish settlements in Colorado. The mix of indigencies and western settlers has created a population as rugged and diverse as the land. Beginning in the 1970s, developers began selling off inexpensive plots. These plots are in the middle of the valley, and the land is flat and mostly treeless. But some people decided to try a life amongst the tumbleweeds. Nicknamed the “flatters,” they have their reasons for dwelling there and many stories.
Cheap Land Colorado is a new book from author and journalist Ted Conover. As a San Luis Valley resident, I have met and interacted with a few “flatters.” Conover’s descriptions of the land and the people are very accurate. Conover’s book is not a how-to on off-grid living nor a guide to buying cheap land. It is, however, a realistic look into a life that is much different from most. Conover connects with many residents and gives their stories an empathetic view.