Bayens: Seeking out moments in time
The fam and I just returned from a phenomenal week at Lake Powell. Our crew was made up of six families, specifically 12 adults and 10 rambunctious kids between the ages of 7 and 13. Many of us had been there before, but not with whole families, and not all on one houseboat (albeit a big one). In that way it was a first for all of us, including the eight-hour drive all the way down to Page rather than the usual four hours to Bullfrog.
As it was our maiden voyage, not just for our squad but for our friend’s new houseboat, it’s fair to say all of us were well outside our collective comfort zones. We were excited to get away and relax but also aware a trip like this takes a lot of work. There was the planning, shopping and logistics but also once on the water, navigating the boat, keeping an eye on the kids, and making sure we didn’t run aground.
The summer is high season for most of us, so the thought of being out of range and away from clients for a week was “problematic.” Ashamed to say I can’t remember the last time I had a “data-free” vacation. Our hosts told us we would likely survive without the phone and Wi-Fi.
Our week on the water was an amazing and welcome respite. We swam, slid down the slide, jumped off the top deck, jet-skied, explored and hiked, danced under the full moon, had a campfire, watched mountain goats dance on nearby cliffs, and even caught a fish or two. We also encountered several challenges we had to overcome as a team.
By mid-week, one of two ski boats went down with a bad starter and we tore up the prop on the second one after hitting a rock while towing the first. We got back to the marina with the help of other boaters, tired and thirsty, but it was good for the kids to see that things don’t always go as planned and you’ve got to work hard to have fun.
Even with so many in our group, one could find quiet solitude if they chose to seek it out. I discovered mine running up a narrow box canyon on a jet ski; just me and the machine. I turned off the engine, reveled in the quiet and looked up at those ancient sandstone cliffs.
Layers in time nearly impossible to comprehend, I was reminded of my own insignificance and sat still in that remarkable yet fleeting moment in time.
Those lines of sediment hold evidence of Earth’s early vulcanism, the dinosaurs, and the great Ice Age; cataloging millions of years. The age of man is but a mere layer of dust on the surface of those towers of stone.
As you have heard, the water level is shockingly low. One has to look up to see old coves and camp spots that were at waterline just years ago.
That said, the experience was just as magical as it was back then, and I would strongly encourage a visit, save a propeller or two. But the effects of the drought and insatiable demand are undeniable and nothing lasts forever.
Emerging data specific to our local real estate market also suggest the sands of change are shifting beneath our feet. Interest rates are up, stocks are down, inflation is up, and here in our valley those asking sky-high prices are now actively adjusting their expectations.
Since June 1, we’ve seen dozens of price reductions from Aspen to Carbondale on everything from single-family homes to condos and lots. We’ve also seen our fair share of contracts falling out, especially midvalley homes priced in the upper 2s and over $3 million. More buyers seem reluctant to shell out “mansion money” for 3,000 square feet.
We’re also seeing more listings than sales as sellers position themselves to take advantage of the busy summer season at the same time the tourists and visitors they hope to attract wait for prices to drop and more choices to come to market.
While not necessarily good news for those listing now and folks like me who make money when deals close, it is a healthy shift for the market as a whole, eventually realigning buyers and sellers and stimulating more activity.
Reasonable sellers are sure to be rewarded as are patient buyers. Opportunities for buyers and sellers remain even as the market shifts. But it’s those special moments in time, that quiet solitude, that are the real currency. And here in the Mountain West, they exist all around us if we chose to seek them out.
“2023 predicted to be the Vintage of a Lifetime in Napa Valley,” proclaimed the headline this week in a press release sent out by the Napa Valley Vintners, the trade organization that represents the growers and producers in America’s most famed wine region. If there is anyone more optimistic than winemakers, it is the group that represents them.