Getting comfortable with a new city can be a daunting part of PCSing. Not only are you adjusting to new living arrangements and a possible new job, but there are also all the subtle idiosyncrasies and customs to learn when getting used to a new town.
On paper, Fort Rucker and Colorado Springs could not be more different. With one being in the beautiful state of Alabama and the latter being located in the dry, high-altitude desert climate of Colorado. Before moving from Fort Rucker to one of the numerous military bases in The Springs, here are five things you should know:
Physical Activity May be Difficult for a Brief Period
Many service members who PCS to Fort Carson or Peterson Air Force Base notice a significant change in their physical ability when they first arrive in Colorado Springs. This is because The Springs are at a much higher altitude than other bases, including Fort Rucker. With thinner air, your lungs will require an adjustment period before you can safely handle the same intensity of workout you're used to in Alabama.
Marijuana is Legal – Sort Of
While the use of marijuana is legal in the state of Colorado, service members in the military are strictly prohibited from using it. Since the military is a federal organization, employees must follow federal laws. Upon arriving in Colorado Springs, you may notice your superiors making a big effort to stress the importance of these rules, while in other locations; it may not be as pertinent.
Everyone Here Loves the Outdoors
In Colorado Springs, it's not uncommon to see residents walking down the street in full hiking gear. With so much to do outside, you can expect to spend a lot of your free time doing activities such as kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, skiing, and more. The area is known for its numerous stunning parks. Colorado Springs is also home to the US Olympic Center and many members of the US Olympic Team call it home, which only adds to the clearly defined sporty nature of the town.
Residents Are Big Military Supporters
The defense industry has always had a strong precense in the city. In addition to 5 military bases, there are numerous corporations specializing in things like aeronautics and technology that perfectly complement the defense industry. The area is extremely patriotic and appreciative of men and women in uniform since many people in the town are either currently employed by the military or they are retired service members themselves.
You Can Get Away to the Beach
It may not seem possible, when you've just moved to some of the best skiing area in the country! But, Great Sands Dunes National Park is less than a three-hour drive from your new duty station in Colorado Springs. Kids and dogs love it, but it's also a welcome getaway for adult adventurers. And, yes, they are real, natural sand dunes, with a beach and fresh water that you can play in! The tallest dunes in North America are found in the shadow of the Colorado Mountains, and offer a perfect overnight or weekend getaway destination for Springs residents. The park is open 24 hours a day all year long, and features a great variety of things to do. "Surf" down the sand slopes, play in the flowing stream at the base of the dunes, climb through Aspen forests to beautiful Alpine lakes or camp overnight under dark, starry skies. It's a wonder, and great fun!
Get Used to Extreme Temperature Shifts
Because of the climate, Colorado Springs is prone to experiencing huge temperature shifts throughout the day. Although you may leave the house when it's sunny and warm, things could take a turn in the afternoon and the temperature could drop. It's always a good idea to wear layers so you are always prepared. We also recommend traveling with a water bottle and staying hydrated due to the dry, high desert climate.
Although Colorado Springs is different as can be from Fort Rucker, you will enjoy the charming amenities, friendly people, and stunning scenery offered in The Springs. For more information on PCSing to Colorado Springs, contact Military Home Search at 719-373-1906 or toll-free at 800-205-6170.