(Bredek farm is top, center in the distance)
The answer turned out to be fairly simple - at the time, the farmland in the valley served by roads was running short, so farmers were forced upland and into remote areas to establish fields and grazing pastures. Along with this, I can only imagine, came a heavily work-ridden life removed from society around. The alternative option or next step in this migration turned out to be the expensive and arduous move to America where accessible, flat land was still plentiful.
Above is one of the first fields found on approach to Bredek. The stone wall is as old as the cultivation - having been built from the rock found when clearing the land. The full farm follows, with much of the older equipment still intact - from wooden sickles to steel wood stoves which must have been hauled to the site. The farm's environment and site is exquisite in nature with the views to the mountains, shelter from strong winds, natural water sources and constant reassuring sounds of a nearby waterfall and the woods full of birds and wildlife.
Two-thirds of the way back, spotting the highway and railroad infrastructure below, the remoteness really sank in.
The concept of living off the land, and the very real proof that this earth does not hold the capacity for everyone to do just that today. The need for cities and densities becomes clear, but how do we reconcile this with man's desire for space and yearning for natural surroundings. My very presence in this place seems to bring the story full circle without quite answering any of the questions. Settlers moved from Europe to the New World for land and opportunities, built cities far removed from farming sensibilities and nature, and bred a generation of assorted urbanites - some of whom, like myself, now seek a break from the stifling city life to better reflect on its problems only to find that perhaps we simply end up back where we started.