We all dream about our own "Shangri-La" and whether or not we will ever find it. For some it is an opulent, expensive layout in the picture perfect setting. For others it is their own piece of heaven in suburbia, and yet for still others it is a secluded, very private piece of property far from the maddening crowd and civilization in general. My Shangri-La is the latter, and it is called "My Place".

After having had my fill of the hectic, ridiculously crowded, overtly expensive life on the West Coast, I looked and found what I wanted. It is this acreage on an east/west running mountain top ridge at 7350 feet elevation in the beautiful mountains of south central New Mexico. Now I have peace and quiet, seclusion (only one neighbor and they are 3/8 mile away), wonderful and friendly local people, incredible skies, and most important of all, an affordable place to which I have retired. So this is it "My Place"; land on which I have a small home, a shop, and an observatory.

I am about 19 miles (as the crow flies) from Apache Point Observatory where the Sloan Digital Sky Survey is being completed, and also from its close neighbor the National Solar Observatory. The night skies provide stellar extinction right down to my 360 degree horizon on most clear nights. Out here M33 is a common naked eye object when it is up. On some nights M 4 can also be seen. The younger astronomers that have come out this way to visit report 7th magnitude is not a problem. Problem heck: Youth---it's wasted on the young..It's us old "coots" that can use that kind of eye sight when living with up here with the kind of skies we are blessed with.

This is an area where we experience the full 4 seasons, with their accompanying weather and temperature variations. Winter lows of down to 10 degrees with average snow fall of about 44 inches, and summer highs in the 90's with the attendant summer monsoons, which normally last from early July to early September. The good thing about a "normal" monsoon season is that the rains are over by late afternoon and bring beautiful clear nights. Quite a change for some one who had spent the vast majority of his life in sunny California.

So this is it, "My Place"; my version of Shangri-La. If you are ever in the area do stop in and see me.


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Phone: (575) 437-4233
E-mail: andy@tularosa.net