Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Making Magic in Magdalena - Yurt Raising in the Desert

By Jennie Redwine

Colorado Yurt Company

Photos courtesy of Jamey Hill

We did a yurt pitch a couple of weeks ago in Magdalena, NM. What a beautiful, untamed land it is! See forever landscape punctuated with small shrubs and sages, attention-grabbing rock formations and blooming cactus. It’s about an hour and a half southwest of Albuquerque. Their claim to fame in Magdalena is the VLA (very large array) one of the world’s premier radio astronomy observatories which is about 20 miles away. It played a prominent roll in Contact the 1997 movie starring Jodie Foster.

Tom and Lisa, the couple who owns the yurt live in Ohio. They purchased this pristine piece of land in New Mexico for vacationing, with the dream of someday making it a full-time home while building a straw bale house. They assembled a diverse crew of friends and co-workers to build a massive deck and set up the yurt. The group worked incredibly hard and sometimes daylight to dark all week to get the platform built so we could pitch the yurt on their next to last day there. It was a great team! Focused and fun. We also had help from a couple who intend to develop and RV park in New Mexico. They came over and pitched in on yurt day so they could get an idea of how one is set up.

The 30 foot yurt went up smoothly except for a ferociously annoying wind that just didn’t want to give up. We mastered it well until it came time to install the roof insulation and fabric. We couldn’t have done it without our large, strong willed crew of 10 holding the would-be parachute in place. Once that was secured, we were home free and finished just before dark as the full moon began to show its face and cast mystical shadows on the silent desert backdrop. It was a satisfying feeling to head back to town with a house well built. We pulled up to the land with a truck and trailer full of parts in the morning and pulled away leaving a shelter that Tom, Lisa and their friends will make memories in for many years to come.

Back at the High Country Lodge that night (highly recommended lodging by the way – inexpensive and old fashioned friendly) Tom grilled up some scrumptious steaks to perfection and we downed a few beers before moseying over to the Golden Spur Saloon to shoot pool and listen to old seventies rock and roll. One of the guys had a nasty confrontation with a roadside cactus, but other than that it was a highly enjoyable evening filled with the camaraderie that team triumph brings. They all knew they had come together for friends and as friends to accomplish something that was special. And indeed it was!

View a yurt setup slideshow.