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I was first hooked on the night sky when I was a much younger and much shorter version of myself. It was at a campground beside a creek that is the beginning of the Rio Grande River. The trout fishing was excellent. So was the stargazing because the campsite was near Creede, Colorado, elevation 8,700 feet.

The nights are chilly even in the summer, and the sky usually crystal clear. It took a couple such nights before I moved away from our campfire and into the surrounding darkness. I do not know why I looked up but I did and was stunned by the Milky Way and an uncountable number of stars — at least a billion it seemed to me. It appeared close enough to touch.

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Steve Wintermute is a journalist, history student and a very amateurish astronomer. Contact him at stevewintermute1@gmail.com.

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