This is a sight I thought I would never see, a completely empty Whitewater Draw boondocking area. I guess everybody knew it was going to rain and skedaddled.
After the rains the boondocking area was fine, but the walking paths around the lakes were muddy, and of course walking around the lakes where the birds are is the reason people come here. So it appears my reason to be here has disappeared like snow in Arizona.
Happy New Year everyone! Looking back on my last year, I've been pretty pleased with the year 2023.
My year went well, especially considering my current age, 77. And all the things that could go wrong for a traveling man living by his wits while at the same time suffering a severe shortage of wits.
Nothing in my life that went wrong was serious enough for me to even remember what it was. The only health problem I can recall is realizing that one of these days, I'm going to need a cataract operation, but so far, my only cataract symptom has been my night vision is not so great, so I seldom drive at night.
My old 2007 GMC diesel is still holding up with 205,000 miles on it, and amazingly enough, it's passing Denver's very strict pollution control laws every year. It creaks and leaks, makes funny noises, and is hard to get started now and then, but I'm exactly the same way, so I can't hold that against it.
But the most important thing is I still feel happiness and joy when I get on the road. Like I've said before, the only place I love more than the place I've been is the place I'm going to. And I don't have to break new ground or travel new trails to be happy; it brings pleasure to my life just going someplace that I've enjoyed before thinking about the good memories of the place and the new memories to be made.
Now, I could ruin my entire blog post today by talking about how politics in 2023 has devastated my life and the country this past year, but I won't do that because I don't want to end my last year on a bad note, and I would have to write eight more pages to begin to tell that story.
So Happy New Year, everyone, and always keep in mind that happiness is not to be found in your bank account, it's not in the many valuable things you own, and it's not even in any particular location that you may wish to be in. Just like always its in your mind, just where it's always been, which means you have control over your own happiness...and always have.
With nothing better to do I drove the half-mile to the "overflow" boondocking area and took this picture. The road coming in is on the far right, and is only about 100 yards long before it hits the main road that goes to Whitewater Draw. And that trailer was unoccupied.
So other than seeing the size of the boondocking area I don't know anymore about how it works, and what the rules are than I did when I got here.
The best time to see the birds flying around is early mornings and late afternoons.
you can see video from this Crane camera you see in the picture, which shows the Sandhill cranes at Whitewater Draw 24/7. The cameras on the other side of the lake where the people are, and sometimes some of the cranes are in front of the camera, and sometimes there somewhere else.
This is the world famous, and exceedingly rare, Arizona Huffin Puffin. a member of the Puffin family; this bird got its name because it's so overweight no matter where it goes, even on level ground it's always huffing and puffing. And since flying is out of the question, it's quite easily caught and eaten by the indigenous three-legged hopping turtle, which explains the birds rarity.
yes I know this looks like a blizzard in Arizona but what this picture actually shows is some of the leftover Sandhill Crane down feathers that 20,000 cranes leave behind when they fly off somewhere. the entire lake pretty much looks like this.
The Sandhill cranes are incredibly graceful when flying but when they're landing.... Not so much.