Over the years we have learned that often mundane destinations close to home offer unexpected cruising rewards.
If we were other than land locked these days, we’d entertain you with an aquatic example, say Catalina Island, where we still enjoy returning after many, many decades of previous visits. But since we are presently without waterborne transport, this post is an example of cruising gems closer to home in Arizona, where from time to time we have had the land anchor well dug in the past twenty years.
The lead photo is a sunrise shot of an osprey, waiting in a tree beside our cabin in Pinetop, Arizona. The area is a summer retreat for desert rats fleeing the heat. There are streams, lakes, and lots of wildlife.
The osprey share their hunting grounds with native Americans.
The vistas are wide, and in the summer, with afternoon monsoon clouds, bathed in spectacularly beautiful light.
The meadows are filled with wildflowers.
And semi-wild horses watch warily, while mom takes the next generation away from the strange apparition with the big white lens.
While deer, elk, and here an antelope graze in preparation for the coming winter.
All this beauty so close by, with millions of locals and tourists in better known areas a couple of hours away, and we are almost alone. Above, Linda, and good friend Joe Kutschka, take in yet another high mountain meadow.
How many places in the world will you see wild turkeys lined up along the side of the road?
Dusk comes quickly, and at 7000 feet (2147 meters) above sea level and the air temperature falls rapidly with the sun.
There is little time to enjoy the changing view. Within a few minutes the light is almost gone.
If you are lucky, and happen to be in the right place at the right time, the photographic rewards can be substantial.
If you think our galaxy looks impressive from the deck of a yacht at sea on a moonless night, wait till you have experienced the same at altitude, in this case the mountains of Central Arizona.
Birds of prey are plentiful in this part of the world. And we expect to see red tailed hawks.
The osprey, on the other hand, come as a pleasant surprise, although they seem none too happy about our presence.
Open vistas like these remind us of being at sea.
With 22 months to go until FPB 78-1 launches, we’ll just have to learn how to exist in a state of aquatic minimization.
It isn’t easy, this land based life.
But it does have its moments.
Occasionally the environment in which we are so privileged to inhabit comes into focus.
After which we are content, at least for a little while.
We head back to the drawing board, all the sooner to get ourselves afloat again, passing through another environment close to home which we often traverse without thinking of stopping. But this day we pull off the side of the road, take a closer look, and find… a visual treasure.
We just need to remember not to overstay our welcome.