Clearly somebody is screwing with me…….

Richard Charpentier Arizona, Notes from Rich, Off Road Adventures, Photographing Arizona, Photography 8 Comments

classic-1When I first moved to Arizona I read the brochures.  You know, the cool ones with the 1950’s logos telling you how great it is here.  “Wish you were here…..” , “Having a great time…….”, “Come to sunny warm Arizona……”  Yup, I bought it all hook line and sinker.

In the end I landed in Prescott, land of amazing granite, great climbing, and trails around every corner.  That’s how they hooked me you know.  All that granite.  Like New Hampshire, only warmer.  Of course those Saguaros that you see in the brochures?  They were nowhere to be found.  I have to drive south to find them.  South…….I should have clued in.

So, on my most recent trip to Coyote Buttes what do I find?  Ice.  Frozen tent walls.  Frozen water jugs.  How the heck are you supposed to make decaf with frozen water jugs?  Really?

I know.  Decaf.  Pathetic.  I should be having total caf.  Or even roaming calves for that matter.  Heck, those little suckers block the roads all around the Vermillion Cliffs.  Maybe they’re in on the whole conspiracy…….

You think I’m kidding, but I’m not

Freezing my bacon off (Canadian Bacon to be exact) wasn’t enough.  Nope, there’s further evidence of a broad conspiracy to mess with me.  I’ve totally got photographic evidence to boot.

Months ago I wrote about the Mountain Lion / Cotamundi / Squirrel sightings here at Point of Rocks.  All these folks seeing the “mountain lion” atop the rocks.  And finally I glimpse something big.  Something really big.  And my big zoom lens finally captures the “something.”

A squirrel.

Yeah, the major sightings of the mountain lion works out to be a squirrel…….

But then I realized, it could be a mountain lion hiding behind a rock with a squirrel puppet.  Photographic evidence?  You betcha!  Not ready to share it today though, I’m still working this whole conspiracy out.  I can’t lay out all the evidence in one posting you know!

fuzzysquir-1Here’s what I can share.  Further evidence of the way I’m being messed with.  Seriously, I should be on one of those late night radio shows at this point……

See, while at Cottonwood Cove Sadira yelled out squirrel.  My first thought?  The movie “UP.”  If you haven’t seen it, you don’t get it.  But if you have seen it, you know.  Clearly the producers of “UP” are involved too.

Sadira wasn’t yelling about some fuzzy little critter trying to take off with the peanuts in my backpack (they did that often while hiking on the east coast).  Instead she was crying out about a rock formation nearby.

Sure enough, the profile of a squirrel.  Look at the photographic evidence for yourself.  Hard to deny, no?

To be sure, I walked around the backside of the rock formation.  No squirrel hand puppet, no mountain lion prints.  If that isn’t evidence that a mountain lion was there with a squirrel hand puppet I don’t know what is.  Yeah, can’t wait for the late night radio show hosts to start calling me tomorrow.  We’ll crack this thing wide open!

So now I’ve had two major “squirrel” incidents, totally keeping me from that mountain lion photo I really want.  See the pattern here?  Yeah, me either, but flimsy evidence always points to the larger conspiracy, I’m sure.

Seeking the control tower, and finding jack


From a half mile away, you might think this is the control tower. You would in fact be wrong, and very tired discovering your error!

Finally, the coupe de gras to my whole conspiracy theory.  “The Control Tower.”  It’s an amazing rock formation in Cottonwood Cove.  Well, that’s what “they” say.  I’ve seen pictures too.  But I also know how to use Photoshop.  It could be totally photoshopped for all I know.

Reading through “Photographing the Southewest” Volume II, I found the GPS coordinates for the alleged Control Tower.  I plugged the coordinates into my GPS.  Normally I just explore, but this particular rock formation was interesting to me.  I had to see it.

So, toward the end of our time in Cottonwood I kicked on the GPS, hit “Goto” and headed for the location where the book told me I’d find the Control Tower.  After slogging through deep sand forever you know what I found?

More deep sand.

With squirrel prints in it…….and a few mountain lion prints…….along with some prints that I bet were made by a Cotamundi………and an empty bottle of JD……..

Yeah, I’ll stick with that story.

We continued south from the dune toward some rock outcroppings.  Several “Control Tower” like things there.  Maybe we’d get lucky.  After all, the Control Tower wasn’t in the main formations.  The GPS coordinates were way too far away from them.  There was absolutely no way in hell that it was in the main formations.

That’s why, while visiting the main formations for less than an hour my good friend Josh did in fact get a photo of the Control Tower.  He got the photo because he was clearly not in the main formations at all.  He was standing in the middle of a sand dune surrounded by squirrel prints…….

You know, I’ve noticed Josh likes squirrels…….Clearly he photoshopped a “control tower” like photo…….  In fact, I don’t think the Control Tower is real.  I’m betting it’s photoshop, created by a highly talented mountain lion who owns a squirrel sock puppet!

At times I ran in the sand dunes.  “That’s gotta be it……!”  For a tired guy I sure can run in sand dunes.  Up rocks too.  And with each disappointment I’d see something in the distance, decided that was it, and start cooking across the desert once again.


A formation that tells you, the wind sometimes makes odd rock sculptures.....

It was fun.  All that running around in the dunes.  All that GPS rechecking.  Watching over my shoulder for squirrels………

Finally I thought I’d found it.  The last dash.  It was close too.

Instead of the control tower with its cut edges, defined shapes, and amazing angles, I found a different control tower.  Where the real one seems to be sculpted by some amazing engineer, the tower I found seemed to be sculpted by a drunken chimp with a learning disability.

In the end we never found the control tower.  But I should have known after seeing Squirrel Rock.  Something was going on for the day.  Someday I’ll expose the whole thing, just you wait.

Summing up……

Looking at the whole network of events we have the following:

  1. Not all of Arizona is warm.  In fact, you can create ice crystals in a tent in Arizona without much work.  The brochures misled me.
  2. Squirrel Rock.  It ties back to my earlier incident with mountain lions and squirrels here in Prescott.
  3. Josh’s alleged photo of the Control Tower.  Photoshop?  Maybe.  Part of a larger plot?  Most likely.  He is from Chicago you know…….just saying.
  4. The GPS coordinates pointing me into the middle of nowhere to find the Control Tower.  Through high dunes, deep sand, etc.  Further evidence?  I think so.
  5. All of the fake “Control Towers” in the distance.  Moving me further and further from where Josh allegedly took his photo.  A photo taken extremely close to Squirrel Rock as I’ve recently learned.  Coincidence?

So, you can clearly see a loose pattern, no?  If you don’t you obviously don’t listen to late night radio.  That’s a shame, you should get out more.

In the end, I’m pretty sure someone is messing with me.  The cold “Chicago like” weather while out, the squirrel theme, the total fabrication of the Control Tower, and finally, lots of deep sand dune walking.

If I’m wrong the only other answer would be something like I’ve been spending too much time in the desert.  That’s just not possible………….


Um, I’m joking.  Well, mostly.  I still think something is up with squirrel rock……..

Comments 8

  1. Post

    LOL! 🙂

    Josh, you did in fact find the control tower. I should have sent you in with the GPS. Where the book sent me was super far from where you guys were shooting. Total bummer. You’re in the conspiracy pretty deep! 🙂

    Jason, we poured water from the least frozen jug. It was like pouring a thick slushy. Took a while to boil……

  2. I am confident that the Court and all savvy readers will find that a key element in this alleged story all hinges on the supposed “empty” bottle of JD “found” . The State alleges that at some point earlier in this twisted tale of lies and deceit that the alleged bottle of JD (Exhibit A)was full, and it’s contents were placed within the Camelbaks (Exhibit B) and consumed by the acting party involved in said story.

    The State (and readers) rests its case.

  3. HA!

    You fail to realize that I am a deeper part of the conspiracy than even Josh…or the mountain lion (but don’t tell him that, he get’s stabby. The Mountain Lion…not Josh. Well, mostly. Hi Josh!) WATCH why I expose myself!


    Point in fact:

    1. It was me that found “Squirrel Rock” and annoyingly (but sweetly if we really look back) shouted it into your ear several times while pointing in the general “Squirrel Rock” direction.

    2. The last time you were camping in this area, there were no ice crystals in your tent or frozen water (wait. That makes me sound like I’m cold. I’m not. Mostly.)

    3. I kept pointing out rock formations that “looked like” The Control tower…perhaps leading you away from the control tower…IF there is indeed a “Control Tower”.

    4. There happens to be an actual live furry squirrel that sits outside my house on a rock (perhaps the same one that you “saw” in The Dells.)

    5. I LOVE those vintage postcards from the Fifties (I just thought I’d mention that)

    6. It was me that could not “find” the MaxTracks after us getting stuck in the sand (I’m not sure what that has to do with anything…but it was still very funny. Or was it?)

    7. And my final point…I was just AT Disneyland on vacation. Or was I?

    OK. Now I’m just confused…well, bullet pointed but confused nonetheless…I am starting to think that this sounded a bit better in my head. What exactly is the Conspiracy Theory again and why is it that I would want to thwart you in the first place? Cause if I remember correctly, I was also having to stagger around in the middle of the desert in those cursed sand dunes, and wake up to ice crystals and frozen water. And I like you, I don’t want to thwart you.

    Or do I?

    Drat…Something seems to be backfiring here.

    .-= sadira´s last blog ..Coyote Buttes… =-.

  4. Post

    Tom, yes, I know that the State vs Me post was yours….you know I do get the e-mail address of the commenter….

    You weren’t on this trip Tom. Therefore nobody would have booze in their Camel Back. Sheesh….projecting again eh Tom?

    Sadira, I’m realizing you may have had a bigger roll. The squirrel, the frozen water, and yes, you kept helping to move us away from the Control Tower. It goes beyond just Josh now……

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