Coyote Buttes Trip Day 2, Part 2: Cottonwood Cove

Richard Charpentier Arizona, hiking, Off Road Adventures, Photography, RLC Design 1 Comment

Well, the post for the first part of day two sure was long.  I think the same might be in store for the second part.  I’ll only know when I’ve finished typing!

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At the edge of one of many formations at Cottonwood. Presented as shot

After lunch and a bit of a wind down we decided to head out to Cottonwood Cove and the teepees.  The ride would be longer.  After checking out the track between Paw Hole and Cottonwood, Ken suggested taking the long way in up to Poverty Flat Ranch.  Since I was concerned about the Titan making it between Paw Hole and Poverty Flat I agreed.  The way would be longer, but we had a better opportunity to succeed in the Titan.

What I’d later learn is that the Titan could in fact go anywhere out there…..  🙂

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The colors kept changing as the light in the sky changed. Presented as shot.

1.5 hours after we set out from State Line Campground we found ourselves pulling into the Cottonwood parking area.  The Titan survived the ride out fine, and did a good job in some deep sandy areas.  No need to even break out the Max Trax sand ladders, although they were with me!  Pretty cool if I do say so myself.

With the ride under our belts we found ourselves sitting in the parking area at 3:30 p.m.  Sunset was a ways off, but so were some of the formations.  The teepees were in the distance, the main area was to our west, a closer area to our east also looked interesting.  So many options, so little time!

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A favorite shot right off the bat. This one jumped out at me as I was sorting. Presented as shot.

The main formations to the west were very interesting to me.  The were a bit of a distance though, and we were all very tired from our time in the sand earlier in the day.  We discussed our options and settled on the main formations.  Ken had some misgivings about the distance and time of day and voiced them.  I began to wonder if setting out as tired as we all were was such a good idea.  In the end, with a little doubt creeping in I made the decision to go to the closer formations and have a look.  Even with misgivings, Ken and Josh set out for the formations further away.  Tom decided to come along with me.  Guess we were more tired than the other guys.  Ah well, it gave us the opportunity to get a variety of photos.

Tom and I made our way back toward the closer rock mounds, and we had an enjoyable short hike in.  Fortunately for us, the area was amazing!

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Shadows, even ones with cameras on tripods, started getting longer. Presented as shot.

As the sun set the colors in the rocks seemed to change.  We made our way further into the rocks, taking our time and enjoying the opportunities in front of us.  Of course, I wondered what Josh & Ken were seeing.  Pretty clear to me, I have to return with more time for each area!

Tom and I wandered into an open rocky area that had a good bit of shade and we decided to take 5.  The shadows stretched further, the colors got more amazing (if that’s possible).  The spot we chose as a rest stop was incredible.  Rock spires, a moon like surface, reasonable temperatures.  Definitely made the right choice for us on a shorter hike!

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Candy like colors kept drawing me further in. Sunset helped with the colors too! Presented as shot.

After 10 minutes of rest and relaxation we each continued to walk around and photograph here and there.  I took the time to make two quick videos, and you’ll be seeing those as part of a larger podcast soon enough.  The entire experience was beyond relaxing.

While in this particular area I had one of those rare epiphanies.  This one was really good, and it left me feeling super relaxed with the concept, “Ah well, it’s all okay then isn’t it?”  That feeling has carried through to this week and I think it will continue going forward.  There’s always something to be said for exploring new places and finding some personal inner peace.  The White Mountains used to provide that type of emotional experience for me on a regular basis, and I’m glad to be finding similar places here in Arizona!  Maybe someday I’ll tell you all about my new insights into my own inner workings…..but not right now.  🙂

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At the back of this formation, the Chess Queen sits calling out to photographers. Yes, it looks just like a chess queen. No, no close ups for this posting. Presented as shot.

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So many interesting angles in Coyote Buttes. Presented as shot.

After my amazing epiphany I enjoyed where I was even more.  I didn’t focus too much on shooting, instead I seemed to spend more time looking and enjoying where I was.  And for me that’s one of the biggest parts of trips like this.  It can’t be all work, all shooting, all about miles hiked……sometimes you just have to be in the place you’ve landed.  So, toward the end of our time in this particular section of Cottonwood that’s exactly what I did.  Still, I managed to get a few more photos.  🙂

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Tom taking in the scene after taking a picture. Presented as shot.

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An HDR taken while at Cottonwood. I really like the effect here. 3 Exposure HDR

Finally, after a good bit of tromping about Tom and I turned around and started on our way back to the parking area.  I think each of us got the photos we wanted, and we were pretty well spent from an eventful day.  We figured we’d kick back under a shade tree near the Titan and wait for Ken and Josh’s return.  The hike back was easy, and best of all, downhill.

In a short time we found ourselves back at the Titan.  I broke out the radio and gave Ken a call.  He answered back quickly and we learned that he and Josh were on their way back.  Ken’s camera battery had died.  No more pictures for him that night.  Fortunately, Josh got to see the Control Tower, and better than that, he got a great photo of it!  Good work Josh!

Through the use of the Titan’s horn we guided Ken and Josh back into the parking area.  A few quick toots and they were redirected the right way.  We all loaded up, and headed for home.

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Lone trees among the rocks are a dime a dozen. But for some reason I really like this photo, and it's a personal favorite from day two. Presented as shot.

After seeing the Titan’s performance on the way in, Ken suggested the shorter route back toward Paw Hole.  It would cut many miles off of our trip, and we all wanted dinner.  I agreed, given my hands on experience in deep sand for the afternoon I knew the Titan could handle it.  And boy howdy, the Titan did a great job on the way out.  No clearance issues, no getting bogged down.  I just kept moving forward!

At one point Ken came over the radio and said, “Never doubt the Titan.”  Too true.  The lady at the ranger station was all wet about whether or not I had the right vehicle for Coyote Buttes.  I was fine, and with recovery gear on board, I was ready for issues if they arose.

Comments 1

  1. The lonely tree looks like a whimsical tree person shading his eyes with a branch to get a clearer view of the land below.

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