Michaeldgriffiths's Blog
One's man Chaos is another person's Entertainment

WildernessPunk Camp 4

My Coyote Buttes morning is cut short when I discover a hidden motion detector near the majestic pools of water. I had just learned how the rangers use these to e-patrol back country areas where someone has decided people shouldn’t be allowed to enter. Funny I spotted it, not so funny that it makes me paranoid within one of my favorite places in the world to be and I blast out of there earlier than I would have. I guess when you wake up at 4:30am it’s easy beating even the rangers out the door.




It becomes comic how many things I rush through doing on my return to Flagstaff. Gas, grub, quick visit to camp 1, Jeremy’s place for ice, storage unit, camp out shopping, and then finally Downtown to jack into the web, but more importantly charge my limited tech. I’ll have two laptops at once for the rest of the week, won’t be a big deal save when I’m camping and I’ll be able to double up on my writing this one time.





It is still well shy of three before I take my, for a short time only, wheels out to the Lilly Ponds (Camp 2). As the dregs of Labor Day Weekend’s campers linger and head out, I eventually grab the Kurt Camp and settle in. However, just as I sit and start writing for the much neglected Daily Discord, I am assaulted by micro-mosquitoes. People complain and brag over how large their mosquitoes are, but at least you can see them. These Arizona buggers are the size of a nail head and remain difficult to spot.


I am forced to retreat to my tent and just as I enter I hear heavy machinery drowning out the male Elk’s bugling. I finish the article and wind down and it stops at sunset.


I wake up early again, but the darkness and cold has been trying to force my road weary bones to grab another hour, which I do. As I stir, I hear more machinery. At the Lilly Ponds, what a fucking crime.


So these lackeys are thinning the forest or as I call it, uglification. So now even the forest has to be controlled and orderly. What will they do next, tear up all the trees so they can be re-planted in neat rows? I understand we have to protect the rich people that are lucky enough to live out in nature from nature (I speak of forest fires here)


I might be going out on a soggy half broken limb, but in most cases the people that make the most money do it on the backs of others and at the price of natural resources. They rape the land for a few decades and what is their reward, they get to live on a huge pristine piece of land. Still, this isn’t enough for them. They may enjoy the natural and beautiful trees in their own yard, but the forest around them is chopped to pieces so a forest fire won’t reach their second summer homes.





Excuse me for a moment, I need to go toss my throwing knife about six hundred times.


Okay, I feel better. So yeah, I am obviously forced to move. I take down my camp, which thankfully only takes a few minutes and before the sun graces this part of the earth, I’m already on my way.


I take a road at random heading deeper into the forested canyon. This becomes a good thing as I explore forests free of any signs of humanity, save for the road that grows rougher at each smaller branch I take.


After seeing a herd of deer, I spy a saddle dipping between two hills to my right. Beside it there appears to be a long abandoned mining camp. Welcome to WildernessPunk Camp 4. And as I write this I look up to see a lone male antelope, which is the fastest mammal in the US. We make eye contact, which doesn’t break for a full minute. Then he flies off, racing down the forested hills like a white ghost in the wind.



Antelope in there uh I can’t see it either


I really like it here. Besides being new for me. I feel more remote than just about anywhere I’ve camping around Flagstaff. I guess we’ll see what the night may bring.




It is interesting what a huge deal having a vehicle makes even when one doesn’t have a preponderance of gear. It’s something we campers could fail to appreciate and often don’t absorb the importance of. Backpackers get closer to the heart of this, but even they have a ride that gets them to the very edge of where they wish to go. If a person left their house to go backpacking and walked twenty miles to the trail head before they started the real hike, I would consider them in a different league.


I’m not saying that car camping can’t be burly for I’ve run into some intense and serious situations while car camping such as, having to chase a giant cougar off, camping in grizzly country, having my ride axle out in the mud and almost getting hypothermia when a snow storm hit, and being attacked by a rabid bobcat to name just a few. But humor me for a moment as we review the differences between car camping and um… mountain bike camping.



First New Fire Pit in a while



First off, you can obviously go further car camping and arrive clean as you step out of your air-conditioned vehicle. Also consider how much you can bring. You don’t even have to be choosey. “Oh, maybe I’ll use the grill, but I might want to use the camp stove, better bring both.” (Funny I’m writing this since I have neither) With bike camping or on foot, you’re lucky if you can bring a tent and a sleeping bag. Hell, I leave both of those at camp 1 and have a monstrously heavy backpack on the way in and out.


Another big obvious is a cooler, along with ice and yep, beer. With car camping you can bring two coolers if you like and most of us do. With bike camping maybe a sixer, a tab of ice, but a shitty fabric cooler at best. “Oh, crap did I need to save room for the food?” Also let’s not forget about the wonders of having a camp chair.


So yes, having these wheels for a few extra days has been a luxury and an unexpected blessing. Like always, having a vehicle makes everything about six times easier. However, it does distract a little from the truer wilderness experience and living closer to the edge. Don’t worry I’ll try to not let it go to my head before I have to return it this weekend, but boy this cooler full of ice cold beer and fried chicken is damn nice.




Turn back in as I return to the southern desert and finish what I never started.




Grab some Skinjumper-Punk here and help support your friendly WildernessPunk




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