Just got back from Kamakazi Ridge in the beautiful White Mountains. We spent 5 days under the pines and had a nice relaxing trip. Even though we have been camping at this spot for 3 years now, I did make some new discoveries on one of my hikes. On our first night out, while setting up the tent, we actually saw a pack of 4 coyotes on their way down into the narrow canyon below our campsite. We figure they must have a den pretty close because we heard them howling almost every night. It was a real treat catching a glimpse of them, because we normally don’t see coyotes on our trips – we just hear them off in the distance. Of course, Rocket, Cricket, and Breezy joined in these late night howling sessions. The Coyotes would start howling, and then our dogs would answer them back.
With his long black mane and tail, he was absolutely gorgeous, and looked to be quite healthy. A few days later we spotted him again and I wanted to try to get some decent pics of him. I decided to sit down on the ground, Indian style, to try to draw him in. Horses can be very social creatures, and given enough time will approach you just out of curiosity. I sat there for about 90 minutes and finally he got close enough for me to get my pics. He was very wary, and I couldn’t get him to come any closer than 75 feet. Still it was a beautiful encounter which I will never forget.
Kamakazi Ridge got its name from our ongoing war with the local insects. Particularly, these large AGGRESSIVE striped beetles. Every night they would attack our tent in swarms, like Kamakazi pilots, testing our defenses. They were attracted to the warm glow of the lantern inside our tent, and would hit the tent so hard it sounded like hail. Even though we had our tent zipped up, they always managed to find their way in. Don is convinced they are so smart that have problem-solving intelligence. Kind of like the raptors from Jurassic Park. LOL!
Cricket hates them with a passion, because she can’t shake them off when they land on her nose. Its almost like they have super glue on their feet. Besides being large, they are extremely aggressive, and often go right for the face. They do have 1 weakness - they are very top heavy, and are very slow to flip over when they land on their back. So you have more than enough time to step on them!
One night, one of them landed on my shoulder and it started to crawl up my neck. It took everything I had to try to remain calm as this Jurassic-size bug got tangled in my hair. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t flick it off me so Don tried to help by swatting it off. Unfortunately, it landed on my right foot, and began to crawl up the inside of my blue jeans. I absolutely panicked, and began running around the tent trying to shake the beetle out of my pant leg!
I could feel it crawling up higher and higher, and I totally freaked out. When it got to my knees, I stripped off my jeans and threw them on the floor of the tent. Don said I really scared our dogs with my crazy panic stricken dance and they started running around barking. The next night, I covered our tent’s utility port with duct tape in an effort to keep them from getting inside our tent. It didn’t work, and they still managed to get in. O well, the war continues!