While Out Exploring Remote Arizona Cliff Dwellings, This is What I Found
  • picture

Ever since the recent announcement from NASA in regards to the Trappist-1 star system housing exoplanets in the habitable rather avid outdoorsman. I have spent a considerable amount of time out in the wilderness by myself and am quite comfortable doing so. I enjoy hiking and exploring off trail, all the while looking for new discoveries. Recently I went out searching for some very remote cliff dwellings in Central Arizona. Not only did I find the ruins, but I also found something more than I bargained for, something more mysterious than I ever could have imagined.

On this particular hike, I found myself over seven miles deep in the wilderness and over half of a mile from the closest trail. After making my way through the thick desert scrub and crossing several seasonal washes, I arrived at my destination. I looked up in awe at the nearly perfectly preserved, centuries old ancient cliff dwellings. After making the final scramble up the dry, rocky Arizona hilside, I sat and caught my breath in a large open cave. I gazed upon the ruins before me and wondered to myself- How many other people have been here since these were built and when were they abandoned? According to local historians, these structures were built as long as 800 years ago.

I continued exploring in and around each dwelling until I came to a small cave tucked away and rather isolated from the rest. I peeked my head inside the cave, but it was almost completely enclosed and I couldn’t see much. I shined my flash light around and noticed what appeared to be something lying in the corner amongst the bat guano. I mustered up my courage and with one deep breath I pulled myself into the cave. It was very dark inside, but I could see that it was some sort of mummified animal lying there. When I got within a few feet of the carcass, flies began buzzing all around my face. I snapped a few photos of the carcass and hurried out for a breath of fresh air. The creature appeared to have disproportionately short front legs, long hind legs and a long tail.

Also, its head appeared small for the rest of its body, especially because of how thick its neck seemed to be. It also had a few small tufts of grayish white hairs around its head and still had some fur on the ends of its legs. Otherwise, the creature had been completely mummified except for the tail which was down to nothing but bone. In its petrified state, it remained approximately 3-4 feet from head to tail and appeared to have front facing eyes. It was so bizarre that I considered re-entering the cave to get some closer photos. But between the putrid air and the flies inside, I decided to make do with what I was able to get on my first try. I began briskly walking back to my vehicle while periodically checking behind me just in case there was anything following me. I made pretty good time hiking out to say the least. Once back in the safety of my home, I began researching local wildlife and animal skeletons on the internet.

The more I looked, the more I began to question what exactly was that thing? I decided to check with the rangers at the ranger station the next day to see what they thought. To my surprise, the rangers were as stumped as I was! I was given the number to the Wildlife Biologist for the National Forest in this area. After consulting the Biologist, her best guess was that it could be a coatimundi. But she admitted it was just a guess. Although Coatimundis can live in southern Arizona, they are not supposed to live this far north. She forwarded the photos to other colleagues and I am currently waiting to hear back from them with their opinions on the creature. According to the biologist, we may have to trek back in and retrieve the body for testing to be certain of what species it is. Could it be a prehistoric species? A new and undiscovered species? Or perhaps even long last physical evidence of the legendary el chupacabra? Check out the pictures and decide for yourself.! The creature was found in a cave much like this one. Until it is identified, the exact location of the creature will remain undisclosed.