I step out of my truck. I strap my work belt around my waste. I attach my knife to my side and put my .380 Smith and Wesson with a built-in laser in my pocket. I strap my .357 magnum holster to my side and slide the 7 shot revolver in place. I grab my pickax and slide it through the loop on my work belt. I put on my work gloves and headlamp. My headlamp is 5,000 lumens. It can light up a mountain. I grab my other flashlight. It’s a blinding 10,000 lumens. I pack my pouch full of extra rechargeable batteries. I will need them all to keep my lumens shining.
Finally, I pick up my favorite of all. My AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with a red dot scope.
I have a 30 round clip in. I hang it around my shoulder by its shoulder strap. It’s midnight, perfectly dark, and I’m just getting started. I’m in a secluded area of a very dangerous place. Not even the most avid hunters will come here to hunt. It is a major corridor for drug and human trafficking. Several people have been found dead here. It is closely monitored by federal and state agencies.
All my gear is on and my AR-15 is in plain site over my shoulder.
Then, off in the distance, I hear it. My ears have become accustomed to the sound. I’m standing by my truck all by myself. It’s deathly silent, except for the rumbling off in the distance. It goes quiet. You could hear a pin drop. I stand next to my truck completely still. With no warning, it banks into site from behind the mountain in front of me. It’s a Black Hawk helicopter and they’ve spotted me. I have every appearance of being a drug lord. They drive white trucks. My truck is white. They come out at night. It’s about 12:30am. They always have a cover on the back of their truck. So do I.
I’m also loaded down with weapons.
The sound of the Black Hawk itself is enough to intimidate and strike fear in my heart. It shines its blindingly bright spotlight right on me and starts circling.
I stand perfectly still as it circles me numerous times. I throw my arms up and look into the light as if to say,
“What’s your deal, why are you harassing me?”
It executes another round and begins to maneuver right toward me in a steep dive. As it draws closer, I fix my eyes right on it trying not to act scared. I’m startled at how steep it’s diving. It heads right toward me and is descending so low, I think it’s going to actually clip my truck.
At the last second, I dive onto the ground and the Black Hawk misses the top of my truck by what seems like only a few feet. I’ve had it!
When it circles back I stare straight into the light, motion my arms and yell (as if they could hear me),
“Get the hell out of here. Get out of here. What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
It hovers right on top of me for several more minutes, then banks and takes off into the night sky.
Immediately, I call my new found friend, Zach (more on him later). It’s now about 12:45am. He answers, and I inform him I’m being harassed by Black Hawk helicopters and ask him what I should do. I also confirm with him I’m not in an area that is off limits. He assures me and gives me the phone number to the Federal Army Base close by and instructs me to give them my coordinates. I do it. They are actually very nice and tell me to stay safe and they’ll call off the Black Hawk.
From then on out, when I’m out at night, especially on a mountain, I call and give my coordinates. The Black Hawks periodically circle around me with their spotlight making sure I’m safe and there is no one suspicious anywhere around me. When one hovers above me, I’ll wave with both hands up in the air and the Black Hawk will bank hard to its left ’till I can see its bottom side. It’s their way of waving to me. At least that’s how I take it.
For now, I commence with my endeavor. I’ll be out all night (thanks to my stimulants) exploring ’till the sun starts rising.
I’m at Ironwood National Forrest in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. A stunningly beautiful place where there exist hundreds of ancient archaeological sites that date back over 5,000 years. I’m camped out there in a tent all by myself…well, me and the drug lords who infest the place and live up in the mountains.
Oh, and Zach, who visits me every morning at my tent to make sure I’m safe, suggest places for me to go and warn me of places to stay clear of. He claims to have lived on these lands for 65 years (again more on him later).
Besides federal and state agents and some scared Mexican drug lords at night, Zach is the only person I ever see there.
I spend months and countless hours and nights exploring this 140,000+ acre national preserve. Because of the insane amount of time I’ve spent examing rocks one by one, my eyes are acutely trained to spot artifacts almost instantaneously that to the casual observer would just look like a pain ordinary rock. I don’t remember much more about that night other than I’m out and about until around 7:00am in the morning. I go to my tent and sleep for about 2 hours.
Prior to arriving at Ironwood, I explore a myriad of other places. My intent is to learn everything I can about these ancient civilizations and people. I study every book and article I can get my hands on. I learn for myself how ignorant we are about them. Every expert has their opinion, but they’re all mostly guesses.
I’m determined to study these ancient sites for myself and formulate my own conclusions about the people. When I’m finished, I will have come to believe I have discovered more truth about these civilizations than all the books written about them combined.
Most notably, I believe if someone will just spend a week with me there, I can convince them without any doubt that these ancient civilizations, at least at one point, believed in the biblical account of the fall of Adam and Eve and knew about “the serpent” and the manners in which it/he attempts to deceive.
Meanwhile, presently, my wife has grown to despise “the endeavor.” It’s very confusing to her. She doesn’t deny that what I’m finding and discovering is remarkable, yet at the same time, she feels (although she doesn’t express it much because she wants to be supportive), I’m neglecting her, the family, my business, and my health. I continually remind her it’s temporary and it won’t last forever, but her resentment is building each day as the pressure on her mounts.
The burden of running the household is falling almost all on her shoulders. She sees my prescription drug problem as being out of control. At this point, I know that she’s right, but to me, it’s a temporary problem I can take care of once the endeavor is over.
I never take the time to really listen to my wife’s concerns or feelings. I just let frustration build in me that she, in my view, doesn’t grasp how rare and significant my discoveries are.
For our entire marriage, I never missed a Friday night date night with her. Neither of us would ever let anything interfere with that sacred time. For the first time in our entire marriage, those date nights take a back seat, as does our marriage. It’s been over a year now.
Also, I can’t fully see how the inordinate amounts of amphetamines I’m taking, the chronic lack of sleep I’m getting, and the abuse my body is taking is slowly causing my personality and grip on reality to shift. Again, I’m as ignorant as it gets as to the effect drugs can have on the brain.
It was only a few years back, I bought an investment property with a meth lab in it.
I didn’t understand what the big deal was. I figured a meth lab is some kind of doctor lab. The agent had to explain to me what a meth lab actually is! That’s how far removed from the drug world I had lived my life.
Little do I know I am right in the middle of getting a crash course.
I AM becoming a mad scientist, a very amateur one, but a mad one nonetheless.