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The Epic Battle of Wits

July 27, 2011

Now for the truly interesting part of the CoR trip, I developed a nemesis…a rather diabolical chipmunk that lived near my campsite. Don’t let him fool you, behind this adorable, furry façade lurks an evil mastermind.

The mastermind at work

This cheeky little guy had the gall on the very first evening of my arrival to run between my legs, sit next to my water bottle, climb on top of my propane tank, and then jump in my food bag.  I was stunned at how bold he was and at how habituated to humans he was. He was quite adorable with his little wire brush tail, but the third day I was in City of Rocks, he crossed the line…he stole my apple! It was a bright, shiny, crisp Gala apple. He took it right out of the cup holder of my little fold up chair while my back was turned. Later that day, I find the apple with only a fourth of it eaten sitting in front of a rock.

Formerly my apple

That little stinker stole my beautiful apple and did not even have the decency to eat the whole thing or to at least share it with his other chipmunk friends. On my fourth night, he crossed yet another line. He crawled under the fly of my tent (the fly goes over the main part of the tent part and protects you from the wind), tried to get into my backpack which was outside the tent but under the fly, when he realized I have sealed it off tight he proceeded to sit on top of my backpack and chirp at me. Was he expecting me to feed him? This is no normal chipmunk!

The next day, he decided to use the space between my tent and my fly as his own personal bouncy house. He ricocheted from tent, to fly, back to tent, and then tried to swing on pulled back portion of the fly. How is this normal chipmunk behavior?

I mentioned my chipmunk problems to the NOLS students, and they said they had a chipmunk that sat on top of a boulder above their camp and regularly rolled small stones on to them. Perhaps I was the lucky one…perhaps.

I decided I needed to capture him on camera, in order to do this; sadly I had to bait him with pistachios.

This was a terrible decision. The morning after I gave him the bait pistachios, I was woken by the noise of a paper bag crumpling. He had again jumped into my food bag and attempted to get at the rest of the pistachios. I chased him out, folded down the bag, and but a cast iron skillet upside down on top of the bag. When I came back later that day, the skillet was turned over, the bag opened, and the pistachios gone.

This creature became the bane of my existence and a constant bother. He outwitted me at every turn, and I am sad to say I lost a battle of wits to a chipmunk, sigh…a chipmunk.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Kay permalink
    July 27, 2011 12:32 pm

    Delightful- you are a great writer, and photographer. I have never heard of such a smart chipmunk. Raccoons, yes, but not chipmunks. Maybe you need a live trap – you can bring him home as a pet!

    • July 27, 2011 12:45 pm

      Thank you, Kay! Last night Aaron actually joked that the chipmunk probably stowed away in my backpack to stay with me in Lander. I was not amused only because it seemed like a real possibility!

  2. teddybear2 permalink
    July 27, 2011 12:46 pm

    all work no apples makes cara a very grumpy disertationerer…(err, word? whatever, I’m too tired and frustrated.)

    I think a comparison can be made between the Ann Arbor squirrels and the wilderness chipmunks (btw, do you remember us saying that the chipmunks were the REAL masterminds of the underground rodent kingdom?). The A2 squirrels were stupid and got handed food so they never HAD to learn. The wilderness chipmunks fend for themselves and have to learn to take what they need. I think you need to invest in a secure food storage system cause your cast iron is not working.

    That’s all I have to say about that.

    • teddybear2 permalink
      July 27, 2011 3:44 pm

      …okay so I just re read that and I don’t remember writing most of that.

      • July 27, 2011 4:03 pm

        Rough day? Also, is it even noticeable I wrote a post before the chipmunk one? or is the Chupmunk one just more entertaining?

  3. teddybear2 permalink
    July 28, 2011 1:54 pm

    yeah so…sorry bout that. Life has kind of turned its back on me lately…and covered it with steak knives and acid baloons and I need something to start going right before I get a moving truck and move back to Detroit (which I miss intensely…don’t say anything). I just looked back and I DO rememebr reading it and feeling bad for you, but it was also right as I was starting work and was a little pressed for time myself. But, for future reference, pictures of rodents with pistachios stuffed in their cheeks has a 98% success rate at getting my attention and a 76% success rate of getting a reply (guess where that is from…think “Bend and Snap”…and NOT David Bowie and spandex glitter junk) :o)

    I gots my fingers crossed for you, but keep your fingers crossed for me that I get my paycheck ASAP! I spent a good hour crying today (at work) and I NEVER cry.

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