This following story was submitted by The Wolf.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED APRIL 2013
The next day the sun did rise and we awoke but Jordan was starting to get a really bad cold; plus I think that all that hiking took a toll on his body. We picked up our fly rods and headed towards Valley of the Pines. We soon came across a pristine pool of crystal clear cold water headed by a small dam. We fished for an hour or so and took some photos and headed off to Valley of the Pines to check out number 5 and 7 on our list. Of course expectations have been drastically reduced and we are now just living the adventure at this time and it is much more enjoyable with out all the extra pressure since I have stood down my public affairs personnel!
There were two locations I wanted to check out there; one was linked to the Tea with Olga story. Three colors (red, black and green) of tea translated into Horseshoe Lake as where warm waters halt. Forrest had a small story about how much iron goes into horseshoes, but I could not verify the source or temperature of water thus it was a weak connection to the clue. However, if you follow the East Fork River canyon down where it joins the Red River to the Valley of the Pines, there are a lot of Brown houses (log cabins) but nothing in particular I could liken to the home of brown. None the less, the “Red” River flows down through the village and has two tributaries flowing into it. One would be very similar to the Vietnam waterfall story with a meadow (number 7) and the other was “Black” Copper Canyon(number 5). We now have two of the three colors and I am hopeful some ground work would reveal the “green” connection. If you travel up the creek without a paddle you go under some power lines (heavy loads) come across a small pond (water high) that has two more creeks feeding it. I believe this pond is called Maggie’s pond.
This land is not part of the Carson Forrest so I am feeling there may be something here; however, it is posted heavily with private land signs. My research indicated there was an old mine further up the creek. I carefully traversed the creek until I located an historic mine. It was all locked up but around the corner there was a small cave, larger than the one I found yesterday, perhaps 40 feet long. Oh my, could this be it – the first line of the poem states “as I have gone alone in there”? Out comes that handy flashlight he keeps telling everyone to bring and I am thankful I heeded that advice. I carefully crawl in and it has a strange recognizable stench and I place my shirt over my nose and laboriously breath through it, as I shine the spot light on every square inch of the cave. I do not feel comfortable and start to wonder again – this must be where I must be “brave” and endure the “cold”. I quickly search and get out, and in a weird way I am glad I do not find the trove because I might have just left it there, as any more time in that cave would probably not be tolerated. I take a few photos and enjoy the beautiful view overlooking the small stream while I imagine how the old prospectors and miners would have processed the ore from the mine.
I now head back as it has been an hour and Jordan is probably starting to worry. I follow the other stream back and find the powder house that was once used to store the explosives to blast the ore out of the mine. I arrive at the car and Jordan is in a trance playing games on his iphone – so much for getting out into wilderness!
Next we follow the 578 highway towards Wheeler Peak and investigate area 8 and 9 but nothing exists to verify any clues so we head towards area one. While en route we investigate area 6 but we cannot locate the access so we just fish instead. This is the life! We pack up and head to area one and re-search some areas that I felt were under searched on our first scan. Jordan is now very tired and falls asleep so I go it alone again. This is not as much fun but the scenery is so spectacular that feeling soon goes away. Since Jordan is ill, I decide to turn it in early and get an early start the next day.
The next morning Jordan is still under the weather but since the day is so inviting, I head out with the promise to be back by 10am – of course I bring my PLB. I arrive at area 6 and I really am just going for an enjoyable hike in this place that keeps calling to me. There are only 3 clues linking it to the poem but I just can’t resist. I finally find access to the area (third time lucky) and take some really cool pictures and I return a half hour late. After a much needed sleep Jordan is feeling refreshed and we head to the Red River Fish Hatchery to try and catch some Brown trout. We head down the Pescado trail that JP talked about, do a little fishing and talk to some hikers. After a very enjoyable afternoon we decide to head back and search a couple of spots I feel I missed during day one at the Taos Ski Valley. On the way, I marvel at the nearly infinite number of hiding spots along this trail and realize that perhaps an area can never be searched too much. At this point, I remind myself that I am on a mission here and that I need to be cognizant of my surroundings, so I start scanning for blazes all the while thinking that this is pretty tough searching with the countless number of nooks and crannies that Forrest could have hidden this treasure.
I climb over a small hill, look up and instantly freeze. I run the gauntlet of emotions as they rapidly flash through my mind – I am dumbfounded. Could this be the blaze that no one has been able to locate? It can’t be; this has been searched too thoroughly, yet this is too obvious, I am totally perplexed ….