This following story was submitted by The Wolf.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED June 2013
Background: continuing our adventure where we had just finished fishing and we were wondering back along the Pescado trail towards the Red River Fish Hatchery when we came across a blaze.
… This obvious looking, yet unique blaze is about 70 meters away. I move closer and closer, while at the same time I attempt to figure out what exactly is this pareidolia. It appears to be a statue or a rock formation that you would see guarding the treasure in an Indiana Jones movie. I pull out my camera and take several shots from varying distances. I stop, gaze and let my imagination run wild. After a brief moment I snap out of my trance and I ask Jordan what he sees and he believes it is a Centurion statue. I run up the hill and quickly look down beneath it, around it, on top of it and pretty much everywhere I can think of, but no treasure.
I climb on top of this odd looking structure and I sit and contemplate whether this is the blaze, while I enjoy watching Jordan fish. From this vantage point I again take in the beauty of this magnificent place, which helps alleviate the fact that I cannot find the trove. When Jordan finishes fishing, I point out a few places from my perch for him to search but to no avail; so we pack up and head out to search those last two spots at Taos Ski Valley. While en route, I conclude that if Forrest would have put the trove near that blaze, it could be anywhere and possibly even buried. I am really not convinced of the poem’s solution that guides me to this blaze anyway because it just doesn’t feel right. That solution would have me come up from the Red River/Rio Grande confluence from who knows where “where warm waters halt”; and there really isn’t any water high and the heavy loads are not unique or convincing.
When I arrive at the Taos Ski Valley for my second time, I attempt to climb to the top of Bull of the Woods trail where it over looks the village from about a thousand foot vantage. In this area there are some old mines, maybe some caves and I ponder whether the scar (left by previous mining) on the side of the mountain could be the blaze. Unfortunately I picked the wrong time of year and the route is filled with half melted snow that every step results in me sinking up to my knees. Since I do not believe in torturing myself more than I necessarily have to, I decide to go to an alternate search area and I walk up the Bull of the Woods trail until it crosses the long creek. Perhaps it is under the foot bridge that crosses the creek. To me it would make sense for the trove to be “in the wood” where water is high. It takes about 15 minutes of up hill trekking to reach this destination and to no surprise – I cannot find the blaze (let alone a bridge) and I can cross this off my list of ever shrinking places to look. I then finally decide to search the gap between the two creeks in the middle of the Taos Ski village. This is very steep terrain for a village. I again marvel at the cascades and take time to enjoy thoroughly them from this privileged vantage point. Satisfied that I have searched the area to the point that I am confident there is no blaze here, I can now concede this trip is now a scenery seeking vacation and off we go to visit the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.
At 660 feet above the Rio Grande River, it is the tenth highest bridge in the USA. I have always dreamed of going there and we were not disappointed. What a beautiful area and we thoroughly enjoyed this location as long as we could. We finally head out and complete the Enchanted Circle route stopping at Angle Fire (what a cool name) and Eagle’s Nest Lake. There is an interesting water fall down river called “Maverick Falls” – Forrest refers to a maverick having the confidence to find the treasure in his book. I strongly encourage all of those who are visiting the Taos area to complete the Enchanted Circle because of the variety of scenic mountain views and unique animals along the way.
After we returned to our cabin, Jordan and I grab a beer, sit back and calmly reflect on our awesome journey, as we peer out the window overlooking the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains. What a wonderful experience this trip has been! As we prepare for bed, I pull out my camera to review our adventure and try and figure out what the heck that blaze really is that we found earlier this morning. I think it is pretty cool that no one else has made mention of it and at the same time I now fully understand how searchers can be so close to the treasure and not find it. Before I totally let this go, I think about how we got here in the first place. I concede that I prematurely abandoned my primary search area for a more imaginative location, and by doing so, I opened up a cornucopia of solutions where just about anything can match the nine clues.
I conclude that way too many solutions come forth if you let your imagination go unchecked. Perhaps my initial instinct was rational but became mis-guided once I abandoned the consistency and discipline needed to form a solution. Now that I have come to terms, I feel I can walk away from this adventure truly understanding Forrest’s intent.