SUBMITTED AUGUST 2015
X Marks The Spot?
Our adventure takes place in Wyoming so if you don’t want to hear about Wyoming then stop reading now. My husband and I started out on our trip July 9th and wanted to stop by and visit with Forrest on the way, but he and Peggy weren’t feeling well, so we skipped it and were going to try to stop by on the way back. By that time we were exhausted and decided to skip it all together for now. We spent the night in Amarillo the first night. The next day we stopped in to see Geydelkon (who is also in the Chase) and his wife in Colorado Springs for lunch. They are great people; if you are around that area, try to get in touch with them and talk about the Chase.
We ate supper at a great restaurant in Steamboat Springs, but the name of it escapes me right now. That evening we made it to Dixon, WY. The plan was to go to Savery the next morning, which is like 10 miles away, but they don’t have any hotels. Baggs, Dixon, and Savery Wyoming are 3 very small towns right in a row. Apparently around this time of the year is rodeo season there and Savery was having a rodeo so we almost didn’t get a room. We stayed at the Dixon Motel. The reason we were headed to Savery is because they have a museum there called the Little Snake River Museum where the Brown house is located. Thomas Brown Vernon built the house in Baggs, WY.
After all of the pictures of the old buildings we decided to go to Medicine Bow to hike and fish. We were looking for Baby Lakes, but didn’t find it. We were on a trail to it we thought along Bottle Creek, but after a mile or so of up and down hiking, we decided to turn around because we didn’t think that Forrest could do all of that, and we were having a struggle as well. I would like to stress the effects of high altitude for those who are not used to it, like us Texans. We rested often and sat down for about 15 minutes on an aspen tree that had fallen and carved our initials in it as others had done. There were a lot of carvings all along that trail. When we finally made it out we went back to Baggs and refueled and took a short (relatively) drive into the Red Desert where we would be searching the next day. We went to where I thought the treasure may be hidden. It wasn’t there, but there is one there now because I had put together my own small treasure and placed it in one of the many, many caves of the red desert.
On Page 130 in the Too Far to Walk book, there is a faint map that you can see. In the word “New Mexico” the “X” is over the location where I thought it may be located. It is down one of the branches of the Red Creek. I would also like to stress how horrible the roads are in the red desert, if you want to call them roads. Some that are labeled as a 4×4 road or more like an overgrown dirt trail and if it rains, you definitely will get stuck. We were in our faithful Jeep, so no problem until the next day.
So we hunted all around the area and in all the caves and on all the rocky outcrops with about a million rabbits. Those rabbits could climb the rocks and scatter into caves faster than anything. There were also pronghorn everywhere; kind of like buffalo (bison) in Yellowstone. After our search and our planting of our treasure we drove back to Baggs and spent the night at the Cowboy Inn. It rained that night. By the way, this whole area is BLM area and you definitely will be alone in this area of the Red Desert. Make sure you have a full tank of gas going in and plenty of water. I would also have a GPS and several paper maps. We used our Garmin that we have for the car, the Wyoming Gazetteer, and a handheld Garmin Rhino 650. These 3 things were invaluable to us and we only became lost a couple of times.
They are short on signs in this area too. This area is so much larger than you think by looking at the map and the fact that you have to drive slow compounds it. It took us at one point to drive 40 miles in 7 hours, which was on the Shell Creek Trail Road. It starts off as Sandcreek road and turns into Shell Creek Trail Road. Of course, we stopped at several locations. On this road we saw a coyote momma and her two pups, a band of wild horses and a couple of wild horses that were in a bachelor’s group, prairie dogs, ground squirrels, rabbits, pronghorn, elk, grouse, magpie, and 2 rattlesnakes. We were trying to reach Adobe Town, but were unable to due to the fact that the road was getting continually worse until it dead ended into the dry creek. Had the dry creek not been so far down, we would have tried to cross it, but there was no way and we were forced to go South down a different road. We took this road over to another road called Cherokee Trail Road, which was another 4×4 road, but not as bad. We took it about 30 minutes and decided to stop and camp for the night so we would have time to set up before dark. We got everything set up and built a small fire, ate supper, and sat in our chairs to observe the wildlife on the ridge and in the valleys around us. We could watch the elk and horses graze. It was nice.
We decided that in the morning we would go back out to the main paved road (789) and go north to I-80 and go into Adobe Town from the North instead. In the morning after we got everything packed up and ready to get back on the road, Scott opened up the hood of the Jeep to check fluids, etc and a packrat ran out. He apparently thought the warm engine would make a nice place for his new home. He had drug up small branches and things in there during the night and was all set up. We cleaned out everything and set out. As we were coming down Bitter Creek Rd (19) from I-80 heading south toward Adobe Town, there were more people and the road was a little better. We saw a badger, unfortunately he ran too quickly for us to get a picture of him. By the time we finally reached Adobe Town Rim, the Check Engine light came on and we decided not to turn the car off and to just look around for a bit. After looking around briefly, we left disappointedly and headed to Rock Springs to find a parts store. That was the closest big enough town to get things like parts. It turned out to be the alternator so Scott changed it and we decided to forget about Adobe Town. It seemed like we weren’t supposed to be there; like something was trying to keep us from going.
It was getting to be evening time so we found a hotel, fortunately. As I mentioned before, it must be rodeo season there because Rock Springs was having a national rodeo there. We ate supper and went to the rodeo to check it out where there were rabbits and prairie dogs there as well. We didn’t stay the whole time and went back to hotel for the night. The next morning we headed out for Killpecker Sand Dunes, which was north. We hiked a little bit around and headed further North to the Wind River area. Scott wanted to fish in some glacier lakes. We went to the Wind River Casino that is run by the Northern Arapaho who are very, very nice people. I love that place. We were fortunate enough to be there on a Tuesday when they have their dances. It’s like a small Pow Wow. It was truly awesome! I met a guy there who makes the headdresses for the group and is going to make one for my grandson. We left the casino the next morning and headed to Lander and then took Louis Lake Rd (131) to Sinks Canyon State Park. Went and saw the rise and fall and then to Fiddler’s Lake. Caught some fish, saw a baby bird sitting on a log while hiking, and tried to hike to Christina Lake to catch Golden trout, but it was a 5 mile hike and we didn’t have it in us due to the elevation.
We hiked back to the car and went to Louis Lake and fished and caught more trout. By the time the day was over with the fishing, we decided to head for home. We went down through Colorado briefly and over to Kansas and spent the night in Salina and then down through Oklahoma and stopped at an animal safari place and then across the Red River to Texas; home sweet home. Another 4 hours and we were at home with the weekend to recuperate.
No gold, but with treasures none the less and ideas about the future searches. I’m still not convinced that it’s not around the Red Desert area somewhere. It’s a cold desert and in the bottom half, you would be going in alone. There are several canyons and the Little Snake River runs through it as well as several creeks. Still so much more to learn.