Side Tracked…

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January 2020

by dal

 

One of the reasons I am such a poor search partner is that I am easily distracted. I call it curiosity. Esmerelda calls it a break and my fellow travelers call it a torment.

First of all, I’ve never had a complete solution…not once. The best I can do from home is to come up with five or six clues. Once I had a blaze before I left home…but only once. It came from one of Forrest’s photos published on this very blog in an area that already interested me. It was a good mile walk from the place I could park my vehicle. But it took me five hours to get there because I am curious.

First, I found a colossal beaver lodge on the river and I could hear critters inside (young beavers?) whining and humming. I sat around and waited to see if I could spot a beaver come out. I didn’t.

Then, a few hundred feet later, I ran across a magnificent acre patch of Sulphur Indian Paintbrush. I spent the next hour crawling around on my hands and knees like a ponderous, giant bee, taking pictures…wide shots, tight shots, extreme close-ups. That was a lot of fun!

Around the next bend I ran into an elk cow and her baby out wading in the Madison. Really…they weren’t crossing it. They were just cooling their heels. Walking a bit up stream and then a bit downstream. I christened them Shirley and Christine. I watched them play in the water for half an hour or so and then I had to make a detour around them and head out toward my blaze.

But it gets worse. I found one of those big anthills with gazillions of (nonbiting) ants that I had to investigate. I watched them carry grains of sand from down at the base of their mountain up to the top and into the entrance. Meanwhile other ants were coming out of that egress carrying other grains and piling them up on the hill. Maybe they were redecorating?. So I named each ant and watched them toil away for a half hour before moving on.

I ran into a shallow pebbly area on the stream and I HAD to stop and look for cool rocks. I look for unique colors and shapes. I pick them up and investigate the sand under them for sparkly grains. I tried skipping the flat ones. I marvel at the nearly perfect round ones.

Any meadow I run into lures me like a sailor to a bar. I love those things and I can spend days photographing a single small meadow of wildflowers. I might never come this way again and the camera is my memory.

A few years ago I was exploring the The Dominguez and Escalante Expedition as a potential key to the riddle of the poem. I was driving near Dinosaur National Monument in CO heading to a place where the 1776 expedition camped close to a spring. When I got within reach an oil outfit had been trenching and laying pipe across miles of open Sage Steppe resulting in a mound of diggings along the now buried trench. Since I am wildly entertained by geology I considered this a huge bonus. I started examining that unearthed Colorado rock like it was gold….How often can you examine what’s under your feet so easily? I was looking for fossils. I ended up spending three days out there just turning over rocks.

After three glorious days I ended up with three beautiful keepers…

Eat your heart out!!!

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I split up so much limestone I think I should be an honorary quarryman. The fish happened when I spent the first day splitting up flat limestone slabs. It didn’t look that good when I found her. That represents a few hours of clean-up at home. I call her Dory. Miles later the boulders were gone and I was cracking smaller rocks…the leaf…finally, there was nothing along the trench except broken crumbly pieces…the shell.

After all that I got back to looking into The Dominguez and Escalante Expedition solution.

So, to get back to my beginning thought… a side-track in nature is a hoot for me, I can stay entertained in one spot much after others have, guzzled all the beer, gone mad and left screaming at me. Those with a more focused view of life and the treasure hunt find me downright annoying to search with.

There’s more to the treasure hunt than the 42lb box.

Just sayin!

dal…