SUBMITTED AUGUST 2015
This little adventure in my vast travels during this chase I have been lured into hook line and sinker started two trips prior when I was accompanied by my wife Luly to whom I wanted to show the beautiful country and extensive history of the area I had been searching for approximately a year now.
There was a blaze I had found up a canyon on the other side of the river that I wanted to search around and below but because of snow melt the usually calm and easily fordable river was a mocha colored raging torrent of froth accompanied by a deafening roar that no one in their right mind would try to cross unless you were into body kayaking and being slammed into rocks. With the river being so high we decided to investigate some other areas I had wanted to search while taking photos and sightseeing along the way.
After a couple of weeks had passed I was headed down the highway on my next trip and was excited because the river had subsided a considerable bit and I would more than likely be able to cross with my waders on. Upon arriving at the river I gathered my gear threw on the waders, looped my shoes around my neck and made my way across. Once on the other side I stashed my waders and made my way up to the blaze, and I have to admit I was excited because I was confident that the chest was going to be resting there in all its beauty under my rock with my blaze on it or at least nearby. Well Ill tell ya I searched all around that blasted rock but didn’t find a thing except a little humility and some more courage to move on.
I had told Luly on the previous trip that if the chest wasn’t found at my blaze on this trip I was going to hop over the ridge into the adjacent saddle to see what I could find. Once on the other side and in the saddle I started scanning around with my optics and found another blaze and decided to go investigate it. It was located up near the top of the saddle nestled among some large rocks with a few pines nearby.
When I made it to this blaze I was standing there trying to figure out the meaning of what I was seeing when I looked quickly down and saw it, the rabbit hole. I thought to myself now way this cant be where it is hidden, while at the same time telling myself this is it, this is the spot, jackpot! ching! ching! ching! ching! I peered down into the hole with my flashlight and after some contemplation decided it would be best to return on another trip with some rope and my wife or daughter for safety reasons.
Well the weekend finally arrived for my journey into the uncertain darkness and I could feel the adrenaline flowing because I just knew the chest had to be down there somewhere, and the thought of venturing down into that hole was exciting in itself. I slapped on the waders again and started making my way across the river which luckily for me was still low when all of the sudden I slipped and myself and part of my pack went into the water but thankfully my camera, wallet , and cellphone did not get wet.
After crossing and taking inventory of my gear I made my way to the blaze and started prepping for my descent, which reminds me, I don’t know if anyone has seen the movie the decent but I thought about it and was a little creeped out, plus the thought of rocks caving in on me crossed my mind as well and had me a little worried.
I fastened my rope around a large rock near the entrance unraveled and threw it down the hole. I then prepped my Go-Pro, threw on the gloves, turned on my flashlight and started my journey down into the emptiness. I also keyed my spot GPS one last time to mark my location in case I did not return and give searches coordinates of where to look.
Making my way down the narrow crevice I had to straddle a rock and then kind of belly slide down the rock with barely enough room between my chest and back until I felt my feet touch as it was too tight to turn my head and look down to see where my feet were. I kind of felt like a sandwich.
The first room was about eight x eight feet and approximately thirteen to fourteen feet high with enough light shining down through the hole so that you could see what you were doing. I lifted rocks sifted through the dirt and found nothing, zilch zip, nada. I thought I might at least find some signs that someone had been down there before living or buried.
After exploring the first chamber I had to kind of wiggle my way around some rocks into a smaller adjacent room that didn’t appear to hold much promise of hiding a chest in it but I still scanned around the room with my light hoping to catch a glimpse of the bronze beauty, but as fate or Fenn would have it, I found nothing. There was however another hole that went down into a lower chamber and it had a long cedar or pine pole that disappeared into the darkness below. Some one had to of put it there because there is no way it could have arrived at that location on its own. It appeared that whoever lived in the cave used it to get down into the room below, but as I discovered later a grown man could do it without using the pole, it just made it easier and probably assisted the women and children of the tribe. I didn’t think Forrest would go any deeper than the first room at 79 or 80 years of age but I was already there and adventure was calling so I proceeded on just to see what I might find.
Before I headed down into the bottom chamber I made sure my rope was taught and proceeded to make my way down into the unknown. The pole leading down to the room had nubs on it where branches had been which actually made for some good footholds as I made my descent. As I made my way down It was starting to get really dark as there was only a hint of light filtering through the opening above. Once I felt some firm ground below my feet I let go of the rope turned my flashlight on and started scanning the room.
This lower room I would estimate was fifteen feet in length and about eight or nine feet wide at its widest point and varied between seven feet at its highest point down to about three feet at the back. When I turned on my light I was expecting to see bones and the chest or at least some old Indian artifacts or wall paintings but once again nothing, just dirt and rocks, not even any sign animals had been in there. I did lift some rocks again and move some dirt with no success. I came to the conclusion that this dwelling or burial site had been robbed a long time ago, or the Indians that had inhabited it did not leave a trace so that they could not be tracked by cowboys or cavalry. I do know the Indians used the spot because of some clues I found just outside the entrance, and those are for you to contemplate. I plan to go back in there again with a metal detector and my daughter someday just to show her what I found I’m sure she will enjoy it as much as I did.
Eve though the rock cavern was empty and I did not find the chest the whole adventure was a thrill in the chase. I have to be honest I am not surprised that the chest was not there and Ill tell you why, unless Fenn hid the treasure on land that is not public or accessible by the public by permission there was no way I was going to find the chest on this day but none the less the whole experience was a blast, and I found a few other caverns that I plan to explore on a later date.
This adventure was first published on The Lorax’s blog and is published here with permission. The Lorax’s blog can be found here.