Orilla Verde…


Submitted march 2014


Orilla Verde — The Slide Trail

Begin it where warm waters halt – Manby Hot Springs. This hot springs is just north of the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge near Taos. This was the starting point of my search (Forrest always asks searchers where their WWWH is located because that is the beginning , although I do believe the previous lines contain hints). I did not physically start there because The Slide Trail that I wanted to hike was more easily accessible by road if you drove there from Pilar.

And take it in the canyon down, Not far, but too far to walk.—The Slide Trailhead is about 12 miles downstream from Manby Hot Springs via the Rio Grande River gorge. However, one can drive to the trailhead and park their car there via the Orilla Verde Recreation area.



Put in below the home of Brown. – The high, rugged hills above the confluence of the Rio Grande and Rio Pueblo de Taos (at The Slide Trailhead) is an area known for the herd of Brown bighorn sheep that usually graze in this area.


From there it’s no place for the meek, — The Slide Trail follows the old Rt 110, which was part of a spur of The Old Spanish Trail, which is described as “… the longest, crookedest, most arduous pack mule route in the history of America…”

The end is ever drawing nigh — to me, this meant two things: follow the river/stream/creek that was to the left of the confluence of the rivers (if going downstream from Manby Hot Springs) where I “put in below the home of Brown, and secondly, that The Blaze and the end of your search isn’t too far away.

There’ll be no paddle up your creek,  – The word “creek”  indicates a smaller stream than the Rio Grande, so I see it as a clue to follow the Rio Pueblo de Taos (upstream from the confluence) instead of the Rio Grande. In fact, it is so narrow and full of boulders that no one could ever paddle up this creek.


Just heavy loads and water high. – The heavy loads could mean the pack mules that used to travel this route and the area of boulders (the Slide) that covers a small section of the trail. And water high could mean the various ravines and gullies that cross the trail and what probably caused the Rock Slide.


If you’ve been wise and found the blaze – the previous clues took me to the blaze, which I think was the Slide area. It should stand the test of time and be visible hundreds of years from now. I also thought the bigger blaze could be The Old Spanish Trail itself. Then you can narrow that blaze down to the Slide, and the real blaze of all blazes was the owl (wise) petroglyph / fossil-looking mark on the big, white boulder “blaze” that stood out amongst all the other boulders along the trail in the rock-slide. At this point, my adrenalin was raging—I thought I was so close.






My owl blaze


Look quickly down, your quest to cease – I looked on the downhill side of the trail towards the river (creek). It was not too steep, and it wouldn’t have been too difficult to get to the river. Forrest should have been able to carry the chest (especially making 2 trips) from the parking area at the trailhead to this location (probably less than half a mile). Plus, it is also a bike trail which I took note of when a fellow on a bike passed me (Forrest stated in an email to Dal’s blog “what is wrong with me just riding my bike out there and throwing it in the water high when I am through with it”. This was his (Forrest’s) response about dying near the treasure chest.


But tarry scant with marvel gaze, Just take the chest and go in peace… Your effort will be worth the cold. – the word cold indicates you need to wade across the creek


If you are brave and in the wood I give you title to the gold. – The word brave indicates Indian, and this side of the creek is part of the Taos Pueblo Tract A land. In the wood refers to trees, “not in a tree but surrounded by trees.”  There was a grove of junipers or pinons along the river at this particular place. However, I didn’t see this grove of trees as being “a special place” to Forrest, so I looked near the owl blaze boulder for a more “special place”.


Nearby was a beautiful grove of aspens, nestled in a gully that often had a pool of water near the trail, with rock outcroppings and huge boulders all around.  To me, this was a special place in an area that is otherwise very arid and desolate with few trees. There were plenty of spaces beneath the outcroppings where the treasure chest could be hidden, and he could die near it, without being seen, unless you are really looking for him/it.



Is that a boulder of an owl face? Another blaze?!

Is that a boulder of an owl face? Another blaze?!

I spent an hour searching around the aspens, boulders, and rock outcroppings but could not locate the treasure chest. Not a big surprise, though, as this area has been searched by many previous ff treasure hunters over the last 3 to 4 years. However, most of us searchers know that the real treasure was my day spent outside in the beautiful weather and scenery, another day in The Thrill of the Chase.

I am done searching this particular trail and will move on to my next search area next week. (Also in NM)

I hope some of you searchers enjoyed reading about my search area as much as I do reading yours. Good luck and be safe!