Sunday, April 01, 2012

The gold has been found

A few weeks ago, I had talked about searching for the Lost Dutchman's gold. I think I mentioned that it was kind of in the back of my mind but I didn't really look for it. I also said that I might keep it a secret if I did find it. Well, after thinking about it for a while I decided that it would be best to tell my story and put an end to the madness. I suppose that fools will continue doing stupid things to kill themselves, but hopefully they will stop doing it in while looking for gold in the Superstition Mountains.

I'm not going to say where it is, so don't get your hopes up. I made sure that any tracks from trips I've made out there are not on my SPOT page. The university archaeology department working on the find is still doing an initial survey and securing the site from looters. They will have a press release when that is done, which should be done soon, so I'm not really letting the cat out of the bag.

I was hiking in an area I had been to a couple of times before a year or two earlier. I went back because I missed the area. It isn't on a trail, though it isn't too far from one. It isn't visited by many people; I've only found one piece of trash there (not counting balloons). I was going upstream in a wash I had hiked downstream in before. It curved to the left, which is the direction I had come from before, but there was a small canyon straight ahead. I hadn't been there before, so naturally I went that way.

Before too long I was thinking that going up there was a bad idea. I was pushing through lots of brush and I don't like that, but I kept thinking I might find something interesting, so I kept thinking I would go just a little further. By the way, if you read my blog, you will know that that is how I usually explore. Nothing psychic or psychotic about this. Sometimes I'm rewarded with fantastic views or interesting sights. Sometimes I find nothing but scratches on my arms. This was turning into one of those scratches-on-the-arms things. I finally turned back. Before too long, though, things didn't look familiar. While concentrating on getting through the brush, I had into a small notch in the side of the canyon. The path must have looked easier in that direction. I wouldn't have seen it on the way up unless I had been looking behind me. Anyway, it looked like a dead end but it was easy walking so I decided to check it out. Less than 40 yards in and around a slight bend was a rectangular hole in the wall. It was rough, about 3 feet high, and not quite as wide as my shoulders and didn't quite look natural.

Of course, it was very dark inside and I couldn't see anything standing out in the bright sunshine. I come prepared for such things, though. I've carried a mirror in my backpack for years and have only gotten it out once before. I got it out now and reflected sunlight into the cave. At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me because of the glittering light reflected back. I propped the mirror up on some rocks and arranged my backpack (which I had taken off to get the mirror out and left off to get through the opening) so my SPOT was aimed at the sky in case I didn't come back (it was kind of spooky). I was thinking about the gold and the Apache curse, but I'm not a superstitious person and didn't really believe I would find anything worthwhile. But I had to look.

There were plenty of sticks around and I used one to poke around in there before going in. I knocked something over and it rang like metal. It also sounded like it was in a large room. I kept telling myself not to get excited. I stood there breathing slowly and deeply, looking all around me for signs of other people, or signs that anyone had been there recently. Nothing. I finally got up the nerve to go in, which took some nerve since my body blocked the only source of light. Crawling into a dark hole in the middle of nowhere. Crazy.

Once inside, I moved over enough to let the light in and then sat there in stunned silence as my eyes adjusted to the dark. I had knocked a bracelet off a small rock pedestal, but most of the gold was in formless lumps in piles against the walls of the "room", going a couple of feet up the walls. I figured there was at least several hundred pounds. I couldn't tell how high the roof was, but the outside was solid rock for at least 25 feet up so it could have been high. No sense in making such a room so tall, so I think the room was mostly natural and might have been modified a little.

I kept thinking about the Apache curse and didn't like the feel of the air in there, so I got out. No, I didn't take any pictures. Too dark, and my built-in flash doesn't work. I wouldn't put them here if I had anyway. Would probably drive some fool crazy.

I stood there shaking and trying to decide what to do. I decided not to tell anyone anything for a few days. I started to walk away without my backpack. I was rattled. I got it (and the mirror) and stumbled and fell back to the wash and then concentrated hard on calming down for the rest of the hike back to the truck. By the time I got home I was able to act mostly normal, though Sweetums did ask me once of something was bothering me.

I finally decided that knowing about that place was too much of a burden for me. I had to turn it over to some archaeologists. There were a few interesting figurines scattered around in there. I've been out there a couple of times with the archaeologists. There was one that rubbed me the wrong way. She seemed devious. I felt like we should be checking her pockets whenever she left. Anyway, she was on her way out of the room once and banged her temple on a protruding rock near the entry. She was in a coma for 3 days and still can't think straight. I keep thinking about that Apache curse. I keep saying I'm not superstitious, either, but I may turn over everything to the university.

There are no pictures from this adventure. Pictures on the outside would be a clue to the location, and I don't know if that will ever be revealed. As I said, I didn't take any on the inside. There is just one last thing that I need to tell you, if you haven't already figured it out. April Fool.

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