The alarm woke us at 6am and with no resistance we jump started the day eager for our new adventure. After a hardy breakfast, we headed for the nearest hardware store grabbing every bell the store had, a marine horn that squawks really loud, more bear spray, a small first aid kit, and whistles. Billy was in a rather tense mood as we donned our “dinner” bear bells attaching them on our daypacks and jackets. “Dinner! Come and get it!” he said as he attached more bells on me and my walking stick. I realized that Billy was not feeling so great because of the bear situation and was loosing his joyful spirit for this particular search. He dreaded the feeling of anticipating a Momma Bear and possibly an encounter with a Mountain Lion. It was clear that we were heading for the wilderness and one of Billy’s main purpose of coming along with me on these searches is to offer his gallant strong manliness to protect me from harm as I spritely bounce about the wilderness looking for treasure clues, all the while, he keeps watch for wild beasts and photo documents all my searches.
We were so lucky to have the 4 wheel drive Subaru Forester to manage the rough, unpaved, steep mountain roads driving deep in to the dense forest and wilderness. The area was not marked as we had expected and we drove up and down looking for any indication of where we were to “put-in”. We came to a pull-over where we saw a large horse trailer with two horses being groomed and saddled by two officials, who were helpful in guiding us to a parking area where we could access a small trail to the lake.
After more driving and guess work, we found the right place to park and “put in”, though it took a few wet and muddy trial and errors before we actually dialed in to exactly where we were to enter the woods and make our way to the “X-spot”. Once we got on track, we were in awe with the luscious rich scented forest filled with the colorful abundance of fragrant herbs, columbines, daisies, shooting stars, Indian paintbrush, sunflowers, bluebells, and many more flowers I did not identify. Birds followed us, heralding our presence to other winged ones nearby while Billy had his eyes fixed on reading animal tracks, focusing intensely thru his camera documenting the trail we blazed.
“Look!” he said, “Wild Cat paw tracks right here, see? Looks really fresh too.” He started photographing the cat tracks as I bent down to take a close look. “Yup, sure looks like cat paws to me, um hum. Okay, lets keep going”….
Our bells musically jingled and jangled with every step and move we made. Billy’s interpretation of “Dinner Bells” began to jangle my concerns as our heads quickly turned left and right with wide eyes keenly scanning the dense territory along the way. I carried the bear spray and he held on tight to the Marine Horn. We followed the slippery rock creek which in several places crossed the tiny animal trail we were on. I am always happy to have my walking stick when crossing running creeks, it keeps me balanced and from falling in the water, for the most part anyway. Billy’s camera steadily clicked while keeping a watchful eye out for wild beasts.
Twice we got lost, and had to refer to the map. I can’t express enough how important it is to; take along a proper and really good map when venturing out in the wilderness! That map helped us keep on track, or get back on track when we wandered off. “How much further to the lake?” We kept asking each other, pausing and referring again to the map. “Seems like we should be there by now”. It was a substantial downhill grade for the most part and we began imagining the trek back will be no doubt very strenuous.
After a couple of hours and a lot of walking passed, we still did not arrive at the lake. Our doubts and concerns began to grow for this area not being the place where the treasure is hidden because it is too far for an old man to walk with a heavy treasure box and cache, not only once but twice a trek from his car to hide the treasure. However, I made an agreement with my ghost partner that I’d go all the way and search his “spot”. Billy documented the entire search with both still and video cameras.
Alas! The lake! We finally made it to the little lake that was so pretty, pristine, serene and magical. Certainly this area was beauty worthy for Forrest to choose such a spot to be his final resting place. A place where he could wrap around his treasure box and take his final last breaths, say his fare-thee-well’s to the world, close his eyes and dream of the day some one shall find his bones fallen around his treasure. Yes, this is heaven indeed!
Across the lake, we spotted the same officials on horseback that we encountered earlier. They took notice of us and we suspected that they purposely came to the lake knowing they’d find us there, check up on us and maybe bust us for fishing without a license. No matter how far in the wilderness you hike, it seems that there is always someone watching! However, what they found was a lady walking around and a studious photographer focusing on nature’s beauty. The officials quietly moved on with their horses and disappeared in to the woods.
Now, my Ghost Partner mentioned some logs, tall grass, big tree and a boat. Boat? Where’s the boat I’m supposed to look under? I looked all thru the tall grass as Billy stood in the distance behind trees and bushes taking pictures, keeping on the lookout for the Momma Bear, while I looked in all the possible places the treasure could be. Then Billy spotted the boat…. sunken under water in the lake. In the lake? Really? I’m supposed to dive down under that boat and look for the treasure under there? My Ghost Partner did not mention to bring any diving gear, besides, I’ve already done the snorkel, scuba diving adventure searching at the Dam Spillway last year, and I know that good Ole Forrest did not dive down under water not only once, but twice to hide his treasure underwater, under a boat. I am absolutely positive that the treasure is not down under that boat! I looked inside, outside, under around and thru the big hollow logs, and thru the tall grass. And what about the Blaze? I examined the area my Ghost Partner described as his “Blaze”. The white sandy area did not hold strong as a “Blaze” for me.
After several hours of searching the area, we enjoyed a delicious super power food lunch under the ancient tree. Billy’s favorite grab and go power food is local made “Epic” Bison bars. Free Range, Grass Fed Buffalo, tasty and substantial with a kick of energy. And a must have are nuts, seeds, goji and goose berries, apples and chocolate. Hawaiian Ginger-Lemonade is my favorite drink and when it comes to water; Fiji, SmartWater and Coconut are my favorites because they are high in Alkaline, which really quenches thirst. Savoring our lunch, we studiously accessed the situation, trying to make sense of the clues, as a soft rain began to fall. Far off in the distance we noticed a lot of activity in the sky building dark rain clouds with flashes of lightening heading our way…
to be continued…