Just as we were beginning to leave the lake, Billy noticed that the light colored earth near the sunken boat was actually a result of an earthen dam. Well, this was definitely the deal breaker for sure because Forrest Fenn announced to the public that the treasure is not associated with a manmade structure. Earthen Dams are manmade structures.
Black stormy skies with flashes of lightening ripping across the top of mountains threatened to come our way. So, wrapping up our search at the lake, we made a video-tape standing on top of the earthen dam for my Ghost Partner, explaining all my reasoning why the treasure was not there. Then propelled by a clap of lightening, we made ready for our long trek back up the steep and winding trail, while dark clouds quickly rolled their way towards us. Applauds of lightening crashed and boomed, rumbling through the mountains. We picked up our weary pace as we noticed yet another storm coming from a completely different direction approaching us as well.
Billy’s long legged pace got far ahead of me where I could no longer see him. Then suddenly, I heard the Marine horn go off! My god! Its a Bear! Or, is it a Mountain Lion? I began blowing my whistle and readied the bear spray. When I caught up to Billy, I found that he was spooked and rattled by the applauding rumble of lightening close by, mistaking it for a Mountain Lion roaring in the bush ready to ambush him. Nite was quickly approaching with the dark skies closing in.
The Bear “dinner” Bells, kept a steady cadence as we marched on which made me laugh because we sounded like a band of Hare Krishna devotees in the woods with our jingling bells, inspiring me to start chanting “Hare Krishna! Hare Krishna! Krishna Krishna! Hare Hare! Hare Rama! Hare Rama! Rama Rama! Hare Hare! The chant calmed our nerves a bit until rain started coming down on us and both storms met, intensifying lightening that drew dangerously close. There was only a brief moment between lightening crashes and booming thunder. We walked faster with our hearts beating faster from fatigue and safety concerns, our lips and throats sticking together with dryness. We still had quite a ways to go to reach the car.
Now both storms had met right above us and the sky grew wild! Hard rain began falling, pelleting our bodies and thru my hat my brain was hammered. With what little energy we had left in us, we began running as the rain turned in to hard hail pounding on us! In a blink of an eye, everything was covered in white. Ripping thru the sky, the lightening chased us all the way to the car! Soon as we approached the car, we threw open the back hatch door and tossed in the gear, and at that moment, a huge bolt of lightening with out mercy hit the ground as close as 50 feet from us!
Instantly, as if a strong force lifted me off the ground, I felt I was winged and flew in to the car and across the seat to the other side. Billy jumped in right behind me as hail pounded relentlessly on our car. Soaking wet, shivering and shaking, with breathless rapid hearts beats, we struggled long minutes to catch our breaths. For me, lightening is far more frightening than encounters with wild animals in the forest.
Laughing with relief, I poured a cup of friendly hot tea from the blue thermos and sipped in warm comfort while watching everything change before our eyes. Summer became Winter. And we nearly got fried!