This post requires some background to get to what it’s about. The first part is background. The actual subject of the post doesn’t start until ‘way on down toward the bottom.
Back before Y2K happened I spent a lot of years and energy researching and searching the mountains of SW New Mexico for a particular lost gold mine.
Doing a thing of that sort, the smart individual would keep his mouth shut about it. But I don’t qualify in that regard. I spent several years poring over records and winter nights poring over maps with a magnifying glass, almost always certain of knowing where it was, chawing at the bit to get out into the barrancas to file a claim on it. But also putting my research into a form others searching for it might find helpful. Insane.
Eventually I found a location where evidence on the ground fit the legend locations well enough to keep me working the west face of that mountain, climbing and unclimbing it with friends and associates, building up a lot of muscle, finding a lot of interesting rocks, and getting surprising assays, but no joy to speak of on gold.
“A burned out cabin ruin with an aspen tree growing out of the inside, bear claw marks 12 feet up, 3 hand forged nails, a longtom sluicebox axed out of a 3 foot diameter log, a spring 75 feet above the sluice, an arrastra below. A mysterious map chiseled on the face of a 300 pound rock surface depicting the exact layout of the canyon, the cabin, the waterfall, all so accurately depicted the person had to have scrutinized the layout from the mountaintop, then scratched it on this stone 600 vertical feet below and half a mile away. The rock was carefully placed on the canyon wall above eye-level so it was easily seen, but only by someone looking up.”
By 1998 I’d spent a lot more treasure, worn out vehicles, worn out relationships with lady friends and put a lot of friends to sleep going on about it and spending all my waking hours thinking, searching, or talking about it. I decided it had taken up enough of my life and it was time to move on to other things after one final effort.
I took several weeks of vacation from work and spent it determined to get that gold mine out of my life, or into it in a way that didn’t include continued searching for it. During part of it Gale and Dana, another old friend, joined me up there.
But that’s all another story.
During the 1990s I used to get several letters and phone calls a week from other people who were searching for the mine, asking questions about specifics of my research findings, asking questions about various terrain features, or just wanting me to go climb a mountain where they knew it was but didn’t feel like climbing themselves, willing to give me 10% of it if they were correct. Of course they always knew they were correct.
But gradually that all tapered off. In 2003, in the desperate throes of surviving the desperate financial aftermath of Y2K I published a book about my research, and the calls, emails and letters started coming in again for a while, but again gradually receded after a few years. Those guys all got old and everything quieted down.
That lost gold mine slid spang out of my life.
But finally, here’s what this post is about.
Suddenly, beginning a couple of months ago, my old email address box began a new trickle, becoming a stream, of questions about all manner of details about those canyons and researches I elaborated on in the book. Old guys, some older than I, were suddenly making noises about ideas, searches, evidently studying the book and maps, wanting refinements on what I’d described.
2011, every old worn-out has-been treasure hunter in Christendom is suddenly wanting me to search my memory-banks about canyons I once stomped around in. I’ve mostly answered the emails, tried to remember and flesh out what most of them were asking about, but a lot of it’s just too mixed in with too many other canyons, rocks and trails to recover with clarity.
But some of them are actually being subtle but provacative, wanting to argue with me about research findings, value judgements I made regarding 160 year old documents I dug up in the US Archives, military records, and a particular Apache I consider a key in the affair.
Heck, it ain’t as though I found the damned mine. I don’t know where it is, though I spent a lot of years, treasure, sweat, and women thinking I did. Now, suddenly I have people coming out of the woodwork wanting me to change my mind about where I thought it was because my reasons for thinking it weren’t the same as their reasons for thinking it’s somewhere I didn’t think it was.
Absolooooodle, incomprehensibly, insane.
Yeah. It’s real important where I think it is. If I don’t think it’s where it is, that old gold mine’s likely to switch places with where it thought it was. Next thing you know it will be where I thought it was. And that ain’t where these other guys now think it is, so I need to change my mind and think it’s where they think it is. Otherwise it won’t be there.
I have no idea what the hell this is all about. Maybe the price of gold combined with worrying about Social Security has the geezers going crazy thinking they’re 50 years old again.
Billy Vaughn And His Orchestra – The Shifting Whispering Sands ( 1956 )