We just got back from our 19th trip out West. We didn’t find the chest, but had an experience that we will treasure forever. Jeff and I got to our spot and started hiking around in the woods. I found my area and took out my metal detector which Jeff is not really happy about me using after that man got arrested while digging. He’s concerned we’ll end up the next story. I was concentrating on a stump that I felt could have been hollow when someone said hi. My heart stopped and so did Jeff’s I’m sure. It was a young guy who definitely wasn’t a ranger. *whew*
He was a young guy. We introduced ourselves. His name was Pat. He asked what we were doing and I said we were just looking for trinkets. We chatted a bit and I really clicked with him. He said he didn’t live too far and did we want a little tour of the area. Heck yeah! You could tell that wasn’t something he ever did, but you could also tell that he didn’t want us to leave. I wouldn’t have normally felt comfortable following a stranger in the woods…but I just knew he wasn’t a serial killer($bill lol). He ended up telling us his life story. He lives alone in the family cabin and mentioned that he’s lonely, but is grateful he has his animals for company. He took us all the way back to his house and even offered us something to drink…even after he had told us he’s living on $200 a month and food stamps. He had lost his job not that long ago. He was dating a girl for 3 years and was planning to get married, when she left him for his roommate. He has no way to be reached. No email, No cell phone, no mail even. His cabin is small, and he uses solar panels and water he gets from a spring. He showed us his rig for taking showers. He has a big hose that’s wound up in the yard that holds water to warm up in the sun, then has a hose coming off it that’s raised up by some wood to flow down on him. He said we’d be surprised how warm it can get. He told us also about how he’s trying to save the fruit trees nearby by getting more water to them. He’s thought then about how he could sell the fruit. He also has thought about bottling the water by him and selling that.
We had walked probably 5 miles to his cabin(only took 1 to get back lol). Remember, we’re flatlanders. While we were walking he told me all these great stories about the area. He said he had his own collection of arrowheads and rocks which I asked to see when we got to his cabin(they were cool). He told us how there are petroglyphs nearby. He told us about the many caves. He all the sudden said he was treasure hunting and of course my heart stopped again lol. He was talking about those caves. He said there’s great stories he’s heard from his grandfather when he was young about the Indians and the people of the area and how they would hide things in the caves. He said he’s found arrows etched into the boulders that obviously are there to take you somewhere. Of course it made me wonder if Forrest did that and that’s why you can go in consecutive order right to the chest and why you might not need a map.
He told us about some of the families in the area. He said there’s a poor family he knew that have 16 dogs and 5 kids. He talked about how he felt sorry for the kids living in a situation like that. I thought how ironic it is to see this young guy who I’m feeling I wish I could help and he’s thinking of some other kids and how he could help them.
He told us about his dad finding Indian pots while they built their cabin, but that they had sold them off years ago. His family lives nearby, and visits him once in a while. He said his dad is a pretty mean guy, because of his alcohol drinking. Pat said that he drinks too, but not so much. I’m thinking how I hope history doesn’t repeat itself. I was surprised by his knowledge of the area and I think he was too. I said he should give tours to flatlanders and he said that when he went to school no one liked him. I said well, I liked him and thought he had a lot of potential to do great things. I think saying that to a teenager is the best thing you can do. You could tell he had so much ambition. He talked about how other kids were just given new cars and he’s had to work for things.
I’d like to keep a connection with him and maybe some how help him realize some of his dreams. Jeff and I used to volunteer with teens. We got to know this young guy back home in Chicago(we actually live in the country north of there) who was living with a single Mom, her boyfriend and 3 other siblings. We really got close to him and he became a part of our family. The boyfriend had hit him with a 2 x 4 when he was younger and he had to have part of his stomach removed. The boyfriend went to jail for a while, but came back. He would come to our house with his brother asking for food. This boy is now a man with the same girl he’s known since he was 12. They have a son of their own. They have jobs and a house. The Mom and the siblings are all on drugs. I know that being a part of his life was all he needed to see what he could be and what he could have.
Back to Pat….We took a lot of pictures that I wish I could share, but since some people can get information from the data embedded into them, I feel I can’t post them. I told him I’d like to get a photo with him and you could tell he was caught off guard. I think it took him aback a bit to think someone wanted a photo of him. We took one that was pointed towards his little cabin and then he said we should instead have one taken with the mountains behind us. Wasn’t that sweet that he thought about that? I told him what a special day it was for us and what it meant that he took the time to share so much. I gave him $20 and told him that he really should use it to start a tour business or for his fruit stand. I want to come back sometime when I can afford to and bring my girlfriend and her son, and my son. I teased him that I’d like to leave the boys with him so that he can re-train them to live off the land. He’s going to find a way to call me in June and I’m hoping by then I can afford another trip. By the time we got back to our car it was too late to continue our search…ok it really wasn’t…we’re just tired and weak and needed a hot shower and hot coffee lol. What a day I’ll keep forever in my mind. I have a few of those from this Chase. The relationships will always be my favorite part of the search. Till I find the gold. Then the relationships will be second…sorry guys😉 *tease*
Here are a couple pictures from that day.
A few pieces of his collection.
He’s showing me one of his treasures.
The blazes or map the indians used.
Just a quick side note. We found out that Forrest was going to be at the Gold Show in Albuquerque the following day. There was no way I was going to miss a chance to say hi and I just so happened to have my book with me. It was already signed, but I thought he could maybe say something in it. So we woke up the next day really early and hardly able to make it out of bed without a heavy dose of ibuprofen and drove for hours just to get a chance. We had another surprise when we got there when we saw a couple other people holding their own books. I knew they must be “regulars”. I asked this big tall good looking guy if he could figure out who I was from online…yeah I guess I’m kind of obvious..was it the pink toenails? It was Ricky from the Oak blog. I also met Tim Nobody and his wife. They ended up inviting us out to dinner, but we had to go back and wouldn’t be back down till the next day and wouldn’t have the time. He said the invite is open…so maybe one of these days. Then of course we got a chance to see Forrest again which is always the highlight. He signed my book. So now it has two signatures. If I see him again, maybe I’ll have him sign it each time lol. I did have my typical end of search melt down, but I’ve recovered after getting a fix from Google Earth and the roads will soon open in YNP. *song in head* Happy Trails….to you…..
Guess who’s feet????