My wife and I made this trip (my 4th trip, her 3rd) on June 15-17, 2013. I had been planning this trip for about a month, but what I had not planned was flying up the week previous to meet with my brother, who had used cryptology to ascertain an approximate location of the treasure that just so happened to be in the same place as mine. You may recall that on my very first trip I found a boulder with a painting on it. My brother’s location was an aerial view of this painting. I could not resist but to make an impromptu trip up to check it out (that was my 3rd trip). We found nothing. So, after having a few days to contemplate my failures of the previous week, I had a new place to check out, just slightly to the west of my brother’s spot (I thought I knew what the blaze was). I had other objectives as well. I wanted to check out a certain cemetery, and, as a favor to a fellow blogger, I would search out his site as well (I am using “his” as a generic term, indicating that this person could also be a female).
We arrived at our spot at about 3:00 pm, and began the trek towards the treasure. We took our Toyota Corolla rental car up an ascent of 1000 feet where only ATV’s normally go. We met several of these 4-wheelers on our way up the mountain and they must have thought we were crazy. We got to the spot where it was time to get out and hike. We had a GPS tracker that had our spot honed in, and we were about .7 miles from it. It did not take us long to realize that there “IS NO WAY IN THE WORLD” that an 80 year old man made this hike. We got to within .4 miles of our spot, looked up at the 1000 –foot ascent ahead of us, and gave up and turned back. I need to find another blaze!
It was about 5:30pm at this time, and we had just enough time to drive 3 hours to our next spot, the cemetery. This was in keeping with our schedule because we wanted to get to the cemetery at dusk, so that we could see what there is to see at this particular cemetery at night (because of so many references in the book to cemeteries at night). We got to our cemetery at about 9:00pm. We were thankful that we were out of sight from any passer-byes and pretty much had the place to ourselves. We found the particular grave we were looking for, and took note that it was in a very unique spot in the cemetery. But, short of digging up the grave, we did not know what to do at this point. This made me think that I at least need to carry a pin-point metal detector with me to look for things that may be buried shallow (like a bell or a jar).
Now is where it starts getting a little weird. My wife and I just relaxed at the cemetery for about an hour. During this time I called up the fellow blogger to find out just where this spot of his was. I was surprised to find out that it was just a few miles from my cemetery. I had planned to wait until morning to check out his spot, but decided that since we were so close, we should just drive down to check it out. We arrived at the general location of his spot at around 11:00pm. I should make mention that I had already gone without sleep for about 30 hours at this point, and that fact alone made this experience feel like an episode of the Twilight Zone. We were in a rather populated area, a public place with buildings all around, and an occasional person or couple walking by. I was not sure where the specific spot was as I was not familiar with the area, and so I quickly decided that I needed to park the car so we wouldn’t look suspicious by slowly driving around the area. My wife’s toe was hurting from the hike, so she was happy to stay in the car while I checked out the place.
I re-read a message from my fellow blogger as I was walking around, and realized that he had given some pretty good instructions that would lead me right to the spot, so I began walking towards the spot. Now I was told that this spot (a building) would have some very unusual markings on it. I had my flashlight with me, and I checked every exterior wall of that building looking for these mysterious markings, but found nothing. I did find the letters “TC” marked in white chalk on one of the stones though, “Treasure Chest”, I laughed to myself, but this was not one of the things I was supposed to be looking for.
I was beginning to feel very much like a prowler at this point, probably because I was one. I was being pressed by my blogger friend to look closer for these signs, and I began to think that I was in desperate need of an alibi should someone see me skulking around that building at midnight. So, I went to retrieve my wife from the car. With my wife with me, we could at least pretend we were making out in the shadows of that building if we were discovered (that’s how they do it in the movies).
We checked that building out very carefully with our flashlights a total of three times. We found nothing. It was time to find a hotel and get some much needed sleep. I don’t know how I made it to Livingston that night. I can’t remember the last time I had gone without sleep for so long. But we got a good night’s rest, and at noon the next day we were driving back to the airport for the trip home. It was a 2-hour drive to the airport, and we arrived at our restaurant near the airport at around 3:00pm, with plenty of time to have lunch and then catch our 5:20pm flight. But then I began talking on the phone with my blogger friend. He says I need to go back, because the treasure is in the tree next to the building. Really? It would have been nice to know this last night, not now. He tells me that if I don’t drive back there I will be making a big mistake. He was really convincing, but I was very hesitant to miss my flight and stay another day on the outside chance that Forrest took a chainsaw, and carved out a treasure shaped opening in a tree, disguised the treasure to match the form and texture of the tree, and then hope that some groundskeeper did not discover it. I can’t believe that I even considered going back. Well, common sense won out, and I headed for the airport to catch our flight, only to realize that I left my battery charger for my computer at the restaurant. Going back to retrieve it caused me to miss my flight.
We stayed another night in the mountains north of Santa Fe. I was just a little tempted to rent another car and make the 6-hour round trip to check out that tree, but my wife convinced me that I (and perhaps someone else) was crazy. We stayed put at the hotel, and caught an early flight home the next morning.
The story actually gets weirder from here. I am not sure how much of it I should share, but let’s just say for now that I have a new rule: I will not enter into any partnerships with fellow bloggers.