The search began with a quick scan below elephant rock, just to get my feet wet. I started scanning every tree and any patch of woods. I stabbed my metal walking stick around the fallen trees hoping to hear a metal clank of echoing thump. In the first grouping of trees, while stabbing defenseless trees, I heard a thud, so I started scraping off the pine needles. I scrapped the ground furiously only to find that it was frozen tree roots. The excitement is over whelming. Over the next ravine, I noticed that there was a broken metal detector cast aside as trash. Treasure hunters have been here before me, but maybe there was something they missed. I continue my scouring for several hours, but I have a continuing nagging feeling that the chest is hidden just over the river in the small stretch of woods below the cliff.
Most of the other side of the river in way to steep to climb, but how can I get across the river to search. There was a fallen tree a mile back that reached ¾ of the way across, so I could jump the rest of the way, but how could I get back. Up river, I see some large rocks that could be used as stepping stones, so I perch my self on the first two rocks and realize that the distance to the next rock is too far to leap safely. I scan down the river and another staging of rocks that just might work, so I give it another try. The spacing is correct so I set my foot on the middle rock. It settled fine, but as I pushed off with my other foot, my heel slipped on the slime, I couldn’t catch my balance and I slide into the stream.
The good thing was, it was not freezing, because of the hot springs, but I had to cut my search short for the day. Walking in soaked jeans and soggy boots, is not a wise idea, so off to the hotel I go. My iPhone (which is my navigation device) was drench not responding. I found out later that my camera was also ruined. It is a bummer to have fallen, but these things are replaceable, but I have to get my iPhone running again and dry my submerged hiking boots. The boots are waterproof, but they are not immune to water pouring over the edge. The hotel attendant is a Jack of all trades and after several minutes, uses a hair dryer, to bring the iPhone back to life. I thank goodness, I would have been lost without it. The boots and wet clothes are another story, but they can be taken care of later. Much to my wife’s concern, I head back out, to search the rest of the area below the elephant rock until nightfall. This day’s search is done and I have not found anything yet. Tomorrow is another day and I must dry my boots. I hope that you can learn a lesson from my mistake and don’t try to cross a river on slimy rocks. Some one else in wader boots will have to search the other side of the river instead of me. All though from the evidence that I saw along this section of Red River, I do not believe that the treasure chest is here below elephant rock, maybe I was just guided by my own interest in elephants. Then again, if I follow the poem precisely, there is the exact location of when I first glimpsed the elephant blaze, and one more twist on the interpretations of clues, that I must try for tomorrows quest.
Next blog will discuss the twist, the search pattern, and yet another lesson learned.