On the second day of searching, I went back and tried to follow the poem as precisely as possible. I went back to the outcrop of rock where I first saw the image of the stretching elephant and searched around the river. It was similar to the day before, lots of trees and rocks, but no treasure. I searched up stream and down until the river pinched off to much soil to walk.
I moved my search pattern across the road and
found this recognizable ‘W’ where 3 trees had grown together, could this be the ‘Wood’? I searched the ground and looked up in the wood, but to no avail. The treasure was not here and there was as much evidence of previous searching and careless discarding of items in this neck of the woods. To make sure that I check everywhere possible headed back up stream under the elephant rock to remove the void of yesterday before wet search and the after wet search, only to find out that I had basically search the whole river area. I saw a fallen tree that extended the width of the river and was large enough to cross and considered balancing my way over. However, this bridge did not connect to the bigger wooded area on the other side. I finally decided against it and if the chest is there, someone else will have to find it. To complete the search of this area, I moved to the Elephant rock campground. It became quickly apparent that there was were not as many hiding spots and it seemed very trampled by numerous hiking boots. This was not a good place to leave treasure chest obscured.
Then I acted on a twist of the 9th clue. ‘If you are brave and in the Wood’.
- Is it brave to step back and look behind you? Kinda, but not really strenuous
- Is it brave to search a grove of Tree in front of you? A bit more brave than just looking down, but not really a stretch of nerves.
- I propose, that it is brave to completely move from where you are and proceed north of the Blaze.
The reasoning of this bravery, is that if would take faith to move from where you are in the search and Santa Fe means ‘Holy Faith’. Since Forest said search North of Santa Fe and you put your faith in finding the blaze. Maybe Forrest also means we should at this point faithfully search a similar distance north of the Blaze. It’s a bit of a stretch and does double the search area, but we are already in here and it should only take another hour. OK, so lets be brave.
North of Elephant Rock is another canyon. I have the road names and I ready to go. I travel through the backstreets of Questa and reach the forest road. As I enter the canyon, my cell phone loses it’s signal. I expected this so I switch to my printed MapQuest map. The signs tell me that Midnight road is 14 miles away, after Midnight road, there is a trail that correlates well to directly north of Elephant Rock. I drive a very long way and pass Machette Rd followed quickly by a road to Red River and Park, the sign tells me that Midnight road is still 7 miles away, so I keep trudging ahead on the dirt gravel, rock infested road. I drive through patches of snow, nothing the SUV can’t handle and eventually reach an extended patch of snow. Thinking that
it wasn’t too deep and I had just passed an open gate that would have closed the road. I figured that I was safe to proceed. Well, after spinning out a couple times, the SUV slid to a halt. I grew up in Missouri so I know how to get unstuck from the snow, I was on a 12 ft wide cliff overhang, that did not leave much room to shimmy or shack. I was quit concerned, but since there was no one coming. I used the shovel in away that I had not expected. I removed the snow from behind the front wheels and added traction the best way I knew how. I sacrificed my beloved ski tested handkerchief. Tearing it in 2 I placed it under each wheel so that the tires would grab it for traction. It worked fantastically, and I thought I was brilliant. Until as I was serpentining away from the edge, the SUV got stuck in deeper snow. I ran back to get the cloth pieces that had served so well before and aligned them with the tires, as the engine reved, with no motion, I worried that I was really stuck this time, the rental car company was really not going to be happy with me now. I rechecked all my tires, and in the process noticed that this SUV had eco 4 wheel drive. No wonder it had been throwing snow from the rear as well. Whoo Hoo, I dug out the back wheels as well repositioned the purple ripped scarfs and began rocking the car, back and forwards. Still stuck. I even put the car in neutral and tried to push it backwards (Yeah, I know crazy, but I was desperate now). Ok, one more try, dig out, reposition, and rock. Finally this time we broke free. Just to slide back into another hole. Well at least I knew what to do. Dig out, retrieve and reposition scarfs, and slowly back up. This time it took and I backed all the way free of the snow. Swooo, lessened learned, don’t drive in snow even on a warm day.
So I felt dejected and headed back to Santa Fe.
On the way, I saw the 2 turns and realized that Midnight was not the road I wanted after all. It was Machette, that was named wrong on google earth and Mapquest. So I exuberantly turned around and search the park for ‘FF’ or any other blaze, what I found were many good hiding places and many, many blazes, that were not the blaze that I wanted. These pics show the Aspens, like a tattooed fore arm and the tree stump would have made an awesome treasure bunker. The search was riveting, but alas, I did not find that trove. Maybe I was lured here by my own curious elephant safari.
Well off to take some pics and then back to the Hotel for a night of poker and sleep. Tomorrow will be another Pachyderm Junket of searching.
The next blog will discuss the clue rational for the next search.