I felt something shaking my legs as my eyes slowly started to open. Where am I? What’s touching me? Then I heard a familiar voice say, “Wake up! We’re in Arizona! Let’s go, get up, it’s 7 a.m.” I spent a minute or two getting my eyes to focus on the trailer and my surroundings. Dave! It was Dave that was waking me up. He had this excitement in his voice like a kid on Christmas morning. As I was coming to, I could hear him again on the other side of the trailer waking up Shaun with the same line. Even though I was so tired at first, I felt myself becoming wide awake within seconds as I remembered where we were, and what was on the agenda for the day.
I jumped out of bed, had a good stretch to shake off the night and I quickly got dressed and headed outside. I could hear the rest of the crew talking about how beautiful the sunrise was and I didn’t want to miss out. As I stepped out of the trailer, I could see that Ryan was loading up the truck with his camera and filming gear, Todd was getting his gold pan and metal detector packed up for the day, Antonio had his backpack sitting in front of him, and Dave was leaning against the truck with that look on his face, the look that clearly expressed the excitement that we were all feeling. I felt proud of them! I felt proud of me! I was happy that everyone was just as excited as I was to be here and to get going. We were all on the same page and we all knew it. We took a few pictures of the sunrise and quickly finished up loading the two trucks. We stopped by the closest gas station to buy some coffee and drinks along with a few snacks for the journey. We were heading out for the day and we were ready! We had a hike scheduled for the day and we needed to secure our boat rental for the next day. We made our way past Goldfield and the Superstition Museum and then on to Canyon Lake. The road that led up to Canyon Lake was a winding road with many switchbacks. We wanted to be there now, and it seemed like it took forever.
Todd, Antonio and I were in one truck, while Shaun, David, and Ryan were in the other. It took about 30 minutes to get to our first destination, Canyon Lake. Let me push pause here for a minute. I’d like to rewind a bit to explain why we’re here so that you may understand a few things. Yes, the famous Dutchman mine and it’s glory Legend is well known, but that’s not exactly the real reason we’re here. Indeed, we will keep an eye out for clues on it, but we have other things on our agenda to do and look for in our time here. We’ve spent months preparing this trip and I have spent years researching this area. There’s more to this trip for us than it may seem. We’re here for more than what the average person has heard or studied by looking up ‘The Lost Dutchman Legend.’ Treasures In America has been in contact with many historians, geologists, researchers, and treasure hunters alike that have spent years researching and studying this area. After careful consideration, we agreed that we believe we have many clues, evidence, and time phases of history that go back for a very long time in this area. Even before the Dutchman story ever came about, and these things are right down our alley. I wish I could explain more about the specifics, but remember, a good treasure hunter keeps his closest secrets close and doesn’t reveal too many pieces of the puzzle.
We reached Canyon Lake and we stood there in awe when we saw it. This area is truly a beautiful place, one for the record. After carefully scoping out the area, we headed down the road as there was so much to do and only so much daylight. As we arrived to the area that we wanted to pan and search for long lost mines, we noticed very quickly that the road we had located on the map, wasn’t much of a road at all. We had only planned on hiking about 2 miles that day to reach the area we were interested in. We had a team meeting at the trucks and decided that we were here to explore and find evidence, so even if a 7 mile hike was what it was going to take, than so be it.
We had hiked about 3 miles in and decided to take a break in a small meadow. After a few minutes, we noticed that the area looked like it had been worked. It seemed to be a man made meadow, flat like a work area for a mine perhaps. That’s when we split up into two teams. Todd wanted to pan for gold in the area with David, while Ryan filmed it. Shaun, Antonio, and I wanted to press on to look for these mines/prospects, a few more miles away. We turned on our 2 way radios and both teams wished each other luck as we separated. The crew I was with reached the area of interest and we noticed a couple of old looking rock monuments off trail. I knew we were about 1/2 of a mile away from the mines but the rock monuments needed to be researched and explored. Here, we decided to split up again. I told Antonio and Shaun to be mindful of man-made structures and I was on my way once again. I reached the spot but unfortunately, I only found a few clues to these prospect mines, but no mine dump or mine openings. The day was getting later, faster than I had wanted it to, so I abandoned my search to head back to Shaun and Antonio. When I reached the spot I had left them, I noticed that they weren’t answering to my hollering for them. I took a break to wait and listen for them. About 40 minutes later I could see them making their way back down a steep hill. When they finally reached me, back at the trail, Shaun pulled out his camera and said, “You have to see this! Look what we found high up on this hill.” Deep off the trail, with no sign of modern day trash, footprints, or graffiti, they found Indian ruins. It was a small cliff dwelling that we still need to investigate to determine the time frame of use. What an awesome find! I looked at a few of the pics they had shown me and we were able to pin-point the area with our GPS. We were feeling pretty good as we made our way back to Todd, Dave, and Ryan.
When we all met back at the trucks, we had many stories to tell each other. It turned out to be that we were about 6.5 miles into the Superstition Mountains, and we were sun-burned, hungry, and tired. We got in the trucks and made our way back down the mountain. When we got back to base camp, Todd and Ryan stayed there while Antonio and Shaun left to scout an area of interest for climbing. Dave and I raced to Mesa city to get his tanks filled with oxygen before the store closed at 8:00pm. When I say raced, I’m not kidding. We didn’t know where we were going, we had very little time to get there, and had just arrived barely 5 minutes before the store closed. That night, we sat around the camp fire to talk about our day and to plan the rest. There’s still a lot we need to do in the next couple days.