On this particular day, we were determined to find some silver, but not for our bank accounts. The silver we were looking for is a three-inch cross that is affixed a few inches from the ground on the side of a rock. Randy had told us about this cross on another hiking trip. He said that a hiker accidentally discovered it as he was kicking aside some leaves. Randy had seen the cross himself and did his best to direct us to it.
|The "buffalo chip" rock formation|
|See Crab Eyes in the center? Everything to the right of Crab Eyes was fair game. Needle in a haystack?|
|Michael dramatically searching for the cross|
Several times I would pull out my camera and scrutinize the picture of the picture of the buffalo chip rock formation and compare it to the scenery before us. Every possibility was ruled out for one reason or another. No, there are no trees on top of the rock. No, the terrain in the foreground doesn't match. No, the rock isn't that smooth, or that textured, or that color. Finally, I spotted one that was a definite possibility. It certainly looked like a buffalo chip to me, but this wasn't the first "buffalo chip" landmark that Randy had pointed out for us to find on our adventures.
The closer we got, the more real the possibility of a match became. The thin trail we had been following continued on to the right, so we turned left and headed toward the giant buffalo chip. We started exploring the right side of the rock formation, just as described. Randy mentioned that the trees in the area had been burned, but so had a third of the refuge. We referred to the horrible picture of a picture of Randy sitting on the rock with the cross and started kicking leaves aside and examining the rocks in the area. It wasn't long before my hiking buddy hollered out in excitement. I can't believe I ever doubted that we would find it.
Sure enough, there was the silver cross securely epoxied to the ESE side of the rock. And, just a few feet away to the northwest was the tree growing up through the ring of a rusted wagon wheel rim, just as we were told. I was in complete and total awe that we hiked an hour and a half into the refuge - following various trails and not - and went right to the spot we intended to find. We were asked later if we had GPS coordinates to follow, and the answer is "no".
|The REAL hidden treasure!|