Essays, Stories, Adventures, Dreams
Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek
The Gold is Buried at …
His dying words were numbers that I cannot remember but as he feebly put the hand-written scrap of paper into my hand, I knew that the long string of numbers was akin to the combination to the safe of a bank vault.
Buried treasure is presumed to be secure by the person or persons who buried it. Alas, history is filled with stories both true and false about how treasure was buried to keep it hidden until the designated time. When the burying took place in remote places that are difficult to reach and perhaps equally difficult to return to, for a number of reasons, we are sometimes left with fantasies that refuse to go away. In some cases, the treasure stays buried.
The Chronicles of a Footloose Forester are non-fiction creations, but it is not as if the author cannot conjure up a fictional account, just to make a point. At this stage, the point is: numbered map coordinates that have geospatial accuracy mark the evolution of mapping notation for the foreseeable future. We can use them to notate places where we wish to go, or use geospatial notation on the very first occasion we wish to mark the spot of a treasure to be shared.
It is one thing to refer to a paper road map to realize that the next town on the other side of the pass has a pizza parlor on Main Street, but it is another to see the outlines of the pizza place and the availability of parking near-by. The Footloose Forester had to consult with a Google aerial photo of Gillette, Wyoming to verify the name of the Chinese restaurant where they had dined three years ago. The identity came into focus by inspecting the location of the parking lot in relation to the building itself, and the shape of the sidewalk leading to the front door. That was one way to do it, a time-consuming inspection of maps and photographs, based on figments of memory. The other way is to share the location with others with the geographical coordinates of: 44.293805, -105.526084. It may seem cryptic but it is not secret. Use a Google Earth or a Bing mapping program and you will zoom in to the precise location of the Hong Kong Restaurant. Furthermore, the page of notation will also give you the address of 1612 W 2nd St. in Gillette. Not surprisingly, modern mapmakers want to cash in on the technology they have been building for decades. Thus, the Bing map image also carries the labels of © 2020 Maxar and © TomTom. Are you still puzzled? Here is the aerial view.
[photo (pending) of Gillete, Wyoming]
Just because a dying man gave me a scrap of paper with the numbers 35.129214, -107.855148 did not mean that finding the buried gold was going to be easy. The area is a true wasteland and the seeker has to be on his A-game to find it. Try out the coordinates and find out for yourself what you are up against.
The lava field does not get visited and there are no trails
Burying anything of value has acquired a new dictionary word and that word is geocaching. There are computer and mapping skills involved, but like most things digital, there are experts who know how to use the tools to advantage. Just in case you are looking for a place to bury your gold, a very isolated area in New Mexico might be appealing. Be sure your number sequence is accurate and kept secret.