Lost Mines

Legend holds that a great treasure lies hidden somewhere in or near the Superstition mountains: The Lost Dutchman's Mine was the richest gold mine discovered in the American west, its secret location forgotten with the death of Jacob Waltz.

By: D.S.

The year I moved to Arizona four people died looking for the Lost Dutchman. I should have been scared away but I couldn't stop thinking about them. Why did they throw away their lives for this? Was there really something too it, enough to risk dying for? Asking around a bit didn't get me anywhere, most of the locals hadn't heard of it, or if they had it was only in relation to the recent deaths. Unsure of where to go next I tried the library's Arizona Collection, and that's where things got started.

There were dozens of tales of varying trustworthiness. In the last hundred years the mine's legend had waxed and waned in popularity. Sometimes a decade would go by and when it seemed it had vanished in history, someone would launch a new expedition. There were accounts ranging from solo adventurers, to the largest expeditions, with hundreds of participants traversing the mountains on foot and backed up by helicopter air support.

We didn't have a helicopter but we did have a fast car and we picked up where history had left off. We visited the Superstition Mountain Mueseum, and the Arizona Bureau of Mines. Geologists affiliated with Arizona State University were consulted. We had access to Team Crowbar's extensive informant network and whenever possible clues emerged we took off into the desert to investigate. We became obsessed with the mine, hidden for a century, filled with gold. It was out there waiting for us. It had to be!

When a flash flood eroded a riverbank and revealed a historic trash mound buried for decades, we picked through the exposed detritus. Later we were told about an enormous cottonwood tree that had toppled over in the storm, only to reveal a large plaster object tangled amid its roots. We raced back out at midnight to see and stand by while the plaster seal was hammered opened and revealed what had been hidden decades ago. At one trailhead, a US Forest Ranger chided us, claiming he could just tell we were hunting for the treasure.

One day a co-worker told me that if I ever disappeared he would assume I had found the treasure and left to start a new life somewhere. I laughed but then considered the four bodies, still yet to be found in the mountains. Could they have found what we were all looking for? Everyone had just assumed they were dead, but why? Because only a crazy person goes hunting treasure, and crazy people don't survive in the desert. But like the gold itself, perhaps when its hunter disappears the mysteries they leave behind stay with us forever.

Two more hunters join the crowd.

It's out there.


See the world, they
told me...

bayou goula towhead

the sea test

the circumnavigator pt5
the circumnavigator pt4
the circumnavigator pt3
the circumnavigator pt2
the circumnavigator pt1
falling dream
the darkness
one hell of a mile 3&4
he will return
the believers
the horror pt2
the horror pt1
death valley

paradise of outlaws
the mountain climbers 1&2
brought to surface
one hell of a mile 3
the lost world
inner gorge
a ghost story
the riddle
slaying the minotaur
heart of darkness
public lands
organ music
two sought adventure
the virgin river
the road north

steal the world
the end of the world
el dorado
the valley of the kings 2
the valley of the kings 1
one hell of a mile 2
one hell of a mile 1
the mountain climbers rr4
heroes rr3
rainy roadtrip 2
rainy roadtrip 1
the transgression
sinister 2
sinister 1
new chapter

like sedona?
torn in two
bridge to nowhere
the door
hitting the wall
elusive 2
elusive 1
pick up lines

revisited 2
revisited 1
which way?
lost mines
in their footsteps
a dance with death

casting the bones
mountain thief
the deer hunter
strange temple
burial pt. 3
burial pt. 2
burial pt. 1
the apparition
return to hell
the lower depths
underground lake
stretch sewer
the hidden lab
shadow movements
meager rations
sw8: the conclusion
sw7: lost gold mines
sw6: the big tubes
sw5: gold!
sw4: el calderon
sw3: redondo
sw2: ghosts
sw1: westward bound
formaldehyde dreams
the underdark
in the beginning