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Orange not-so-pyrite.
nate
post Dec 15 2015, 06:00 PM
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June 1959.

I set out on horseback from town with 2 of my cousins. We were planning to head northwest from town, up the canyon and eventually make our way in the direction of pikes peak. We were out of town about 12 or 15 miles when the terrain got too tough for the horses. My cousins and I decided to take it on foor and hike up a ways to check things out. After topping out on a flat area, we realized that we were at the site of an old Ute or Navajo camp. You could tell it had once been a home of natives because of several things. First of all, there were almost perfect rings of grass from where the tepees had sat. Apparently even with the century or more that had passed, the topsoil that had been gathered hadnt washed away from it being nice and packed down. Only a guess, but something had kept those 10 or 12 tepee rings there. There were also the undeniable signs of a native camp. We searched and dug around for a while pulling out broken pottery, broken arrowheads and relics of the people who never owned, but always took care of this land. We decided to keep moving and on up the mesa a ways we realized the ground was damp. Not having any recent rain, our curiosity led us following the wet ground. As we moved on up, the ground got more and more wet until we noticed a spring coming out of the ground. The water flowed out, down a ways and then seeped back into the ground. I guess it went into some underground aquifer or creek and later emptied into a rived. Examining the wet ground some orange color caught my eye. Washed clean from the water was what my older cousin told me was orange pyrite. Apparently there wasnt any value in it, but I picked up the flakes as I went just because it looked nice. We carried on our way, the others not thinking too much of the two rather interesting areas that we had seen. As for me, I went back up there a couple times. The view of the peaks along the frontrange was amazing and I just couldnt resist being out on my adventure. Each time I passed the area where that little spring popped out, I picked up the noticeable flakes of pyrite and kept them all in a tin at home. Less than a year later, I signed with the military and left for several years. I returned home after than and with the busyness of life, didnt think too much of my adventures from years before. It wasnt until maybe 10 years after that, that my grandmother mentioned in passing the money she gave to my mother when I went to the military. I asked her about it and she told me how she had given my mother $600 for the gold that I gave grandpa. GOLD!?!?!? I had had no idea. When I shipped out, I had to get rid of a lot of my things that I couldnt take with me. That tin of pyrite was something I thought my grandpa might like to think of me by. Apparently at some point he got curious about it and had it checked out. Yep, they said, you got some orange pyrite there. But, most of that stuff is Colorado Gold. With my 3 trips up there, picking up those flakes I had found $600 worth of gold that my mother had gotten money from as well as a couple hundred dollars my grandmother kept. Like anyone, I wanted to go back up there. Unfortunately, by that time I had a pretty bad decline in my health. Blood clots in my legs and climbing mountains just dont go together. I know I'll never make it up there, but I can remember like yesterday the view we had and what that place looked like. The twin peaks out to our west, the plains out to the east. You know, if you had a good topo map, I could show you right about where we were at. Nate, maybe you could go on that gold adventure for me. Ive lived in this town to this day and have yet to ever hear of gold being found up in that spot by anyone else.


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nate
post Dec 15 2015, 06:12 PM
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This is a true story told to me about a month or so back. Since then, I have spent several hours chatting with this gentleman. As any adventurer would do, I found a nice topo map with raised features and took it back to him as a gift for sharing his stories. Hes planning on putting it up on his wall so he can look at it all the time. You never know who you might meet and what may come of it. it all started by me saying hello, asking how his week was going and chatting a bit. At one point in our conversation I told him I had been doing a little prospecting as of recently. He said "like lookin for gold?" "me "More or less, but I've been looking for gems. " Him "well i found gold once, you know these hills are still full of gems and gold" and that is where this story began......now for the question that you are all wanting to ask, "DID YOU CHECK OUT THAT MAP TOGETHER" .....well of course. With a little more research, I'm not so unsure I cant walk to within a couple hundred feet of it. He may be closing on 80, but his memory and directions are sharp as a tack. Whats even more fun, is while checking out the map I gave him, he noticed several mines that were documented on there that his grandfather had talked about. As the story goes, while rabbit hunting.......his grandpa found what may be the location of some treasure. Ill save that story for another day. But lets just say, his grandpa took out what he could and still had it in his possession until he died in the 60s......and told only this gentleman, who today told me, all he knows about where a wagon load of gold was stashed......


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Crusty
post Dec 15 2015, 06:28 PM
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That's awesome you linked up with him and he is sharing some Colorado history with you!


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nate
post Apr 26 2017, 06:49 PM
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To continue this story......

"Whats even more fun, is while checking out the map I gave him, he noticed several mines that were documented on there that his grandfather had talked about. As the story goes, while rabbit hunting.......his grandpa found what may be the location of some treasure. Ill save that story for another day. But lets just say, his grandpa took out what he could and still had it in his possession until he died in the 60s......and told only this gentleman, who today told me, all he knows about where a wagon load of gold was stashed......"

So this seemed like only a tale to me, but i sat down with him several more times to hear more anyway. The story does go as so many tales often do with grandpa out rabbit hunting with a little snow on the ground.

"Grandpa was out hunting in the canyon up from his house when he saw a rabbit run into a hole. Figuring he could dig this rabbit out of its little burrow, he pulled away a few branches and started opening up the hole with his hands. Immediately he realized the rabbit hole was actually a small cave that had been mostly covered over. Also, the cave didnt smell like any other hole in the earth smelled before, it was a little more....metallic or something. Grandpa kept digging and found there was a layer in the bottom of the cave was what seemed like a partially rotted, old, army style, canvas covering of some sort. Wondering what it was covering, he scraped/pulled back the layer only to find coins and heavy little bars. IT WAS GOLD! Grandpa told me he only had his prince albert tobacco can with him and a few extra shotgun shells in his pocket, so he did what any feller would do: he put as many coins and bars into that tobacco can as would fit. After that, he covered it back over a bit as not to be too obvious and eased on back to the house. I never thought to ask him about that rabbit.

Grandpa had told me this story several times and never having had any reason to doubt his integrity, I believed him. My uncles on the other hand were kind of bitter men. One day they heard him recounting the story to me and, interrupting him, called him a liar cause they had never seen a speck of that gold. Grandpa looked at me when they left and said, "that evil heart right there is why ill never tell them where i found it. that gold would do nothing but destroy them". It was sad to see that look in my grandpa's eyes that two of his sons were the kind of men that would disrespect their own daddy because of a story they didnt believe. Anyway, Grandpa told me to wait right there and he headed out the back door. A few minutes later he came back, dumped the gold out of the tobacco can, and laughed a little when he saw my face. Im pretty sure he was going to give me a coin, but about that time my uncles came back in and noticed they had been wrong all along! They demanded the location and at the outburst, grandpa snatched the gold back up to go hide later. They never had that gold until after my grandpa died. They dug up the whole yard and every place around until they found that old can tucked away under an old rusty stove that grandpa had out in the barn. I dunno what they did with it, but i never saw it again, thats for sure.

Anyway, after my uncles left the room the day grandpa showed me his treasure, he told me he would tell me where he found it as i had a good heart and a love for adventure. The key was those old mines. I never knew where them old mines were until i saw that map you brought me. I would have spent some time out searching had i know and had i not come back from Vietnam with declining ability to walk. ( I believe he had gotten some small shrapnel in his leg that didnt immediately seem bad, but later caused a lot of issues.) I appreciate you and know you have a good heart too, so ill tell you all that grandpa told me..."

and so he did. My curiosity had long been peaked so i started looking into any way this could have been real. This man is late 60s with a good mind, so i have no doubt hes telling me the truth as he knows it. What really caught attention were 3 things.

1) When i asked where his grandpas land is/was, it turned out to be the mouth of the canyon where the lost mines were.
2) There is a story of a spanish gold shipment that was lost in that area when they got caught in an early blizzard. Indians wiped them out according to a later expedition that found the remains of the first, minus the gold.......the gold was in the form of coins for payroll ( a spanish fort in florida) and small ingots.
3) Along with other pieces of gold, there have been several recorded finds of old spanish minted coins and ingots in the canyons around that area.

- all 3 of these things are information i found in outside sources or in the ranch's location part, something this gentleman hadnt thought to check.

Maybe Grandpa knew the tale of the lost spanish gold and passed it along with a little embellishment, but i for one will always believe there is/was hoard of gold up the canyon behind "grandpa's ranch". I mean, he did have gold from somewhere.....


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Crusty
post Apr 26 2017, 09:21 PM
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that story would have my laying awake at night pondering the possibilities! Thanks for sharing!


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