As an amateur treasure hunter I am very pleased with the last two searches near Little Fish Lake. My belief regarding the old wagon road as the correct trail and harboring the robbery site have been substantiated. Five hundred yards downhill from the sharp curve my TDI Pro sang out and suggested I dig. Again.
Over the last two years I have sunk my spade into numerous rocky areas. And filled them in again. I’ve become used to the nature of flood debris and general discard. All those years of agricultural shovel handling in regards to flood irrigation and fence post planting paid off.
At last I discovered proof and support for a theory regarding how Matt transported his requirements of food, water and later the gold. He used a wheelbarrow from the mine. Near the trails end I moved a very heavy and uniquely flat bottomed rock to find what I thought was a large drum or rim of a pail. Carefully removing the broken piece I saw what turned out to be the ring of a wooden barrel or tub with nails still intact. The wood had all rotted away. Directly under that lay the cast iron spoke wheel for a wheel barrow, a sixteen inch unit as shown in the 1897 Sears and Roebuck catalog.
The items were my first relics from the correct era and appeared to have been carefully buried. Not tossed or swept in by a spring torrent. And in the right location in regards to the trail and closest water source. Even better, the next trip turned up another find barely fifty feet away. A mining shovel, again with the wooden handle gone, a broken beer or whiskey bottle and a bone, perhaps the last meal there. Some very rusted tin may have once held the bone. The era before refrigeration featured plenty of canned beef. Again the shovel is correct from the Sears and Roebuck catalog ad with the triangle shaped spade riveted to the curved portion that secured the handle. The rivets were still intact.
After two years of research and optimism, I am pleased to find what can be considered hard evidence. But challenges persist. Winter and cold water, neither of which are dear to me at sixty-two years of age.