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The Treasure of the Sierra Quemada

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Offline Casa Grande

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The Treasure of the Sierra Quemada
« on: March 20, 2011, 11:24:28 PM »

A bit over a year ago, I received an interesting email from someone on Big Bend Chat, anonymously. The email told me of a "treasure box" that was located on top of a desert mountain in Big Bend named Tortuga.  The email was a bit cryptic about its exact location.  No coordinates.  The person who sent the email wanted to remain anonymous, but wanted to contribute to Big Bend Chat in an interesting way.  They told me a coffee can had been hidden on top of Tortuga mountain about 150 feet from the summit marker to the Northeast.  It was near a prickly pear cactus patch and was being hidden by some rocks.  The email contained a few pictures of the area where the "treasure" was hidden along with one stipulation: there was to be a time limit to retrieve this treasure of one year.  The end of February 2011 was my deadline. If shouldn't retrieve the treasure, it may be removed or the instructions would be sent to someone else.  The contents of this treasure?  The only clues I received about the contents were, "it has some serious cash....and an "Old West" theme.

Exciting, I thought, but when the heck am I gonna be able to do this?  Summer off of the Dodson in the Sierra Quemada can be brutal, downright dangerous.  So, it had to be in the Spring or Fall, perhaps the winter too.  Really the only times I could do it would be during Spring Break.

As February 2011 approached, I received another email from this mysterious Bender reminding me I only had to the end of February to complete the task.  I asked for a month extension as my Spring Break fell in the middle of March and I was planning to retrieve this "treasure chest" from the top of Tortuga Mountain during that time with Burn Ban, OuterMountainPuke (aka Tonto), Burn Ban's brother, BIBE FNG and their dad, genemassey. Permission granted.

Now, pardon my confession, but it has been more than 2 years since camping overnight in the Bend and more than 3 years since doing any backcountry camping!  Pretty sad, but life is beginning to stablize and I'm trying to get back into the saddle again.  Anyway, I had to get some new gear.  First on my list, a new pair of hiking boots.   Got my groupon ($150 dollar coupon for $75) for Good Sports here in San Antonio and a place where fellow Bender, Chisos Muse, happens to work.  She steared me towards the most awesome hiking boots ever, the Lowa Renegade GTX.  Holy crap!  Only the best hiking boot I've ever had!  This is by far the most comfortable, sturdy, durable, and lightest boot I'd ever had on my feet.  I highly recommend them and I will never own another brand of hiking boot again.

Ok, enough of that, let's begin the trip.



I pulled into the park first thing Saturday morning to try and nail down our permits for the next two nights while we searched for the Treasure of the Sierra Quemada.  I wanted to camp at Twisted Shoe, the closest to the Dodson Trail Head, for Saturday night and get a zone permit for the Dodson sector on Sunday night.  The idea was, we would get up first thing Sunday morning, go the trail head from the Twisted Shoe and get our campsite picked out and set up before we headed up to Tortuga.  I wanted to arrive at Panther Junction before 8 so I could get in fast.  Well, I was 10 minutes late.  Wow, what a difference.  I knew it would be crowded, of course, but I had no idea it would take me an hour to get my permits secured at HQ.  I was number 11 and when I get there, they were servicing number 5.  Not very efficient I must say.  But, I did manage to get all the camp sites I wanted for the two days.  Done.

The rest of my party wasn't going to be meeting me in the park until really late Saturday Night or early Sunday Morning.  So, I had the whole day to myself.  What would I do?  I didn't really want to do any strenuous hiking as I wanted to save that for Sunday.  These days, I ain't what I used to be.  I also didn't want to spend the day going down some backcountry road and risk getting to my campsite too late ( I like to relax at my site before the sunset. ).  So I just decided to take it easy and just cruise the highways of the park. I went up into the basin and poked around a bit.



Then I went on over to Nina Hanold's grave.  You know, this woman has always intrigued and inspired me for some reason and I always like to pay my respects.



After nearly 8 years of shooting panoramas for VirtualBigBend.com I have never been able to successfully render a panorama from this site.  And this time was no exception.  I'm beginning to think Nina doesn't want to be on the website.  Perhaps I'll leave her a nice set of flowers for her next time.  Maybe she'll reconsider.



After tooling around Daggar Flat and being underwhelmed by the lack of blooming through out the park, I went on ahead to my first night of camping at Twisted Shoe, one of my favorite campsites in the park.  The clouds rolled in too.  There will be no spectacular sunset tonight, nor boundless stars.  I set up camp and began to soak in the magic hour of Big Bend, truly the most etheral time for me.  The sole ground animal seen or heard on the trip was a kagaroo rat bouncing through my campsite.  Later, the aerialist bats performing their nightly air show for my pleasure, kept the flying bugs away and entertained me with their high pitched sonar sounds.  I love those creatures.....

(to be continued)

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Offline Al

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Re: The Treasure of the Sierra Quemada
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2011, 11:39:04 PM »
Incredible pictures and we rapidly are turning blue in anticipation!  :willynilly:

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BigBendHiker

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Re: The Treasure of the Sierra Quemada
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2011, 05:40:46 AM »
Looking forward to the rest of the story!

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chisos_muse

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Re: The Treasure of the Sierra Quemada
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2011, 06:22:06 AM »
WOW!  :notworthy:

I am SO GLAD you love the boots!  :eusa_clap: This is going to be THE most awesome trip report and I love what you've done with the theme...incredible photos, as always.  :icon_cool:

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Offline Burn Ban

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Re: The Treasure of the Sierra Quemada
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2011, 07:21:12 AM »
pictures are awesome.

hurry up!  i can't wait to find out what we did next.

p.s. tonto lost some hair this weekend.

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Offline homerboy2u

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Re: The Treasure of the Sierra Quemada
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2011, 02:59:45 PM »
Venga con lo demas!!....so far so good. I have been catching up, here.

 Musey, i will soon be in the market for some new BVD's....FYI. Point me in to the right direction, por favor.

Gracias
Stay thirsty, my friends.

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Offline Terlingua50337

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Re: The Treasure of the Sierra Quemada
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2011, 08:12:44 PM »
hurry up!  i can't wait...

No no no! Poco a poco. This one's gonna be good. I want it to last.

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Offline The Scorpion

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Re: The Treasure of the Sierra Quemada
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2011, 08:27:36 PM »
i like the report so far.... its been a while since you had a report and they are always good...

James
everything is better with bacon!!!

http://jamesb.smugmug.com/BigBendNationalPark/

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Offline TexasAggieHiker

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Re: The Treasure of the Sierra Quemada
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2011, 08:46:54 PM »
MORE!!!

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Offline mule ears

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Re: The Treasure of the Sierra Quemada
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2011, 06:30:26 AM »
David, you must be gettin' good at telling stories to the kids in class by the start of this one!  Looking forward to the rest.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline coolmoo7

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Re: The Treasure of the Sierra Quemada
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2011, 11:07:10 AM »
Heck i was wanting more also

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Offline bjbriggs

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Re: The Treasure of the Sierra Quemada
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2011, 02:34:26 PM »
I'm ready for more. :eusa_eh:

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Offline fartymarty

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Re: The Treasure of the Sierra Quemada
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2011, 10:23:59 PM »
 :eusa_whistle:
Fort Worth

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Offline Al

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Re: The Treasure of the Sierra Quemada
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2011, 12:19:24 AM »
:eusa_whistle:

Oh well. It was fun while it lasted . . .

Al

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Offline tjavery

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Re: The Treasure of the Sierra Quemada
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2011, 08:36:32 AM »
MOAR!!! :icon_lol:

 


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