The Lost Prospector  LbNA # 18234

OwnerPeach & Cappy    
Placed DateSep 15 2005
LocationRifle, CO
Found By (hidden)
Hike Distance?

(This is the first in a series of recorded Colorado “Lost Treasure Tales” Letterboxes)

One afternoon of a late summer day in 1849, a young traveler from New Orleans arrived at the small settlement of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The people in camp remember his arrival due to his odd dress and manners (they said he resembled a seventeenth century pirate). Oddly, he went by the name of “Buck Rogers”. Young Buck paid for his lodging and gear with old looking gold coins and beaded jewelry.

After a few days of rest and preparation, he set out west along the Colorado River seeking to claim his fortune in gold. The camp settlers warned Buck of the many dangers of prospecting alone in the wilderness but he insisted it was his destiny to come here and claim his fortune. They all laughed and were saddened at the same time as they heard this same tale many times before. However, what was different about Buck was he had brought with him some very unusual tools he said would assure him of success.

Several weeks passed by and the folks of Glenwood guessed that Buck had met with ill fate like so many others before him. Then one day on a beautiful October afternoon, Buck came riding into town on his sturdy mule with two pack mules in tow. The mules were loaded with sacks of gold (both gold dust and gold nuggets) of the highest quality seen in these parts. When asked where he make the find, Buck said he had traveled West along the Colorado River and then headed North up a canyon gap that reminded him somehow of a rifle. The area of his find was green with vegetation, and had plenty of water and game (like an island in the desert sea).

Buck spent 10 days in town celebrating his fortune with some not so virtuous activities (must be the pirate blood in him). By noticing a changing mood from the camp folks, Buck decided it was time to head back to his claim and amass his fortune once again. After riding a few miles out of camp, Buck became aware that three hombres had followed him out of camp. He decided to lead them in the wrong direction to protect his earlier discovery. This proved to be poor Buck’s undoing. He soon lost sight of the three hombres but also became lost himself (Buck was apparently better at navigating the oceans than land). Later, it was rumored his horse slipped and they fell into the Colorado River never to be seen again.

For several years following Buck’s disappearance, the people of Glenwood searched for Buck’s lost claim without success. Perhaps you will have better luck finding where “The Lost Prospector” found his fortune.

DIRECTIONS: From I-70, exit at Rifle and head to Rifle Falls State Park (head North on Hwy 13 thru town; about 2 miles is the exit to 325). Continue on 325 past Rifle Gap Reservoir and then past Rifle Falls State Park until the pavement ends (behind the state fish hatchery). At the end of the paved road, pull over and park your car behind the fish hatchery. Walk up the dirt road that takes you to Rifle Mtn. Park. Immediately on your left you will see a tall post. Stand next to this post and look back towards the paved road and you see a CO 325 sign. Just up the hill from this sign and the road and about 15 steps from the post you will see a 4 foot rock. Look behind the rock. If the pines could speak they would tell you of a befuddled looking prospector with the look of a sea-faring pirate wandering listlessly through this area…..The Lost Prospector!

If you have time, we highly recommend you journey on into Rifle Falls State Park. It's a beautiful drive and you will see rock climbers right along the road and there are many camping and hiking trails. We originally placed the Lost Prospector on a trail, but we checked on him July 2011 and there were campers too close for comfort, so we relocated the box.

Please re-hide well.
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