Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Lost Dutchman's Mine

This time of year, David Bremson sees plenty of rescues in the Superstition Wilderness.

"Most of the body recoveries we've done out of the Supes have been Dutch hunters," Bremson said. A Dutch hunter who got lucky twice was Robin Bird, the woman who went searching for the fabled gold and ended up flirting with death before she was rescued late Wednesday night. Bird also had to be rescued in December while doing the same thing.
This time, she was found lying in the mud along the Bluff Springs Trail at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. She was unresponsive and suffering from hypothermia and severe dehydration, said Tim Gaffney, spokesman for the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.
But Bird was hardly the only hiker who needed help this week. At 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, rescuers found three men who had gotten lost in the Superstitions on Tuesday. They had met Bird on the trail and asked for directions, and she steered them wrong.

At 6:30 p.m. Sunday, a 21-year-old Arizona State University student was rescued after he failed to return from a hike on Saturday. "This is not an unusual amount of rescues," Bremson said. "It's fairly normal." Rescuers ask people to point to their map and show where they got lost, Bremson said.

"Well, none of them have a map. People are becoming more and more isolated from the outdoors because of the amount of time they spend indoors."

In 2009 Denver bellhop Jesse Capen disappeared after heading off to find the 'Lost Dutchman's' gold mine - which has evaded adventurers for centuries. 3 years after finding Capen’s Jeep, wallet, backpack and cellphone, volunteers from the Superstition Search and Rescue finally located what they believe is Capen’s body.

“We call ‘em Dutch hunters out here,” said Superstition Search and Rescue Director Robert Cooper. “They’re infatuated with all the lore and the history of the lost Dutchman mine and he was part of that.”

The body, Cooper said, was found in a crevice roughly 35 feet up a cliff face in the southern portion of the Superstition Mountains, near the 4,892-foot Tortilla Mountain. Capen, 35, had made finding the treasure an “obsession”.

In the 1840s, according to the Denver Post, the Peralta family of Mexico mined gold out of the Superstition Mountains, but Apaches attacked and killed all but one or two family members as they took the gold back to Mexico. Some 30 years later, Jacob Waltz — nicknamed "the Dutchman," even though he was German — rediscovered the mine with the help of a Peralta descendant, according to legend.

Jacob Waltz made periodic trips into the Superstition Mountains and returning to Phoenix with small quantities of bonanza gold ore. He was known to shoot anyone following him through the rugged mountains east of Apache Junction, Arizona. Waltz died in Phoenix, Arizona Territory on October 25, 1891 without revealing the source of the rich gold ore ... some found beneath his death bed.

"The clues to Waltz's gold mine still ring clear ... "No miner will find my mine." "To find my mine you must pass a cow barn." "From my mine you can see the military trail, but from the military trail you can not see my mine." "The rays of the setting sun shine into the entrance of my mine." "There is a trick in the trail to my mine." "My mine is located in a north-trending canyon." "There is a rock face on the trail to my mine." These and many other clues have fired imaginations for more than a century.