In The Shadow of a Knife

By Daniel Thomas
From page 42 of the April, 1976 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © April, 1976 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved

One morning in 1859, four tired and bloodied prospectors searched the rock-strewn east shore of Grand Lake, high in the Colorado Rockies. The men, survivors of a party of 49ers, were on their way from the California gold fields to their homes in the East with a fortune in gold dust. Near present-day Steamboat Springs, the party had been attacked by a band of Ute Indians. A bloody battle followed. Only the four survived.

The prospectors found a large tombstone-shaped boulder, then con-ferred. The gold they carried was heavy and cumbersome, too cum-bersome for the four men to dodge mountain blizzards, Indians and outlaws while carrying it.

They decided to hide the gold, go to their homes and return for the treasure in the spring. They poured the gold dust into a
heavy iron Dutch oven and buried the oven near the boulder. To mark their gold additionally, one of the men drove his silver-handled hunting knife into a nearby pine tree. The sunlight glistened on the knife and threw a shadow on the oven's grave.

After the prospectors left Grand Lake, they traveled through the Rockies and down on the eastern plains where they were again at-tacked by the Indians. All but one of the men were killed.

Eventually, the lone survivor made it to his home where he rela-ted the events to his family. Then he died.

The following spring, search parties organized by the man's family trekked into the Grand Lake area, but failed to find the knife, tree, boulder or oven. Then ,as now, there were many pine trees and tombstone-shaped boulders on the lake's eastern shore, making the search for the treasure difficult, so difficult, in fact, that all attempts to recover the gold failed.

Modern-day searchers must cope with the fact that Grand Lake's eastern shore has changed since the 1850's. In 1888, a cottage was built near a boulder alleged to be the one used by the prospectors. But since then, the Big Thompson reclamation project has bulldozed many of the pine trees and boulders down.

Perhaps the knife was found by a souvenir hunter who did not know of its significance. The boulder may have been moved or buried by a bulldozer, or the tree destroyed by a forest fire. At any event, somewhere near the trail to Adams Falls, the treasure still awaits discovery, maybe still under the shadow of a knife.