Indigo/Chapters seems to be still suffering effects from their cyber attack in early February and have just informed us the event at Pinetree Village in Coquitlam has been cancelled, again. As a novice, I looked forward to trying to wrestle potential buyers away from the dildo section (not just pillows anymore) towards a table laden with my books and posters. Well no matter, maybe I will have to carry an armload of books to Queens Park and engage those trying to enjoy a peaceful solitude.
I prefer sleeping in a cool environment, cold enough so that when crawling under the covers, the room temperature feels too cold. But in mere seconds, body warmth and an excess of blankets create a comfortable environment. In all but the worst weather, I keep the window open a crack for fresh air.
Sleeping cold reminds me of camping in Rock Creek Canyon when fall night temperatures dictated I use two sleeping bags, one stuffed inside the other with a heavy wool blanket placed on top. No polyester allowed. Getting up to pee in the night was brutal yet returning to the warmth of my cocoon made it worthwhile. Sleeping cold also reminds me of life in our old farm house before 1964. There was no heat on the upper floor except for the meagre amount that several small floor vents allowed. If we were lucky, dad had installed the storm windows all round before cold temperatures put such ideas to rest. Either way, warmer moist air inside the room collected on the cold window panes creating frost ferns and endless floral patterns. The designs were flawless and grew thick with frost. Our young minds reeled at the beauty of the art and weren’t completely satisfied with the answer that Jack Frost was at work.
These are the memories I enjoy when winter reigns supreme and my bedroom cools off. I know how much our parents enjoyed the new house with all the amenities including all the kitchen gadgets that made mom’s life easier. But superior windows barred Jack Frost from returning and more magic faded from our world. Progress bettered our lives but there is always a loss until only the memories remain.
When adventure calls to you, it’s important to be self-reliant, especially when there is no cellphone service. Being six or seven kilometers away from any help means you should be prepared for the unexpected as shown here. After sliding off the trail towards numerous trees, I was forced to use a hand winch and length of chain to pull the truck back onto the road. Another hard lesson learned meant the rental company had no knowledge of my off-road journey. But the outcome could have been so much worse.
Camp McKinney Jimmy introduces his memoir Chasing Stolen Gold, a treasure hunter’s adventure to locate the lost gold bars of Camp McKinney, east of Osoyoos, British Columbia. The robbery occurred in the summer of 1896. The amount of bullion taken forced the bandit to hide the two larger bars in the forest. When Mathew Roderick returned three months later to retrieve the bars, he was shot dead in a bungled attempt to follow him to the treasure. The gold bars whereabouts remained unknown, until now. The highly illustrated book comes complete with a detailed treasure map.
This Young’s Weeping Birch grows on the grounds of the old Insane Asylum in New Westminster, BC, about one kilometer east of my apartment. I see it as a former patient, firmly rooted in the past, trying to escape the institution. Also seen as my self-portrait.
Treasure hunting has greater perils in winter. But the serenity and absolute silence are worth the risk especially for an old man determined to receive the benefits of forest bathing. While the adventure cost me everything I had, the call couldn’t be ignored.
Winter has returned to once again securely lock the two gold bars in nature’s protective vault. This image is years old; I don’t know the current amount of snow in the canyon. This old man wishes he were once again there to absorb the absolute silence nature allowed me to absorb into my soul. Urban life is saturated with noise that rarely subsides. I walk streets spotted with dog urine and poop, some in bags. If I stopped to relieve myself on a tree, I’d be ticketed or at least chastised by anyone who saw the infraction. Oh sweet rural lifestyle, I miss you. But I had to be where great doctors worked their miracles so for now, I stay. When my end comes in perhaps a decade, maybe two, let it be in the silence of nature, under a sky studded with a million stars. Please.
During seven years of research for the book, this was the only source that I found for the accurate bullion weight. I had photographed a Provincial Police letter in the Royal BC Archives that listed the weights but they didn’t add up properly. Human error can be found where you least expect it. Eventually I browsed through all the reports from the Boundary Historical Society as found online. That’s where I found this gem of information. Shortly after the robbery, Chief Constable McMynn in Midway, BC sent a letter to the Spokane, Washington Police Chief in the off chance that someone tried to sell one or three rough bullion bars. By giving the accurate weights, there would have been enough cause to hold a suspect for further questioning. Court records indicate the smallest bar was sold to a jeweller in Seattle. We can then be certain the two lost bars weigh 258 and 272.5 troy ounces respectfully, an impressive 530.5 ounces at 625 fines or per cent purity.
Publishing the book and learning about marketing has left me busy, broke, and staying close to home. I should be camping in Rock Creek canyon and enjoying the health benefits of bonding with nature. Those were great times as I explored and appreciated every moment of it. But age changes the body in so many ways. Get out there and enjoy nature while you can. And carry a copy of my book along to follow the treasure map. Take a selfie at the Bre-X shack and I will set up a venue for that purpose. Be safe.
Starting August 1, Chasing Stolen Gold went live on Amazon.com. It will follow in Canada, the U.K. and other countries over the next week. The “Look Inside” feature is live but only shows up to page 14 with some pages missing. My understanding is this will increase up to 20% but as I have yet to contact a human there, so we shall see. The high price is due to color printing costs and wide distribution. Freight costs are hurting us all. My royalty per book is five dollars and change so please don’t shoot the messenger. My hope is that libraries and brick and mortar stores will take notice. But if you’re looking for a treasure map, there has never been a better time.