Richard French, the treasure hunter who wrote Four Days From Fort Wingate, used to poke semi-bitter fun at me by saying, “Jack isn’t looking for gold. He’s looking for the Lost Adams Diggings. He could find a dozen glory holes while he’s looking, and if they weren’t the Adams, he’d just walk right on.”
Dick disliked this trait of mine, which he had fairly well nailed. My other partners over the years didn’t care much for it, either. If a site fit the bill as an Adams prospect I’d beat it to death trying to get it to declare itself, whether there was any gold or not. But if it had some gold, but didn’t satisfy any of the other characteristics of the Adams, I didn’t have time (from my point of view) to try to discover how much potential it had.
In those days I could afford the luxury to indulge such snobbery, though it cost me a few friends and prospecting partners.
When Dick French and I were searching together, he was roughly the age I am now, had a bad knee, was generally not in robust health and not in a great financial position. What he was looking for was the treasure hunting equivalent of a jackpot win. He wanted an easier life than he had, and he couldn’t are less whether it came from the Adams, or just some glory hole we located while we were searching for it. He needed a younger, healthier man he could trust who could get into the rough spots and do the heavy lifting to sort out what we found.
Then, if it was good, he wanted to sell the entire claim, lock, stock and banana peel, to some outfit big enough to rip a hole in a mountain and bring out what they’d bought.
Dick and I parted ways early in the 1990s. A difference in viewpoint so fundamental works fine so long as nothing’s found. But the instant anything promising comes into the picture, everything falls apart.
When I completed The Lost Adams Diggings – Myth, Mystery and Madness, things had changed a bit in my life, though I hadn’t paused to examine the implications. I wrote the book about the Adams, which is what I believed, would interest the readers. I told everything I thought I’d learned that might be important to them. I did it against the advice of every treasure-hunter-friend I had.
I didn’t anticipate a lot of fallout from that book. I had no idea I’d suddenly be getting several emails and letters a month from strangers who wanted to tell me where it is, (from studying maps, mostly) wanting me to go climb a mountain, do everything necessary, then take some miniscule percentage. I didn’t anticipate people gleaning from the book the mentions of places where the Adams isn’t, but where there was evidence of some gold.
Here’s one that came today. A follow-up from one last week from a young geologist who wanted to explain to me that the Adams is in a canyon in the Zuni Mountains precisely where I thought it was a decade and a half ago and searched thoroughly:
Do you mind telling me were you found gold in the Zuni's? You mentioned you found some gold somewhere east of Cottonwood Canyon?
Where was this spot if you don't mind telling me? I don't plan on panning it, but it would help me establish more possible reference points.
I am working on a comprehensive theory of the Zuni Mtns as a possible location for the Adam's dig. I would be glad to share with you the
current status of my theory in the next week or so if you would like to hear it and discuss it. It has been worked out with much work and lots of time in the field.
hope to hear from you and discuss this soon, yours,
The placer he’s talking about is one I passed over because it wasn’t the Adams. I’ve never gotten back to check it out further, though lately I’ve intended to.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I carry more than my fair share of stupid around with me. I suppose word has gotten around.