Sunday, January 01, 2006

Be Vewy, Vewy Qwiet, I'm Hunting Treasure

I re-watched National Treasure the other night, and it got my blood pumping for a treasure hunt of my own again. I'm not exactly sure why the treasure hunt is so appealing to me, but I think it's more than just the romance associated with discovery of any kind. There is something wired into my soul that gets a real charge out of finding something that no one else could or did. There is some satisfaction in finding the missing sock, but even more so if the something is a little more valuable. I need some treasure in my hunt. I want to be like Capt. Jack Sparrow, who BTW has a new movie due out in the Summer.

One of the real-life treasure hunters interviewed for National Treasure's special features said for him it was more about the search for history than it was the search for money. But for him the history definitely has value attached to it. It is a treasure. I've experienced what he describes while doing my own genealogical research. I've done a dance or two standing in a library full of nothing but dusty, old books and dusty, old people after finding a name or date for which I've invested many hours. And there aren't too many things that would compell me to traipse around in a cemetery in the woods but traipse I did, and happily, (even drafting the assistance of my dear pregnant wife on occasion if memory serves) on the outside chance of discovering a fact on a tombstone that might help me put together my puzzled heritage.

As Christmas approaches, I can't help but wonder whether The Christmas Chicken might bring me a metal detector that I've dropped hints about. (Probably not, if the Chicken knows my formerly pregnant wife that I mentioned above.) So, I may have to settle for hunting the web in search of others who are looking for treasure and living vicariously through them. For instance:

Yahoo has a continuing series of true adventures called Richard Bangs Adventures which takes you along day-by-day through Panama, Thailand, Switzerland, etc. The Panama trip is actually just finishing up and took them in search of the Old Camino Real (used for transporting gold and other treasures for many years) to retrace the trail of pirate Captain Morgan. This site also has a link to a blog kept by the Seagren family, who went along on the trip and was voted "America's Most Adventurous Family".

Floyd Mann also has a site called Lost Treasures USA that includes a cross reference to 33 years of treasure hunting magazines, stories from past treasure hunts, and many treasure hunting links. Interesting read.

Another type of treasure hunting, whose popularity has risen as the price of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) has become more affordable, is Geocaching. In this case, other treasure hunters cooperate by leaving the treasure (or even adding to it) in place after finding it so that you and I can experience the same thrill of discovery. Your clues are GPS coordinates and can be found on the internet at among other places.

Please comment on any treasure hunting experiences that you have, while I go and add "finding hidden treasure" as one of my Seven Things to Do Before I Die.

Exaggeration and aggrandizing is permitted, and even encouraged, as long it's entertaining and based on a factual adventure that you at least saw someone else have first-hand. And feel free to substitute your name for theirs to protect their identity.


Wanda V. said...

I used to go treasure hunting with my dad years ago. He had one of those metal detectors in the late 70's and he'd drag us all out the door on Saturday morning. The great thing was, he usually took us to a park to hunt. He'd be swinging away with his Garrett, listening to the beeps through earphones. We'd head for the monkey bars and swings. It was a good deal all around.

He has a special box where he keeps the goodies he found during those years. He's got special coins, rings, a necklace or two among other things. If you ever stop by, I'm sure he'd love to tell you all about it.


P&S said...

We did that some too when I was a kid. But my uncle went with us and since he's a history buff, Civil War artifacts were our pot of gold. 'Course there were no swings. We had to go to out of the way places they identified on old maps. I think it was illegal to hunt at recognized battlefields. But I guess I have fond memories of the adventures.

Trailady said...

Hi There, just surfed in. Really enjoyed the movie 'National Treasure'. Have you ever checked into geo-caching? It's high tech treasure hunting. Our friends go geo-caching every weekend and find all sorts of great treasures.