Saturday 10 June 2023

An Interesting Map Request

On that first day back to work after New Years Day in 1986, as I was working on updating the maps, I got a call to come up to the reception area of the office to help someone wanting a map.  Being the person who was responsible for the maps and air photos, meant that whenever anyone came into the Forestry office looking for a map, it was me that was called “up front” to help to help them out.  

Usually, the map seeker was a local farmer, a hiker, or someone interested in buying a property, but this time, it was grizzled old prospector, wearing a rough looking heavy winter coat and a pair of old felt-pack boots, who had come into the office seeking a map.

I accompanied the bearded old prospector back to the area containing all of the map cabinets and asked him what area he needed a map for.  He told me he needed a map showing the land between Loos and Humbug Creek, then added, that he needed the map so he could register a mineral claim. 

He then relayed an interesting story about why.

According to the prospector, “A meteorite had fallen there and made a hole.”

He had heard the story from a “half-breed,” who has been working on the railroad and had heard the sonic boom made by the meteor.

I gave the old guy the maps he wanted, but never heard anything more about the meteorite or the old prospector.

I wasn’t very convinced he would ever find the meteorite, because the story he had heard sounded rather dubious; like something one would hear late at night in a bar, but who knows, maybe the reason I had never heard anything more was because after finding and selling the meteorite, the old prospector quietly took his riches and retired in Hawaii.

My encounter with the prospector was one of the more interesting map requests that I had received in my twenty-plus years working for the Forest Service.  His story was one that elicited a lot of thoughts and fantasies, as I returned to my desk to continue working on the maps.

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