The Blacktail rattler can grow to a maximum length of 51 inches. This is an average length for the rattlesnake species, but its girth is usually quite large, so it can be extremely powerful. Its venom is only 2/3s as potent as a Western Diamondback, but its venom glands are extremely large—the largest of all rattlesnakes, in fact. When they bite down, they inject extra poison to ensure their victims’ demise. In general, the Blacktail is not aggressive, but the bad news for us is our Blacktail Trail has lots of them. The trail is very narrow in places with thick brush, making it difficult to stay out of the snakes’ domain. On two occasions their rattle was the only thing that kept Rodger from planting his foot inches from an almost certain strike. The Apaches said their sacred mountain was guarded by rattlesnakes; it appears so.
The Blacktail rattler is not a desert dweller in the typical sense because it likes only the high desert mountain areas with extremely rocky terrain at elevations from 1700 ft to 5000 ft. Because they are shy and are usually in extreme terrain, they are rarely encountered (do not try to tell Rodger that), and because of these traits, bites by the Blacktail are rare, as they are seldom encountered. Probably one of best shows I have seen on rattlesnakes is a 1-hour piece and can be viewed on the
Smithsonian cable channel: there is only one episode and it is titled, “Rattlesnake road trip”. In the show Jules Sylvester, a professional Rattle Snake Wrangler, is on a quest to find two types of rattlesnake he has never encountered in the wild: a Blacktail and a Mojave. The photography is outstanding, and the episode is a great watch.
Yes, we are still at it. Every time we travel to our site in Arizona, we discover important ground features and markings that reinforce our belief that the location is extremely important. On our last trip we were fortunate to go just after the forest fires and then just before Rt. 88 got flooded out. I would have to say that this might have been one of our most important trips. We found something that I had been trying to locate for quite a long time; I had begun to think my premonition was incorrect and that it might not exist. And then, just as I had envisioned, there it was, the marker I had been looking for.
About four years ago I had a hunch that there would be a land feature present at the Tobias (Area #3). If I were correct and this physical marker was in fact present, this would be a game changer, or rather, a game maker. My instincts told me that the Peralta priest stone had a tell, and the tell was to look in a specific area where there should be a manmade feature present. I had a gut feeling where it would be. I knew that if this marker were up there, it would confirm the two spots where the Witch – Priest Stone map was leading us, plus confirm that the information on the Witch Stone was taken most likely from a very old Jesuit map. The discovery and confirmation of this feature’s presence adds yet another mystery that will be heavily researched in the future as people try to figure out who did the original map. What we have discovered does not end this mystery but only reinforces its existence, and leaves us with the most intriguing question of all: who exactly fashioned the original map?
On our last three trips, every time the guys went up on the Tobias, I told them to be on the lookout for a particular type of man-made marking. After three years I had all but given up on my hunch and began to believe my instincts were wrong. But something in me just did not want to let it go. The thing is that if this marker actually existed, I was not exactly sure what it would look like. I had never actually seen it, but I believed I knew what it would represent. The exact size and form were difficult to share with team because I did not know its exact physical presence. I asked the guys to look for a feature in broad terms. If the feature were up there, I knew it would be incredibly old, but I I did not know how degraded it would be from the harsh elemental environment. We are talking about a man-made feature from the seventeenth or eighteenth century that was most likely fashioned by the Jesuits. Consider the severe elements in the Superstition Mountains, during that past 250-300+ years, and the fact that the marker in that area would not be made of granite, but of porous stone that would severely deteriorate. Would there be anything left? The Jesuits only needed it to last 30 to 70 years until their fellow brothers, were forgiven by the King. When their brethren returned, they would need the riches left for them, most likely a hidden catch. I will share my reasoning on these events later.
The marker, if it exists, would likely be from the Time of Conquest in New Spain. I feel confident that it was put up there around the time of the Jesuit Expulsion of 1767. I believe the marker would have been put up there just before their departure; otherwise, why put it up there? If that was not the reason, then it opens the door for it to be much older.
For now, I cannot reveal any more about the specific features of the marker. What I will share is an old saying: “Too close to the trees to see the forest”. In the overall scheme of things, this might be the most important puzzle piece that we have been looking for. It validates that the original map information contained on the Priest Witch Stone is legit. This fact a slam dunk game changer. And please, all the Peralta fake stone doubters, please! For the umpteenth time, will you please use half your brain and understand that it does not matter who made the stones found in the desert (most likely Travis Tumlinson); it only matters that the information on the stone is valid, which means the original source most likely is from a very old Jesuit map. Mt research has turned up information that all but points in that direction. I will share these findings latter. As for specifics at our location, our security is paramount, so for now mum is the word. To any armchair quarterback who is upset by that, it is our blood, sweat, money, plus lost vacations with love ones, and that is our call. This newfound feature is in Area #3, the area we call the Tobias.
We did make it out in the fall of 2019 between the fires and the floods that wiped out Rt. 88, just past Tortilla Flats. The feature I discovered on our fall trip was a hunch I have had for a long time. On the last three of our trips, I asked the guys to be on the lookout for this feature. Every time the guys went to this area, I reminded them to keep their eyes open. I told them, “I do not know how big it will be if it is there at all. It could be ten inches tall, but I think it will be at least a couple of feet, but I really do not know for sure, so keep your eyes open.” We now have photographic evidence that the man-made feature is there.
This finding now introduces something else into the equation, which means there should be something else up there. The marker was found on the end of our trip, so we did not have time to vet what it was telling us. I now know that we need to do a sweep of this area for what the Priest Stone may be telling us (another hunch). Because of COVID-19 our trip to Arizona is temporarily on hold. Hopefully, we get a viable vaccine sooner than later, so let us all pray for our country and the world and a return trip to Arizona to finish our mission.
Contradictory Informational Clues
I have concluded that Waltz or somebody was working more than one area at our Alpha site. I think, therefore, that much of the information about what, why, and how Waltz mined on the surface appears contradictory because I believe he most likely worked two adjacent areas; therefore, his alleged descriptions have always been confusing. I believe for this reason Waltz and the others used different techniques to mine the area. I feel that besides mining he may have found a stash of some sort. My belief is part reasoning and part gut. I will give my thoughts on this latter.
Triangulated Area of Exploration.
Did Waltz work multiple areas adjacent to each other?
After several years of being at our Alpha site, we can compare what is physically on the ground with clues of the mine and/or the treasure site stash. I am very sure that there is more than one area of interest. In fact, there are three areas that relate to one another. I believe Waltz would have explored all three areas but most likely focused on Area #1 and Area #2. I believe Area #3 (Tobias) has to do with Jesuit treasure, and this area is represented by the Priest stone. Waltz would not have had knowledge of the Peralta Stones, and most likely no information about the map knowledge carved on the stones. There is no doubt an early map contained what is on the stones, but the stones came after Jacob’s time, and it is highly unlikely he ever saw the original map.
I believe through time there were multiple groups and individuals that visited and spent time in our triangulated area of exploration. I believe Waltz concentrated his efforts at Area #1 and Area #2, but not Area #3.
Areas 1, 2 and 3
Area #1 – Thumb Canyon and Zigzag.
The upper reaches of Thumb Canyon in Area #1 contain the remaining walls of a stone house, which is most likely the remains of a Spanish fortress. The reason I say ‘fortress’ is because too approach the ledge that it perches on, is a dangerous feat. It is an extremely steep climb, so much so that you must weave back and forth and then make dozens of unnatural, small stepladder climbs to advance, and it is almost straight up. If you are up on the stone house ledge you cannot be sighted from below, so it is the perfect fortress: “We can see you, but you cannot see us.” This is one reason it has most likely not been found in modern times. To the readers that are new to the Lost Dutchman story, one of the clues that Jacob Waltz supposedly shared was, “If you find the main canyon to where my mine is located, you will find at its head the walled ruins of an old Spanish house, farther down the main canyon you will find a small side canyon, this is where my mine is.” There are two additional images of the stone-walled house on our site—please view the images which are toward the beginning of our site.
Area #1 also contains several trail markers, including two directional arow markers with holes. These are known Jesuit trail markings. The Priest Stone has the letter A with a hole in it, which I will discuss in the book. Keep in mind that this has nothing directly to do with Jacob Waltz. If you remember, I talked about the same “bird’s nest”. If you do not remember that post, please go back and reread it.
Below you will see a close-up section of an image from a photo taken at the Dutchman Museum by Arcana Exploration. Look closely. I will discuss this at length later.
The letter ‘A’ (arrow) with hole – Zigzag: the final approach
Area #2—Blacktail Trail and Hidden Valley
Area #2—Blacktail Trail—is dangerous for two reasons.
First, we call it a trail, but it is not a trail as defined as a “used pathway”. First, the climbing is extremely steep on very nasty terrain, and in several places, you are less than a foot from the edge of the cliff. Your footing is on loose, unstable ground where your outside foot is always lower than your inside foot. Your upper torso is always leaning inward to keep you centered over your inside foot, which is your uphill foot. You are always standing for the most part on one foot, which is anchored in sandy soil, this inside foot must not slip so as not to put any weight on your outside-cliffside foot; one misstep and it is over. If you slip and fall, you are dead. Period. End of story. And most likely that would be the end of Arcana.
The second reason it is so dangerous is that the entire climb up is unusual because it is engulfed in Saguaro desert cactus; but strangely this area is semi-green and lush by desert standards which creates the danger which is an abundance of vegetation which in turn is a magnet for a multitude of creatures, including mice, which make this a perfect habitat for the endangered Blacktail Rattlesnake. The team has encountered these venom packing windowmakers, several times on this trail. The photo at the beginning of this post was taken by Rodger. This was the second time he has almost stepped on a blacktail rattler. On both occasions he was stopped in dead his tracks. He said the snake was angry and gave him a warning signal; otherwise, he said, he would have stepped within inches from its camouflaged hiding spot. This climb is the lair of the Blacktail.
Area #2 contains a hidden valley that from down on the canyon floor is completely out of site and unknown. Long time Dutch Hunters are familiar with the possible existence of such a place talked about in many Dutch Hunter discussions. This place is almost impossible to get to. I will discuss this area and its significance later.
Old Searcher Tunnel, Area #2.
Area #2 has several searcher tunnels. Pictured above is one of many. We tried to access the sunken valley from above, but our professional climber said it was too dangerous to drop down and advised against an attempt. That was fine with me because safety always comes first with our team.
Area #3: The Tobias
The Tobias area (our name): After six trips to our Arcana site, the Tobias area, for vetting purposes, has become the most important area for exploration.
This area absolutely involves the Priest Stone, which in turn ties the area to the Jesuits. This linkage points towards the possibility of an exceedingly early Spanish presence in the Superstition Mountains.
Areas #1, #2 and #3, are contained within a half-mile square, triangulated area, and most of the time you can be in one area and see the other two areas. There are two sides of the mountain that have been worked. Both have signs of old mining. Unless you are physically at the site, it is hard to visualize this. I would like to show visuals of this, but once again, it would give away our location, so I cannot. In the book I will share all of this. I call this other area the hidden valley side (Area #2). So, one side of the mountain we have Zigzag with man-made trail markers in the form of arrows as well as the goat devil carving, among other things. Across the mountain we have the Blacktail Trial and Hidden Valley.
There are a few things on the far side I have shown in previous posts. Go back and look to see if you can figure out which ones are on the Hidden Valley side. We have many photos of these areas of interest, taken with early drone flights and with a telephoto lens. We have never been able to access this second area because of the way it sits on the mountain. I will explain this in the book at length and share photos that will make clear why this second area is all but impenetrable. I am sure this second area has a way to be accessed, but so far, we have not found it.
What is interesting about this area is that the way to gain access to it is to drop down about 35 or 40 feet by rope. On our trip last trip in the fall of 2019, for the first time we were able to reach the area where the drop down could be. We had a professional climber with us on that trip. He got to the ledge above (we have his GoPro footage), but it was too dangerous to attempt dropping down. I know what the obvious question is: If he could not get down, how could Waltz or anyone else get down? I believe there are three possible ways to get to the Hidden Valley, but we have not yet had a lot of time to research those options. On our second trip we put our first drone flight (little Bebop) up there, and I can tell you there appears to be a lot of stuff going on down in Hidden Valley and the surrounding area.
For now, you and your loved ones stay safe and pray that life will get back to normal so we can go all go to ball games, go out to dinner, celebrate Christmas with our family members, and fly safely so we can again visit Arcana.