Why Treasure in Rivers is so HARD TO FIND! #GoXplrr Hutton Pulitzer

SUMMER 1971, temperatures reaching the 100s. It was a time of joy and fantastic adventure. I was seven years old and my cousin Aubrey was ten. To me, Aubrey was a god, and on this day he proved it.  You know Aubrey as BEAST on our ExpeditionHistory.org TreasureForce Alpha Team. 
Dirty Harry was the movie character every guy wanted to be as cool as, and The Omega Man with Charleton Heston was what was scaring the audiences in the theaters — that is, of course, unless you were a little on the odd side and A Clockwork Orange was your type of flick. Donny Osmond was crooning “Go Way Little Girls,” and Three Dog Night had the catchy hit “Joy To The World”. Gunsmoke with Matt Dillon was the Cowboys and Indians we played, and Mannix and The F.B.I. taught us how to be problem solvers; but most importantly, everything we did was “All In The Family”. It was 1971 and the 70s were cool. But Texas was hot.

That above is the opening in one of my books which tells the story of how Treasure and Treasure Hunting got INTO the blood of Beast and myself over 43 years ago!  I say INTO our blood, because once you get a taste of the thrill or the hunt, it tends to infect every cell in your body and stays with you for life; even worse – it is contagious and you can infect everyone around you.

The telling of the story above, goes on to share how Beast found a safe from a bank robbery which had been tossed in the river and when he found it on the bottom then popped opened – money bags came floating to the top of the water.  You never saw so many people hop into the river so fast, as when money bags came floating to the surface (you can read the full story in several of our books, and I will post it online in a separate article as well).    It was a wonderful way to grow up as a kid.  On the Spanish Gold Road where Conquistadors and Explorers would transport treasure, right in the middle of Apache and Comanche Indian Territory, flowing with clear spring fed rivers, and where old families (our family tree there since the very early 1800’s) abutted with the wealthy and famous (Humphrey Bogart’s place abutted to our family ranch – and years later through marriage Humphrey Bogart would become my son’s Great Uncle – talk about full circle).

We were the perfect combination of country kids and city kids and WE LIVE the GOONIES adventure first hand.  This first picture is the EXACT spot where Beast swung off the rope swing into the river and discovered the bank loot!

where it all began


another view of the river

Every kid dreams of finding treasure, BUT we did and it changed our lives.  But funny things about rivers and trying to intentionally find treasures in rivers is that RIVERS MOVE.  Some people do not know that, but rivers move and when hunting for treasure you just study the river, its base composition and it migration over time.

For example, here is a picture of the Arkansas River just outside Little Rock.  This photo was recently taken from outer space, but look how far the river has actually moved over time (you can see it various ancient paths):

River Migrations

Looking at these images one can see where the river was MILES, yes miles, away from where it is today.  So, if you were looking for a Civil War Steamboat from the late 1800’s where exactly would you begin to look?  Complex I know!  And that is exactly why River Treasures are one of the MOST DIFFICULT TO LOCATE.

Twisty, turny lakes near Little Rock, Ark., show where the mighty Arkansas River once traveled. These meander lakes, as they’re called, are the subject of a new astronaut photograph.

An astronaut on the International Space Station snapped the new picture from 250 miles (400 kilometers) above the Earth’s surface on Feb. 21, according to NASA’s Earth Observatory, which just released the photo. The image shows the curving neighborhood streets of Little Rock on the lower left, bounded by Interstate 40. The greenish Arkansas River of today is in the lower right corner of the photograph.

The rest of the image shows where the river flowed in the past. Little Rock is on the edge of the Mississippi River Flood Plain, a flat region smoothed by years of sediment deposits from the river. Here, the Arkansas was long free to meander, picking the easiest route down toward the Mississippi River. This route shifted with the sediments; when one path became blocked, the river simply changed course, leaving behind orphaned segments that became meander lakes.  Finer dark lines that look like scour surfaces in the curves of these lakes are the remnants of ancient riverbanks, the Earth Observatory reports.

Now you can see why rivers are so hard to work.  Now granted both the Mississippi and the Arkansas River (and many others) are sandy bottomed rivers and those move easy, but on the other hand rock bottomed rivers – those that run down to and through bedrock- tend to move less and can stay in the same location for a thousand years.


Keep this in mind – look at the Grand Canyon and you can see just how powerful a rivers cutting action can be.  Moral of the story, rivers move and you must use satellite imagery to try to gauge where the river “was” at the time of the “treasure” creating event.  Most Civil War gold, lost in rivers, now set miles in land in some farmers field. To prove it read the following story and learn just what it takes to find the old path of the river and the things it may hide.

SteamBoat found in Cotton Field






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