February 12
Saturday, I drove to our satellite campsite at Mt. Princeton to check on its condition and check the latrine. If you remember it’s a closed trail, only accessible by 4x4 or on foot. I parked the pickup by the lake and unloaded the gator from the trailer and headed up the trail. When I got there I noticed that the area had been visited. I turned down a new trail. Instead of heading down, the trail turned back up the mountain and ran a long ways. I ended up at a closed shaft of the old mine on the backside (about 2-3 miles from the old town and the main mine entrance). This was well off the beaten path. I immediately noticed that there was a new dirt road leading up to the abandoned shaft entrance. This is BLM land as you know, so motor vehicles are prohibited. I figured it must be BLM people or Rangers checking on the shaft to make sure its still properly shuttered.

I ran smack into a Humvee and two guys in BDU’s with M-16’s. They made me get off the gator and shut it off and wanted to know why I was there. I said I was with the Rocky Mountain Council of the Boy Scouts of America and checking our remote campsites. They told me that this was restricted BLM land and I should not be there. I told them that the BSA has a permit to use the BLM land, and that I had permission to be there. One guy went back to the Humvee, I guess to get on his radio. The other guy asked me what I had seen and I told him about checking the old mineshaft. He got really mad at told me the area was not safe and I should not have been there and my gator was a violation of BLM land policies. I got back on the gator turned around and got the hell out of there back the way I came. As I approached the mine shaft to pick up the trail again, there was another guy in BDUs at the top of the road. He stopped me and asked me if I was the Boy Scout guy. I said yes and he said ok, keep going. I noticed he had a sidearm holstered in a standard M-12 military issue holster, but what caught my eye was a gust caught his BDU lapel and lifted it just enough for me to see airmen’s chevrons pinned under the lapel.