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Bear-Guarded Mine

"One day in July (1940) we left early in the morning and were up on Rock Creek by sun up. We crossed Rock Creek and drove to the summit of Farm Creek Pass, where we parked the car and started walking north. We walked all day, searching the little canyons sloping off the east (toward Rock Creek) - but to no avail. We returned at dusk to the car. (See Map #163.)

According to Brooker T. Washington, Dick Wanroads and other Indians, the Brigham Young Mine remains guarded by the "Sleeping Indian Princess," or another term for her is the "Old Indian Woman;' which is a definite profile seen by the contours of the mountain crest when looking to the west toward the Farm Creek Pass and upper McAfee Basin area. (See Map #094, 095, 098.) The mine is also guarded by two sacred bears, the bear, of course, having a form of sacredness associated to it by the Indians. The mine is also looked upon by a magnificent white stallion. (See Map #089, 090, 091.)

In the beginning, I found these stories intriguing but seriously doubted their authenticity. That is, until I saw the "Princess" or "Old Woman" stretched out across the mountain top with my own eyes, and learned more of the "bears" and the "white stallion."

A Ute Indian by the name of Johnny Sixkiller used to call me quite often, usually after tipping a few beers, I think, and he'd quiz me repeatedly about these things of which I knew nothing about. "Come on," he'd say, "what do you know about those bears and that white horse?" I knew nothing about what he was talking about and I told him so, but he didn't buy it. "Hey! I know where you prospect -- I've watched you! So I know. Tell me what you think, of the bears and the white horse!" I couldn't tell him, because I didn't know, and after a while he just stopped calling. I just assumed, at that time, that he had either been referring to an area infested by bears or to some other place where there might be a white horse placed out to pasture. After all, I'm continually running into bear up in those mountains, but not too many white horses, so I passed it off as just another prank call by an Indian guzzling too much "fire-water."

Later on I learned of another Ute Indian, an old man, who had left the reservation many years ago due to a spat with tribal members over a parcel of land which he had wanted to purchase but which he was denied. I met this colorful and witty old gentleman through a friend of mine, Mr. June Baliach of Roy, Utah, and he told us a lot of stories concerning the secrets of the Rock Creek area. He's dead now, so I'll tell you his name; it was Waubin Q. Wanzitz, born May 1, 1902. (See Map # 057, 087,113.)

Waubin Wanzitz knew much about the sacred mine of Rock Creek and about various caches of Spanish gold buried in that area. Before he came back from California, he wrote a letter about certain aspects of it to June Baliach, the content of which read in part; ".... As you know I am a full blooded Indian (Ute). You cannot use my name, but I will tell you about the summer of 1912 when we went to the big saddle over the farm creek road. At that time there was a lot of talk about money rock just south of the carved bears. There are carved bears on both sides of the mountain. These carved bears guard the sacred mines, red man gold...."

So, the bears did exist, and they guarded the sacred mine of the Utes near Farm Creek Pass on Rock Creek. this was later confirmed by a good friend of mine, an Indian, who for obvious reasons must remain anonymous. He had promised me that when in that area he would try to locate the bears and let me know if they did in fact exist. Sure enough, several months later, he called and reported that he'd at least found one of them. He described the monument as a full size bear, standing upon its hind feet with its forefeet a little outstretched before it, looking off over the side of the mountain ridge. It had been carved from stone and was of remarkable detail - which, when first found, gave my friend quite a start.

I also learned from two other sources, one a white man and the other a mixed blood Indian, that down below the mine in a large sagebrush flat there had stood a large, full-sized white stallion, carved also from stone and in perfect likeness. This stallion faced up the mountain toward the mine. In 1969 one of its legs had collapsed (or had been broken off by someone) and it had fallen from view among the sagebrush. It was later covered over by rocks, hand carried by Indians, and concealed. Not long after that it was buried completely by a dozer operator. My mixed blood friend also told me of another such statue further up the canyon, but on the opposite side of the creek. This one, being much smaller that the first, was referred to as the "little pony." I've never seen it nor do I know exactly where it's located, except that its somewhere near the ancient underground Indian Temple in the vicinity of the Lower Stillwaters of Rock Creek.

One possible explanation might be that given to me by my mixed blood friend. He said, "Indian legend has it that Christ came to the Indians upon a white horse, and that the Indians constructed a Temple. The Temple was destroyed by an earthquake or covered up under the direction of the spiritual leaders. One Indian legend has it that the spiritual leaders were told by the Great Spirit the hide up their sacred places of worship which contained may precious things. Near this old temple site stood the statues, made of stone, of the white horses."

He gave me a map that had been in his family for some time which supposedly shows the location of this old Indian Temple on Rock Creek. An interesting sidelight to this may well be the fact that another old Indian (a full blood) had once told us that we should locate a small spring on the west side of Rock Creek, near the Lower Stillwaters, and, as he put it, "just look around -- something very important is there." This map was lost but it depicted the lower west side of Rock Creek.--Lost Gold of the Uintah, pg. 61

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