McBrae's Treasure

LOCATION:  New England

CHALLENGE:  3.5 stars

DATE/NUMBER:  09-Sep-2001/40


Sometimes we live no particular way but our own
And sometimes we visit your country and live in your home
Sometimes we ride on your horses, sometimes we walk alone
Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world ...   -- Grateful Dead

Sir Braemor, or so he called himself, was an odd chap, dark skinned with white hair, and it seemed like he'd been around these parts since the time of the Founding Fathers. Though he never took a job, he seemed never to be want of money, and no one seemed to know where he lived. When he was around, which was rarely, he was usually seen hanging at Rosslyn's Pub, sharing a pitcher and his stories of adventure, legend, treasure hunts, and other schemy deeds.

Along with claimed Mi'kmaq ancestry, McBrae, as everyone else called him, spun tales of illustrious European personages in his bloodline, and one day he offered to take me to the grave of his distant grandfather in Massachusetts, which, he claimed, was the first European grave in North America. I'm not the type to be taken in by fanciful claims and crystal crowd myth, and when I did find myself chatting with him on occasion, he always left me in a muddle of Gungywamp Swamp, cubits, ratios and patterns of the stone walls, Greeks, the Golden Mean, far off chapels, and other nonsense. So I pretty much decided that today was a day to kick back with a cold one and watch the Sox do in those damn Yankees. We were in a pennant race, after all.

But it was his modest, unassuming bearing, and the way he told his tales, that hooked me, and the Sox would no doubt blow another one, so I found myself cruising into the Bay State in his blue '87 Ford pickup. The site itself was unimpressive, in the middle of what I would call a suburban development, but as usual, my companion gently reminded me that I was missing the big picture.

As we headed back, picking up the Sox game in extra innings on the radio, a somber look came over McBrae's face.

"I have seen many things, been many places, and solved many riddles", he said out of the blue, "I think They know about me."


"Nevermind. I just needed to be alone with you before I go. I have some stuff for you. They won't be watching you -- you must do what I cannot."


"Have you ever seen The Fisher King?", he asked.

"Sure, by one of my favorite directors, Monty Python's Terry Gilliam".

"Forget about the producer and the cast. Besides, the best work he ever did was as some alien living in Boulder. I've figured out where the real McCoy is -- its nestled in a cubbyhole beneath a big rock leaning against a pine, right on the water, not in a pit like some idiots have suggested. First you'll have to find the big pine on the north hill, then head northeast about 15 steps or so to another tree, just as big, but dead, then head down about 7 steps in a north, northwesterly direction."

"Huh? Gilliam was the director, not the star."

"You're missing the big picture again", he said, as we pulled into the parking lot of a Shaw's market. "I've gotta go, but it'll all become clear to you once you piece together the map. See, I found that as well (in the oddest place, but that is another tale), but They know my footprints, so I had to tear it up and scatter it to the winds -- leaving bits and pieces of it in the various places I've visited over the years."

"And what does this have to do with me?"

"Under the spare tire is a secret compartment. You'll find my travel log, a passport, airline tickets, and about fifty grand in cash. The airport is about 40 miles away, so you'd better hurry."

"Umm ...", I stammered.

"And one more thing", he said as he strode into the store. "My phone number is written on the map, but you shouldn't need it unless you are really stumped, and I suspect the line will be dead anyway. Where I'm bound for, there ain't no phone company ..."

And with that, he was gone. As Joe Kerrigan was running thru the standard cliches with the post-game announcer -- "we just have to concentrate", "stay focused", and "not get caught up in all the distractions", I wheeled the truck out of the parking lot and headed east.

NOTE 1:  Off-trail walking is involved.

NOTE 2:  Be wary of snakes and other wildlife when reaching into dark places. No need to dig for this box. All bearings magnetic unless otherwise noted. A pace is a long stride counted on a footfall of either foot, i.e. two paces are counted each time the right foot hits the ground. Be aware of if or when there is game hunting in the area.

NOTE 3:  Please re-hide the thing well exactly as you found it, and be discreet when stamping up. Though the box is situated such that there is virtually no chance of accidental discovery, discretion and replacing the thing exactly as situated are important.

DISCLAIMER & COPYRIGHT:  PERSONS USING THIS CLUE OR HUNTING THIS LETTERBOX DO SO AT THEIR OWN RISK. Do not hunt this letterbox without reading and agreeing to the waiver first. Children, do not hunt this letterbox without the supervision of an adult who has read and agreed to the waiver. Possession of this clue does not imply rights of access to particular lands and route choices, or the safety thereof, including the location of the box itself. Always observe current local regulations, signs, property rights, and customs; you are responsible for your actions. Clue not indended to be taken literally or to suggest route choices; route choices (and the choice to proceed at all), are your choice.
This clue, photographs, and associated stamp art are copyright © 2001, by Randy Hall. Permission to reproduce for personal use granted; all other rights reserved.