In September of 1983, I began bow hunting in an area new to me…an area that was to provide excitement, frustration and adventure. My camp was situated on top of a bank about twelve feet high overlooking a fast stream. It was a noisy rascal but the water was cold and clean. I chose this spot because it was a clear circle about fifteen feet wide, the only flat area in a dense pole patch of pine, and also because there was a handy game trail leading down to the creek. My camping area was isolated and invisible from the main trail…just the way I like it. The elevation is about 7000 feet. No one camps here but me, my dome tent, backpack stove and my mummy bag. I have spent many a warm autumn day and cool night camping here and hunting the area. It’s a breeding ground for elk and many big bulls can be heard bugling up a storm almost any time of day and even all night long. It’s not the only place I hunt but it is my favorite.
You develop routines…get up at 5:30AM…hike out in the dark…hunt until ten or eleven…back to camp…walk the little game trail down to the creek…fill the water bottle and coffee pot…make lunch…nap…back the creek to refill with water for dinner…head out for evening hunt…back after dark…eat, sleep, dream…listen for elk. I have worn a well-tramped trail down the path to the creek over the years…most of it was bare dirt, real slick and muddy after a rain or snow.
I didn’t have much luck hunting that area for the first few years…saw lots of elk, called in big bulls, but something always went wrong. A missed shot, a wind switch, busted by a cow, a snapped twig, lousy weather. Just about everything that could go wrong, did. Little did I know that my luck was about to take a dramatic change for the good after one eventful day in September, 1990.
I had just returned to camp from a tough morning hunt. The elk were around but it rained pretty hard and I was soaked. I changed into what dry clothes I had left and went down to the creek to fill the water bottle. Halfway down the path something caught my eye in the dirt. I’ll never know why I spotted it. I’d made this walk dozens of times through the years uneventfully, but the rain must have washed just enough soil away for me to notice. It shone shiny and black through the earth. I bent down and scratched enough dirt to loosen the object of my attention and could scarcely believe my eyes. I was holding a piece of worked obsidian stone…an artifact from yesteryear. I removed more dirt from the stone. Was it an arrowhead? A meat scraper? An awl? I looked over my shoulder for an answer. A lone raven perched on a dead pine was the only company I had. It croaked with indifference and flew off riding the thermals on jet black wings up through the gray sky toward the mountain top.
Crow? Bannock? Blackfeet? Nez Perce? Shoshone? Who were these primitive hunters whose camp I had chosen for my own? There is no obsidian within miles of this spot which means it was brought in by travelers from afar. I considered the odds of me finding the very spot where these nomads chose to camp many moons ago and had to sit down on a log to gather my thoughts.
Why me? What the consequence? My old campsite had suddenly become a sacred area. A sanctuary. I could almost feel the eyes of the braves and elders staring through me. I thought of digging for more treasure…surely there was more buried there. But something said “no.” Mother Earth had given up The Spirit Stone. To ask for more would reek of greed…would disturb that which had laid secret for probably a hundred years or more. I slipped the stone into my pocket and walked slowly, even reverently, back up the short path to camp.
I decided that this was a gift with great meaning. I carried the stone in my pocket wherever I went. Hunting got good! The next year I returned to the same spot and arrowed the biggest bull of my life! In deer hunting, too, my fortunes changed. Fat bucks with large antlers began to fall to my bow. And I was able to harvest a mature tomcat mountain lion with my stick and string.
The stone went wherever I went.
Legend has it that The Spirit Stone shines its light on the person who finds it. The holder of the stone may choose to transfer it only to another being who has a faith as strong as the finder. The new keeper of the stone can expect good fortune to shine on them as long as their faith remains strong, even through tough times. The person must hold the stone for a period of at least 48 moons or approximately two years. At this time they may choose to transfer the stone to another who is deserving of good fortune. The giver of the stone loses none of the good medicine because the act of giving is looked upon by The Great Spirit as even more deserving than the actual holding of the stone. In this way, The Sprit Stone may work its magic forever.
Go, then…take up The Spirit Stone. Good fortune shall smile down upon you. Peace be with you.
Postscript: attached is a map showing the location where the stone was found marked with and “X.” This is a SECRET location and must not be revealed to anyone but the finder, holder or receiver of the stone or the spell will be broken forever. The location is in the Madison Valley, Montana.