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Gold Hunting!

Prineville Reservoir


Prineville Reservoir

Last summer, I worked at Bend Park & Rec, and while putting in long hours keeping Bend's parks beautiful, a coworker of mine, a Crook County native, spun me tales of gold in the hills near Prineville Reservoir. The stories were entertaining, and I filed them away, like pirate's treasure maps, for later consideration. Scan the internet for "Central Oregon buried treasure" and Google returns 41,000 results. There's gold in them there hills. I mean, even the internet says so, so it must be true.

Skeleton Rock

A cursory review of the internet reveals about a half dozen different takes on who buried what, where, and why. But most of them go a little like this: In 1870, somewhere southeast of Prineville, two men robbed a stage coach and made off with 50 grand in cash and gold. They intended to head west to Portland, but were pursued by authorities and got hung up by the raging Crooked River. Following the banks of the river, they looked for a place to hide the stash and noticed the distinctive Skeleton Rock formation. Unfortunately, one man was shot and killed and the other caught by authorities before they were able to return and collect their loot. To this day, the exact location is known only to the stony hillside of Prineville Reservoir.

Swan Lake

This legend takes place in what was once the pioneer settlement of Swan Lake, located somewhere around 10 miles east of Klamath Falls. The sole internet corroboration for this source comes from a website titled, so you know it's definitely true. Legend has it that the advent of a post office in Swan Lake brought with it moneyed, but lonesome, stage coach travel between Klamath Falls and Lakeview. It is said that one particular Swan Lake resident made a pretty penny knocking off stage coaches on the regular, and kept his proceeds buried in the potato patch behind the post office. Find the remains of the post office and you'll find the treasure.


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