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A story from last weekend

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Over the last two weekends we worked on RM1843 (HEBO RESET) on top of Mount Hebo near the Oregon coast.


Mt Hebo is an interesting place. It used to be a cold war radar station and looked like THIS – (it even had a bowling alley). Now, nothing is left – just grassy, rocky, fields.


On this search for RD1843, we eventually found disks for: the Station Mark, Reference Mark 2, Reference Mark 3 and the Azimuth Mark. We also verified the box score azimuth to RD1873 (Haystack Rock). This is what Haystack Rock looked like from where we were standing at RD1843 (18 kilometers away):



We found the Station Mark with our cheap $22 metal detector.

We found RM3 using the box score and a probe. We were lucky because the ground is saturated with rocks and a probe is almost worthless.


While I was working on RM3 my wife was working on RM2. She kept digging with her hand trowel in the area indicated by the box score and kept finding rocks, but no disk. By the time I had uncovered, cleaned and photographed the Station Disk AND Reference Mark 3 AND re-verified the measurements for RM2 she was STILL digging away. She found a couple larger rocks and many smaller rocks. None had a disk.


After a while, the dog and I were running out of things to do. We stood around watching her scratch away at the ground. We cautiously asked if she thought maybe the mark had disappeared when they removed the Air Force buildings. We suggested that maybe we should move on to our next search. (I also might have also mentioned something about a wild goose chase.) She said: “that darn thing has to be here somewhere”.


Since she was not giving up, I grabbed another trowel to assist and the dog lay down so he could more effectively supervise. We removed more rocks and dug all around the sides of two larger rocks and were finally left with an excavation area that looked like this:



She was still not willing to give up. We sat around the edge of the hole discussing options. I was pushing her to leave so we could head out to our next search but she was not ready to quit. Since the darn dog would not back me up, the decision came down to a 1-1 tie, which she won. We would continue the search for RM2. As we were tiredly getting up to recommence the digging I looked into the hole for the hundredth time and had an idea. I said: “You don’t suppose…?”


I didn’t want to move the largest rock in there because: a) I did not want to disturb the disk if it was around there, and b ) the rock looked heavy. However, she had already dug around all sides and the top of the rock so we knew the disk was not on there. There were no other embedded rocks that could be upset by lifting this larger rock so I knew it would be safe to move.


We dug enough that I could get a finger grip under it. As I tilted it upward, a gasp was heard. That was followed by a whoop. This is what we saw:



You can see the imprint in the ground where the disk lay in its upside down state for all these years.


After we investigated further, we determined that the two larger rocks were once part of the same boulder that had broken in two some years back. Our guess is that when they were demolishing the Air Base they must have broken this rock and just thrown it in a hole.




I suppose this story is one of those: “you had to be there” kind of things. However, we found it pretty exciting at the time.


At this point, what should happen with RM3? We weren’t sure what to do, so we reburied it in its as-found, upside down, position and returned the ground to its original condition:


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Especially interesting to me since I've been through Hebo a few times. Do you remember when people used to actually wade out and climb Haystack?


How lucky they left the overturned rock in the approximate same location. Of course it's only value now is as a trophy...ask Deb! It would certainly look awesome in your garden with the original stone and all...

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