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Missing Dutchman Hunter - Jesse Capen
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Missing Dutchman Hunter - Jesse Capen

Postby SuperstitionGuy » Jan 17 2010 7:39 pm

The following article is about a man missing since November 22, 2009 whose camp was found December 20, 2009 near the old Tortilla Ranch. Has he perhaps asked questions on HAZ prior to his trip and/or have any of you while hiking the Superstitions met a man that meets his description? The Maricopa County Shriff's office is in charge of the search if you have info.

Colo. man missing in search for Lost Dutchman gold mine

1 comment Jan. 17, 2010 02:15 PM
Associated Press

PHOENIX - Arizona
authorities are searching for a Colorado man whose mother says disappeared while searching for the storied Lost Dutchman gold mine.

The Marcicopa County Sheriff's Office has been organizing searches for 35-year-old Jesse Capen since hikers discovered his Jeep near Old Tortilla Ranch on Dec. 20 but have found no trace of him in the desert near the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix.

"It's a pretty desolate area. It looks like you stepped on the moon," said Don Roughan, a sheriff's deputy.

The hikers who found Capen's Jeep said his wallet, backpack, cellphone, food and sleeping bag were also in a tent nearby. About 100 people, dogs and helicopters searched for Capen on Saturday and have covered a 10-mile radius near his tent.

Capen's mother, Cynthia Burnett, said her son was obsessed with the Lost Dutchman mine and had more than 100 books and maps about it. He arrived in Apache Junction, east of Phoenix, on Nov. 22 to begin looking for the mine, Burnett said.

"This is beyond obsessed," she said.

Burnett said she fears her son may have been bitten by a rattlesnake or injured in a fall and then attacked by a bear. She described her son as a "gentle giant" - about 6-foot-4 and more than 200 pounds - who went into the desert unarmed in search of the gold mine, which has been the subject of movies.

She said her son planned to return to Denver by Christmas.

Capen had been working as a bellhop at a hotel in downtown Denver for the past 11 years.
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Re: Missing Dutchman Hunter

Postby joe bartels » Jan 17 2010 7:47 pm

Man for some reason this just hits home more than a tourist falling of the edge of the GC for snapshots :?

That's a big adjustment from downtown Denver to the central catclaw infested Superstitions. Can't be good, nobody leaves their wallet.
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Re: Missing Dutchman Hunter

Postby Grasshopper » Jan 17 2010 8:08 pm

SuperstitionGuy wrote:"It's a pretty desolate area. It looks like you stepped on the moon," said Don Roughan, a sheriff's deputy.


I don't get this statement at all. Is this the Tortilla Ranch area at the end of 4x4 FR213 they are referring to here?.. http://hikearizona.com/location_g.php?GPS=7369 This area has never reminded me of what I would think it would be like to "step on the moon".
Last edited by Grasshopper on Jan 17 2010 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Missing Dutchman Hunter

Postby big_load » Jan 17 2010 8:08 pm

He'd more than likely be well off-trail when his mishap occurred. He'll be hard to find, especially if scavengers have had their way.
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Re: Missing Dutchman Hunter

Postby SuperstitionGuy » Jan 17 2010 8:35 pm

Grasshopper wrote:
SuperstitionGuy wrote:"It's a pretty desolate area. It looks like you stepped on the moon," said Don Roughan, a sheriff's deputy.


I don't get this statement at all. Is this the Tortilla Ranch area at the end of 4x4 FR213 they are referring to here?.. http://hikearizona.com/location_g.php?GPS=7369 This area has never reminded me of what I would think it would be like to "step on the moon".[/quote]

I have just checked with my search and rescue contacts in Arizona and his camp was at or near Kane Spring and they suspect and have been searching the Tortilla Mtn. area where there are a number of old mining sites. With the weather front that is approaching the searches will be put on hold until better weather conditions prevail.

I have my own thoughts on where he might have traveled to and got into trouble but alas I am stuck here in Utah until February. If he is not found before then is there anyone willing to join me for a two or three weekday journey to search for him?
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Re: Missing Dutchman Hunter

Postby Vaporman » Jan 17 2010 9:05 pm

That stinks. I saw the SAR in the area last weekend and wondered who they were looking for. I've actually recently been looking at a route up to Tortilla Mountain...
Yea, canyoneering is an extreme sport... EXTREMELY dramatic!!! =p
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Re: Missing Dutchman Hunter

Postby joe bartels » Jan 17 2010 9:13 pm

With the storms coming don't get into the situation I was lured into four years ago
http://hikearizona.com/phoZOOM.php?ZIP=24755
bad, bad, bad idea
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Re: Missing Dutchman Hunter

Postby nonot » Jan 17 2010 11:15 pm

I believe a popular destination for Dutch Hunters is "Lost Ridge" up on Peters Mesa. Not knowing the water source conditions, Kane Spring would be a sensable base camp to get there on a dayhike. It is possible he got off trail and headed down Peter's Canyon as well as it is not a distinct crossing. On top of Peters Mesa the trail is hard to find. That whole section of the Supes is a pretty rugged area visited by few.
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

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Re: Missing Dutchman Hunter

Postby Vaporman » Jan 18 2010 5:13 am

joe bartels wrote:With the storms coming don't get into the situation I was lured into four years ago
http://hikearizona.com/phoZOOM.php?ZIP=24755
bad, bad, bad idea


That's crazy! :o Yea, I'll avoid the snow but at the same time all this potential rain could fill the canyons up with water for a week or two... :?

LoL, I can attest to missing the Peters Mesa trail and heading down Peters Canyon thought he'd eventually pop out at Tortilla Flat if he kept on going.
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Re: Missing Dutchman Hunter

Postby Darth Stiller » Jan 18 2010 7:11 am

joe bartels wrote:don't get into the situation I was lured into four years ago


Was that 4 years or 3 years ago? I got stuck in a big storm in the eastern supes 3 years ago January.
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Re: Missing Dutchman Hunter

Postby BobP » Jan 18 2010 7:22 am

In response to Stiller:
The pic set is dated Mar 2006.
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Re: Missing Dutchman Hunter

Postby joe bartels » Jan 18 2010 9:37 am

This was that freak storm in March. It had already been almost hot out the week prior. I almost spent the night there as Tortilla road is slanted for a quarter mile stretch before the old ranch foundations. When the snow melted during my hike 4WD proved useless to staying on the road.
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Re: Missing Dutchman Hunter

Postby rally_toad » Jan 18 2010 9:42 am

Missing since November 22nd! Tent was found almost a month ago! That doesn't sound like good odds to me :(
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Re: Missing Dutchman Hunter

Postby DesertDirtDog » Jan 19 2010 7:56 pm

rally_toad wrote:Missing since November 22nd! Tent was found almost a month ago! That doesn't sound like good odds to me :(


I don't think anyone is expecting anything good to come.

I was in Peter's Canyon JAN 2nd, and ran into a couple of Maricopa County S&R volunteers with their cadaver dog. They just want the family to have closure.

Anyone who's hiked that trail/area of the Wilderness can tell you that it is not a place to be if you're not in reasonable shape, and according to the volunteers, the missing man wasn't.
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Re: Missing Dutchman Hunter

Postby te-wa » Jan 19 2010 8:06 pm

i was out here doing 2 backpacks from Tortilla, on the 6th of December and again on the 13th. I did not notice a Jeep or any evidence of camping.
Joe, Hank and Gabrielle may have seen a Jeep, but I did not.
poor guy's pro'lly stuck in the jungle down in Pistol Canyon
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Re: Missing Dutchman Hunter

Postby joe bartels » Jan 19 2010 8:19 pm

Now I really hope they find something for the family's sake. Hopefully nothing funky is going on here like foul play.
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Re: Missing Dutchman Hunter

Postby jeffmacewen » Jan 19 2010 9:19 pm

joe bartels wrote:Now I really hope they find something for the family's sake. Hopefully nothing funky is going on here like foul play.

I was thinking the that same thing, actually.
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Re: Missing Dutchman Hunter

Postby SuperstitionGuy » Jan 19 2010 9:26 pm

te-wa wrote:poor guy's pro'lly stuck in the jungle down in Pistol Canyon


I am thinking the trap or area around it in Trap Canyon :scared:, as it's probably only about three miles away from his campsite.
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Re: Missing Dutchman Hunter

Postby big_load » Jan 20 2010 9:20 am

SuperstitionGuy wrote:I am thinking the trap or area around it in Trap Canyon :scared:, as it's probably only about three miles away from his campsite.


Is there a mineralogical reason to look there? I wouldn't have thought so.
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Re: Missing Dutchman Hunter

Postby SuperstitionGuy » Jan 20 2010 1:44 pm

Mineralogical deposits no, but claim markers and prospect holes yes. After all what Dutchman Hunter needs evidence of mineral to start digging a hole or marking a claim? :-({|= :whistle:

There was a sluice operation at the eastern end back in the late 1970's or early 1980's and they left behind quite a bit of camping gear, gold mining equipment and trash. Go figure? :roll:
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