“Follow the winding path through the middle of painted earth” said the chief. He was sitting on a rock, on the Oregon side of the Columbia, as the mighty river rolled quietly by, just a few yards away. “At the end you will find what you seek buried under 6 feet of the soft colored pebbles”

Billy was at a loss. He needed to find the chest urgently, his brother’s life depended on it; no time for riddles. He looked down from the saddle as his horse dug into the soft dirt with his left hoof. “What painted earth old man” he asked, softening his voice so as not to sound too impatient. “Is that a real place or one of your legends? And what color earth do I look for?”

The chief held his pipe and stretched his arm to the South. “About a day’s ride that way” he said, “you will come to a place where the earth turns the color of our people’s skin. It is, after all, our mother. But this is a special place. There are many hills of soft colored pebbles. It is earth but when the sun hits the right way, the hills glow like so many piles of red berries. It is desert but there is also a small blue lake near these painted hills.  And there is truth in every legend. The place is real, but unless you believe me you will never get there…”