Bill, being a fine marksman, was hired by other prospectors to hunt bear for its meat. One hunting trip led him up Polique Canyon, and when he reached the ridge line he looked northward and saw a beautiful valley two miles distant. The party back at Starvation Flats later named this Holcomb’s Valley. The following day Bill and Ben Choteau, his Cherokee companion, wounded a “monster grizzly.” They followed the blood trail across a quartz ledge which caught Bill’s attention. Three days later they returned to take hunks of the quartz down to Caribou Creek where they intended to test the samples. While washing the rock in the creek, they were delighted to find the stream bed shimmering with gold washed down from the ridges above them! The news spread rapidly and by July of 1860 the valley was swarming with prospectors.