Finding Carl, Part One…

 

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Last spring when I visited the Bitterroot area in Montana, I had a couple of items on my agenda not related to the search per se, but interesting and related to the white settlement of the west.

Some of you may be familiar with the term “inholders”. Inholders are folks who own property inside federal lands. Their properties are called “inholdings” and can be found inside National Forests, National Parks, Wild and Scenic Areas and even Wilderness Areas throughout this country.

Typically these privately owned parcels were purchased, homesteaded or deeded to an individual before the government decided to make the area into a national forest or park or wilderness area. The owners didn’t want to sell or trade their property to the government so they became surrounded by federal land.

The largest clan of inholders are the railroads. In order to sweeten the deal for the railroads who faced some tough and expensive line building in the rugged, mountainous west, the government gave them alternating, one mile squares of property to do with as they pleased. (Long before the government bailed out banks and automobile manufacturers they were giving away our public lands to railroads)

It was a huge bonus for the railroads who could sell off this property immediately, if there were any buyers, or hold onto it until it was more valuable, or try to do something else with it. Buyers were scarce. In the west, where populations of humans were less dense and land was less valuable, the railroads claimed that the thick forest’s were crying to be turned into timber for millions of new homes and townsites on the east and west coasts. The coveted timber forests of the south and north were nearly depleted. The timber barons were looking westward for new resources.

landgrab

In some regions the railroads received as much as a forty mile wide swath of land on either side of their railroad in alternating mile square sections. One to the railroad, the next stayed with the government. From the air this arrangement of land ownership resembled a large checkerboard. All this standing timber only required loggers and a route to market and the railroads were supremely poised to take advantage of this give-away.

Over the next one hundred fifty years the already existing timber companies along with the railroad formed timber companies, logged-off much of their parcels. Big lumber outfits like Weyerhouser, Boise Cascade, Plum Creek and others in the northwest ended up with huge tracts of land which they still log today. Similar incentives were offered to other railroad companies in the east, south and north parts of the country. So the railroads and their timber company descendants are unquestionably the largest inholders. They make up some 95% of all inholdings in the USA. Most of the remaining inholders are private citizens like you and me who happen to own a few acres of land that our descendants claimed or settled in the years before the surrounding land became a National Park.

Imagine what a five acre parcel inside Grand Teton National Park would be worth today, as recreational property, on a lake or stream, surrounded by magnificent mountains teeming with wildlife and away from the brouhaha of middle class family camping vacationers. A government maintained road right to your property line and perhaps a meadow turned into a landing field.

Over the years I have done a few stories about inholders and the government. Property rights of private owners vs public property for the common good. Inholders are often organized and represented by an inholder’s alliance. It is rarely average Joe against the government. It is more often a battle of well fattened attorneys on both sides presenting drama filled  stories of persecution and neglect, an unbalance of wild and tamed boiled down to access, mineral rights, water rights and 5th amendment interpretation. The concerns and values twist and turn, bump and grind and finally boil down into who has the most intimidating army of least compassionate yet theatrically loud attorneys.

But very little of this has anything to do with my inholder story. It’s just background.

I was looking for an interview with a trapper. A real trapper. A fellow who made his living by trapping and snaring animals then skinning, curing and selling furs. Not a seasonal trapper who lived in town and drove out to the wood a few times a year to set traps, mend his line and harvest his  animals. Instead I wanted to find someone who lived the lifestyle of a trapper all year long and who, for what ever reason, shunned as much of society and its accutraments, as was possible.

I have always been interested in the stories of those who choose to embrace self sufficiency, inconvenience and discomfort over the power grid, central heating and the supermarket. For those of us who relish the aroma of crafted coffee or micro-brewed beer or fine, artisanal pizza on a daily basis, the lure of irregular bathing in lukewarm water and spending below zero winters splitting wood and using an outhouse is not that strong. I didn’t want yet another answer to the question, Why are you here?, but rather I wanted to know what the payout was, for the rest of us. Was there some degree of social good that could be rationed out to society in general by the way these few, serious, “small footprint” types were choosing and even battling to live. What I finally learned surprised even the jaundiced me.

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I had heard about Carl from multiple sources over the previous three or so years. He lives back in the Bridger-Teton National Forrest. He is an inholder. His “place” consists of a hand-built cabin, a couple of out buildings and a mule or two. He has a small hayfield a smaller vegetable garden and he traps and fishes. He is completely self-sufficient and does not come into town at all. In fact, he doesn’t drive, doesn’t have a license or a vehicle that anyone has ever seen and much to the chagrin of the government he does not have a license to fish or hunt or trap. He is in his early 50s and has lived back there his whole life. He lives alone except for his mules and whatever wildlife comes around. He has no mail service and no post office box in town. His place has no electric and rarely gets visitors. The Forest Service road goes to within a mile of his place but you have to take a trail from the road back to his cabin.

About ten years ago Carl was in town for about a month. He was staying over at the county jail and he was locked up and awaiting trial for hunting, fishing and trapping without any license. That’s the last time anyone saw him in town.

Somehow he managed to walk away without a fine or charges or even a requirement to get a license to hunt. I wondered how he did that. Needless to say, Carl interested me. I wanted to see if he would talk to me, if he could answer my burning question. I longed to know if he was some sort of backwoods troglodyte living as best he could without being a danger to society or, was Carl a renaissance man of many skills, fed up to his armpits with corporate America and had a cabin full of Popular Mechanics and Mother Earth magazines and a roof full of home made solar panels? I didn’t leave room for any in-betweens.

At a bar in Jackson I was told that there was a fellow over in Wilson who brought things out to Carl and probably knew him better than anyone. I hunted around for a couple days and finally found out that this guy, Jason, worked as a seasonal for the park in summer and for the ski resort in winter. He would be between jobs now and I might find him at home. His number was in the local phone book so I called and introduced myself. Jason said he could meet me at a bar in Wilson in about a half hour.

A couple of things were burning up my brain cells about Carl and I hoped Jason could set me straight and also provide useful first hand advice about about meeting up with Carl.

There was next to no one in the bar when I arrived. I took a worn, red leather booth about half way down the dark wall and sat where I could watch the door. Before my seat was even warmed up a slender waitress wearing smooth black yoga pants and a white, long tailed, dress shirt made me forget how cold it was inside. She was also wearing a pair of brown over-furry boots that were probably needed to keep her toes frostbite-free in the frigid bar, and a big fuzzy hat with earflaps that suggested the boss might have mandated the yoga pants but footwear and hats were up to the wait staff. Her hat was embroidered with large red letters that spelled “Crazy Russian” in the fur.

She asked me what I wanted to drink. When she spoke I could see her breath and her ear flaps bounced up and down. I told her I needed something to warm me up. She suggested a hot toddy. I said a hot chocolate would suit me better. She asked if I wanted a shot of peppermint schnapps in my chocolate. As good as it sounded I declined. Then she wanted to know if I wanted whipped cream on my drink.
“Of Course”, I said.
“Do you want a cherry on top” she asked.
“Sure” I said.
“Red or green” she inquired.
“ummmm, I don’t know. What do you suggest?, I asked.
“Red”, she said.
“Sounds good”, I said.

As she sped away to the bar I watched to make sure her shirt was covering her Yoga pants properly. The shirt seemed a bit short but maybe not. I didn’t have a yard stick with me so I couldn’t be certain.  What would Sister Linus think? I decided to watch closer next time she walked away before I made a judgement. It might take three looks before I could be certain. It’s important not to jump to conclusions.

When Jason came in I was a couple sips into my chocolate and trying to look cool while keeping the whipped cream out of my mustache. He glanced around briefly then landed on me and waved. I motioned him over. He was wearing a brown and beige Pendleton wool shirt with razor sharp creases in the sleeves and a blue REI down vest. His pants were fashionably faded beige chinos with creases that matched his shirt. His suede pigskin boots made no noise against the floor as he walked toward me.

I stood to greet him and we shook hands. I am guessing Jason was about 35, six feet tall and athletic looking, He was not wearing any rings and would certainly be very popular with the women of Wilson.

When the waitress came over we sat and Jason asked me what I was drinking. I told him it was a hot chocolate. He looked at the waitress and smiled and told her that he really liked her hat.

“Thanks,” she smiled. “And what will you have?”

“I’ll take a hot chocolate too, with a shot of schnapps, whipped cream and a green cherry and do you have any of those chocolate sprinkles?” he asked.

“I’ll find some.” she said. “Do you want some chopped nuts on top?
“Great” he said.
She gave Jason a lovely smile and turned away to head to the bar.

We both watched her walk away.

“She didn’t offer me the nuts”, I said.
“Probably just forgot”, Jason replied.
“What do you think?” I asked, “Is that shirt a little too short?”
“I think her legs are just about perfect.” Jason said as he continued to watch.
“Yeah, thats what I was thinking too.” I said, as I continued to watch.

We talked a little about the weather and got down to business. Jason told me that he had been Carl’s runner for about ten years now. That he worked for the Park in the summer and the road that went by Carl’s place was on his circuit and he drove that stretch about once a week in summer. When Carl had something he wanted, he’d hang a metal sign on a tree near his trail. Carl left a message or whatever he had in a varmit proof box under the tree and Jason would take care of it. Mostly he left freshly tanned rabbit and coyote pelts that Carl took into town and sold. In the past there were other pelts too, Bobcat, Cougar, Lynx, Elk, Fox and more, but not anymore. Along with the pelts would be a list of things Carl wanted. Things like honing oil, grease, a book, lamp oil, 20ft of hemp rope, door hinges, a blanket, boots he wanted resoled, a pound of nails, sugar or salt or flour. Jason took the beautiful pelts into town and sold them to artists or souvenir shops. They were always easy to sell. Jason took the cash and got the items Carl wanted. Next time he went by Carl’s he’d leave them in the box for him. It was a simple trade deal and no cash ever crossed Carl’s hands. Therefore no IRS involvement. In ten years of providing this service he actually met up with Carl twice. They exchanged pleasantries and went their own ways.

Jason figured that over ten years he actually spent less than 10 minutes talking to Carl. “He seemed quite nice and very open. I felt like if I wanted too, I could invite myself up to Carls place and visit with him and I did that once but Carl wasn’t around when I got there. Haven’t tried since. I know Carl likes his solace so I wouldn’t bother him unless it’s important.”

After about a half hour of explaining what he knew of Carl’s customs I asked Jason if he thought Carl would talk to me about his lifestyle. Jason considered the question for a few seconds and said, “I think he would, but you’ll have to be very careful and very precise in how you approach him. A few folks have wandered back there from time to time and apparently Carl has been quite welcoming to some and not so welcoming to others. I don’t think it’s a matter of luck. I believe Carl has expectations and I believe I know how you can get him to welcome you. But we should not give him advance notice nor ask his permission to come back. I’ve watched that fail every time. Carl just says No!”.

“Mystery upon mystery”, I thought.

To Be Continued…

PART TWO

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167 thoughts on “Finding Carl, Part One…

  1. Carl sounds like my kind of guy, the kind that legends are made of…The waitress, well let’s just say that she’s a good waitress…Interesting history about “inholding” and how the powers that be dole out what should not be theirs to dole out. Can’t wait to hear more about Carl…and whether you ordered a green cherry the next time.

      • I know a few people like Carl. They are the last of the pioneers that made this land of ours. Every day has a purpose that dictates whether survival is sweet or bitter. It doesn’t get any more organic than that…Thanks and I look forward to the second installment.

    • I’m with you, Will. Carl certainly sounds interesting, but we haven’t learned much about him yet. I would like to know more. He sounds like my kind of guy. I wonder if he walks like he has true grit in his pants…obviously not yoga pants because they’re too tight. Did I write TOO tight? Because yoga pants can never be TOO tight, right? 🙂

    • As I was going to say, before I fat-fingered the submit button; excellent tale. Hope it’s true, and I somehow have a desire for hot chocolate and whipped (with) cream. Ahaha. Well done Dal, approaching Carl’s runner first was the best way to go. Beats getting shot at for trespassing. Looking forward to hearing the rest of this. If it turns out like I hope, it’ll be a best seller somewhere. Best of luck.

  2. Dal, great story as usual and informative too. Can’t wait to read the rest. I was wondering why you could see a checkerboard on the maps. Cutting down the trees in some squares and leaving others makes sense. I wonder how much would have been wooded before the loggers came through. Thanks for the info and I’m waiting for more.

    • Carolyn-
      You’re correct. The reason the checkerboard is so pronounced in that picture is because the inholder decided to clear cut their holdings. So all the light colored squares are inholder properties and the trees are gone. The darker squares belong to you and me. The Forest Service did not cut our trees…or at least they did not clear cut them. So our “government” tracts of land are dark with trees. Remember, each one of those squares is a mile by a mile. This kind of logging plays heck with most wildlife. Interrupting their ancient travel patterns over vast areas of land….not to mention the road building for log trucks and other machinery that also has to be built so the trees can be cut and the logs hauled to market. Now…imagine this kind of pattern forty miles deep and 50 miles long. Imagine how beautiful this area might have been for hikers and bird watchers last week…and how utterly devastated it looks from the ground now. This was not the first cut in this area. It was the second or third. The big trees are gone. The inholder cuts these trees about every sixty years. Although this is the the most cost effective way to harvest timber many argue that it is not in the best interest of humanity or wildlife.

      • Dal, have you driven over to see the damage from the Oso slide?

        Those ridgelines have a lot of clear cutting which made me cringe when I saw the mudflows in person.

        • 23-
          Yes. I was there this fall. In addition to it having been a living nightmare for the people trapped and displaced by that quagmire it is truly amazing to look at…even a year later.

          We have been clear cutting for years. Not all of the results are as disturbing as Oso but there are certainly failures that have resulted in loss of life down slope from the roads and cuts. People like to build in valleys. Loggers like to make roads and take trees above the homes. It’s a woeful tale of ignorance…sometimes on the part of both. But it’s not just inholders who have caused havoc and destruction below. The government’s record of land abuse and poor maintenance is just as tarnished.

          • Both of my uncles were smokejumpers and BLMers. I wish they were alive still so I could hear their stories. One of them was named Carl, he’s probably saying “it’s all relative” which is what he would say later in life when MS took its power over his mind.

          • Lots of slides out here in Washington lately. Just today news says state legislation paying to do more thinning in the Forrests out here.

        • Mindy-
          I am not sure precisely where that aerial is from. But typically in a forested region like that those massive private holdings are all owned by a single timber company like Weyerhaeuser or Boise-Cascade. Their holdings go on for miles and miles and miles…sometimes up to 40 miles away from the tracks…If you ever fly across the Cascades or Rockies it’s absolutely mind popping how extensive these checkerboard holdings are. They are quite easy to spot and often look just like in the photo.

  3. Your story about Carl reminds me of Richard L. Proenneke……… He lived alone in the wilderness up in Alaska…….. Good stuff

    • Hi Michael,

      Are you suggesting that Mr. Fenn has hidden the chest within some “Inholder” property that he owns? If that is the case, I wonder if he has faenced it off and put up a no tresspassing sign to protect him if anyone gets hurt by going on his property. My grandfather would do that at his cabin that was vacant much of the year. He was not concerned about people tresspassing, only about them possibly getting injured some how and him then being liable.

      I ventured into an area in Colorado that was marked “private property no tresspassing” with the threat of prosecution once. At first I thought it may have been owned by Mr. Fenn thinking as you that this would address the whole “title” and ownership issue. Then I noticed a small power plant nearby so it was apparent the land was owned by the Public service company. They probably wanted to protect themselves from any injury liability as well, so posted the sign to keep families and children venturing into the area and getting hurt. That was my thinking anyway. It was interesting though because the power plant dated back to old mining days and I wanted to learn more about it. It was actually a hydro-electric plant and the curious thing was you couldn’t tell where the feed source water came from. It was fascinating to say the least. I hope the Public Service company doesn’t mind my looking. I suppose I should appologize to them.

      I guess next time if I come across a search area that I believe might be “inholder” property owned by Mr. Fenn, I might think twice about searching for the treasure because Mr. Fenn may not want you to be searching there particularly if there are signs posted. I guess we really do not know, but you bring up an interesting thought regarding inholder property. I suppose it would address the “title” issue, but not sure where that gets us if Mr. Fenn posted a “‘keep out” sign.

      I do not view Mr. Fenn in this light, so I do not think the TC is located anywhere near someone’s “inholder” property and if there are signs posted, the treasure is probably not there. IMO.

      • Hi Windsurfer, I’m enjoying your country this week. Thanks for ordering up fresh powder and sunshine in the summit. Enjoying lunch break and hot cocoa now. I’ll have to pay attention to this post later. Lots of property wisdom in your head today.

        • Hi lia,

          I was planning to head to the mountains today, but I heard the Wind would be insane…LOL! Reports of 90+ miles per hour and roads closed. The Chinooks bring warmth but howl just the same.

          Hope you were not blown off the slopes. I will try tomorrow…maybe see ya there.

    • When my mother was a child my grandfather had owned a little property on the southend of Glacier National Park, behind the Great Northern Railroad Hotel. Cross the tracks, up the trail, above the creek. It was is a cute little gingerbread cottage. Not exactly a mountain man cabin, but secuded and peaceful.

      • Michael H, that’s a beautiful area and the a Great Northern Hotel still serves great homemade pie. Our family ate there last summer on our way to Glacier for guys to fish the middle fork. Wow, were you ever lucky to spend summers near Glacier!

    • “The Last Frontier” on TV chronicles the lives of 3 generations of one family homesteading deep in Alaska’s back country. It’s an interesting program closer to a documentary than a staged reality show. Reminds me of old Wyoming and Montana before Hollywood bought up the ranches.

    • 23k,

      I just watched this a few weeks ago. It’s very good. As a stark contrast, my 13yr old son was in the room at the time & I watched him as well…..the movie was mostly over before he looked up from killing zombies on his phone.

      • Clinger, happy you enjoyed the documentary too.

        I hope to figure out how to get teenagers off these devices in my lifetime.

        They are really missing out on real life. How lucky most of us were to be on a party line growing up without a smart phone.

        It’s all a balancing act to be connected to nature and the modern world, unless of course you’re Carl.

        • Ahhh, the good old party line. Talk about two old biddies. I could never use the phone when I was young, they were always on there yapping away. 🙂

          I was about 10 (circa 1978) when we moved up in the world and had a phone line all to ourselves.

          I remember a few years later when I started seeing a girl in the next town over. OMG! long distance calls. The phone bill was almost $30 one month and I thought my dad was going to lose it. I believe normally it was $12 or so. LOL – I think of that every month when I pay ATT and note that my sons have ran over on data usage and I get dinged $15.

          Clinger

          • Clinger – Glad you can relate to the party line era too. It was how we knew the neighbors business – just pick up the dial and stay quiet.

            Funny about long distance charges. First world problems…Carl sounds like he was trying to avoid them.

  4. Great cliff hanger Dal!

    Can’t wait to read the rest of your story. Really interesting land history as well which could tie back into treasure research. Thank you for sharing it with us. I’ve played checkers for months with the FS and BLM.

    Wilson, Wyoming is a long ways south of Bitterroot country in Montana. Would love hearing about your travels through the beautiful Bitterroot as well.

    • 42-
      Thanks…you are certainly correct about the distance.
      My Bitterroot story is here:
      http://dalneitzel.com/2014/04/19/the_shaft/

      Please note that in my stories about real people I often change their names and sometimes their location because I promise folks that the stories will not interfere with their privacy. Before they will talk to me, they must trust me.

      • This is a fine story dal. I am looking forward to the continuation. I know of someone a little like this Carl person you mention, but I have heard that they do not even offer a “No” sometimes. The silence is deafening. LOL! I am hopeful that your next installment will reveal that you have earned Carl’s trust. Maybe Jason is the key to your access?

      • Dal, your Bitterroot story is also a terrific read! You can certainly answer Forrest when he asks, “How deep is a hole?”
        Seriously Dal, you’ve a natural gift with story telling. I hope you plan to publish your stories – perhaps electronically to help save our forests.

  5. Thanks for the explanation of those checkerboard patterns! I had no idea what they were all about. I’m looking forward to reading more about Carl, truly a modern day mountain man. 🙂

  6. Awesome story! It was painted so well, I felt like I was there; splendid writing. Those good Ole country folks and adventures will not be found in the city. I hope there is a part two to this story…

    • Ramona & DAL, if Carl is wearing yoga pants you best address her/him as Carla. I’ve seen some Wyoming mountain gals who could cuss wallpaper off the walls.

      • That’s funny lia, those gals would scare me. I wasn’t trying to imply anything except that if Carl wears yoga pants, Dal is going to be busy judging if his shirt is to short. It just cracks me up the way Dal describes his looking at the pretty girls in his stories.

  7. Very well written as usual……When my wife read it she said, “Look Dal found a long lost relative of yours.” Then she asked, “What do you think Carl will tell Dal?” I said, “Beats me, I would have just shot him and used him for fertilizer.” 🙂

    Sounds like Carl is learning how the government dictates how we all should live. I wonder how many rules, codes, regulations, and laws he is breaking?

  8. Thank you for such a great story!!! I can’t wait to hear what happens next! Do we really have to wait until next week to hear the rest of the story? Oh and with our weather today and all the talk about Hot Cocoa I will be making a big cup of it after I finish my lunch. Thanks!

  9. Awesome story Dal, can hardly wait for part two.
    Sad to think that the builders are only concerned about how much money they can make. Take a priceless resource and put a monetary value on it. All for the sake for so called progress. Piffft keep manhattan, just give me that countryside.

  10. I would love to live like that but for now I will do what I always do. That’s only go around people when I have to. The older I get the worse not wanting to be around people gets. I know that’s my problem but I can live with it. It doesn’t bother me at all not being around people. Its sad that some people live their lives through other people. If more people were concerned about their own lives we would all get along much better! I do enjoy your stories and short ones are all I can read at a sitting. Let’s see so now I’m an anti-social who has a short attention span. That’s about right so far. Enough commenting for now I don’t need to reveal any more of my good qualities.

  11. You tell a good story Dal. Thanks for the info on inholdings.
    I had always wondered how that worked. More please.
    Oh and btw, I also felt like I was sitting in the next booth watching a couple of guys ogling the waitress… A funny visual, but not that uncommon 🙂
    So, I presume Forrest’s scrapbooks/posts are on hold for a while…

  12. Dal, Another great story…you’re right up there with Forrest when it comes to your story-telling ability…I felt I was right there with you. Could you please call in sick and post the next chapter asap! Do you have any pictures to intertwine among your words? cynthia

  13. I have reread the story several times now, and I can’t help but get the impression that Dal is holding back on us. Maybe some of you see the same thing. Dal seems to have one great question in the story, and later, Jason has a similar question. Yet Dal leaves the rest of us in the dark. I want to know where the picture is so we can all determine the answer ourselves. Plus, I want to see the “Crazy Russian” hat. 🙂

  14. Very well written story Dal. I can’t wait to read the remainder…

    If the fellas name is Don S. please make sure you tell him that I said hello.
    I haven’t seen him since 1972 and know that he lives out that way.
    20 years ago I heard the only friends he had was two mules.

    Don reminded me of Tarzan as we grew up and went to the same high school.
    He worked for Weyerhaeuser logging company and probably would be retired as myself but all that means is we do more stuff but with not
    as much pay…LOLrotfl….

    Again Great story Dal,Thank You!

    • I like that, Windsurfer. That kid is awesome! I wish he was the real President…but that’s a story for another day. I like all his advice…especially the advice to say something nice. I’m going to give a few examples.
      1. Dal, you’re a great writer. Keep up the good work.
      2. Waitress/Female Waitperson, you look great in those yoga pants. Keep on keepin’ it up! 🙂

      • JC1117,

        I am glad you like the video and your Keep on keepin’ it up advice is excellent particularly for a windsurfer. No worries about that. Keepin up is one of my main goals here on the Chase and I so appreciate dal for his excellent work in writing stories likes this one and keeping things ship-shape on the blog.

  15. Wind, thanks for surfing the net to share that awesome video!!

    I loved the advice and shared it with friends and family. 😉

    • Hi 42,

      I am glad you liked the video. The young lad had some fine advice. I also liked the “Keep keepin’ it up” advice offered by JC1117 for us Chasers.

      Chasing can be a bit discouraging at times, but if we to “Keep it Up”, someone will be rewarded some day I am sure. We should keep up our Spirit, keep up the Sun, and always havea upright attitude..

      I saw on Nine Clues that Mindy appears to be making some progress with a math type solution. That is way too complicated for my simple life, but I hope she is successful. She indicated she may even head out before Spring if she can walk right to her spot before the snow melts. That is great and if it doesn’t work out for her she can still join with us. I will not let you down.

      How would you feel about meeting some time this late winter/early Spring down in Santa Fe? Well, I guess that would be up for you. I know you are busy with friends and family, but perhaps you could put some of those activities on the slow burner. 🙂

      I am with you.

      • @ Mindy, best of luck!!! It sounds like your math skills and reasoning have paved a path to an exact location. Nice job Mindy!

        @ Windsurfer, thanks for the encouragement! Yes, the many complex ideas involving number/letter codes, 3-d boxes etc aren’t for me either; but mostly because I don’t understand them. My solve is simple and straight forward. F’s definitely bright enough for any and all of those theories to be in play. Some of the searcher chatter about satanism, party lines, curses etc. aren’t positive or fun, all a bit weird for me. After all what do I know in reality about Mr. Fenn’s purpose in hiding the chest. His Intentions appear altruistic and family oriented, and Forrest appears to be an all American hero, family man, good guy. But knowing about him is different than knowing him. Right Wind? What are your thoughts, keep me on track here, I’m glad for your sunny outlook;))

        • 42, I couldn’t agree with you more. At times I feel I know what Mr. Fenn”s intentions were behind hiding the chest. But I do not have the faintest idea as to who Mr. Fenn really is and I also just know a limited bit about him from TTOTC. All I do know is that he is absolutely brilliant from my first hand experiences in the field and research. Way, way, way smarter than me. I have told him so and also that I hope the Chase plays out exactly how he desires it to. As a player in the Chase I just wish I knew how that was supposed to go. Sometimes I get so many mixed signals in feebly deciphering all the information that I do not know the right way to go from the wrong way. My primary intentions have always been about the Chase experience and trying to solve that darn puzzle.

          I will surely keep you posted. For now I think I will become a lurker and stay close to home. You know the lurkers…those Sponge Bob folks who just absorb info. Anyway, the sun was shining in them hills today so I was pounding the bumps and going scary fast.

          • Windsurfer aka “square pants in the bumps” it’s always nice to touch base with you. Sounds like you enjoyed a perfect afternoon on the slopes. My back no longer absorbs the bumps but I love speed and can still keep up with my guys, just barely 🙂
            I may swim in the blog background too and dedicate time to poem’s solution. For what it’s worth, I only see the good in Mr. Fenn and most people,so some others opinions are confusing. Let’s touch base this spring about partnering on a search… That is if Mindy doesn’t find it.

          • 42, It was great on the slopes today. The bumps were fun and my old bones survived. So ALL IS WELL. 🙂 I am happy to lurk in the background too. I only see the good in Mr. Fenn too and I hope to see more scrapbooks soon. I learn so much from them and it is fun to read and study them. I am also waiting for that Childrens Book and of course the Bio that dal is writing. You know, waiting is actually one of the things I do well…so no worries about that.

            I look forward to catching up in the Spring. In the meantime, I will just be rooting for Mindy…really nothing else. 🙂

          • Aw, thank you, Wind. I just hope I have located a spot to search by then. I plan on taking a trip out West in the Spring, regardless if I search or not.
            And I’m still willing to go on a search with you and 42! 🙂

          • Mindy,

            I wish you all the best in your winter search. I really am backing out of the search now and just spending my time skiing and enjoying my family. My enthusiasm for the Chase has waned and it seems that nothing I post that is intended to be sincere and honest is interpreted that way. I hope you understand.

          • Wind,

            Please don’t leave.
            There will most likely be no way I can search before Spring. Not to mention I don’t even have a faint idea of a spot, area, or even a state yet. Lol.

            We have just learned we are growing our practice, and my work responsibilities are expanding, and the next couple months I’ll barely have enough time to breathe.

            I am hoping to spend time in Santa Fe this Spring, and would love to get together with you and 42!

    • Windsurfer, don’t give up, I enjoy your posts. I’m glad to hear that you’re still looking forward to the children’s book. It will be published early spring.

  16. Here in Idaho, we had a Man who lived in these caves, His name was Dug-out Dick. He died maybe 6 to 8 years ago. He lived to be old. It was on BLM land or something. He gardened and lived off grid. Into his 90’s. He gave tours, for a couple dollars, And rented out some of his caves for 5 to 10 dollars a night. He is in a few books. What a guy!
    Thanks for sharing Dal, fun story.

  17. When jason went to find carl he wasn’t there. I bet he was around somewhere close and or knew he was there. Carl probably knows someone is around way before they can see him and chooses not to be seen. His animals and he probably has a dog would let him know for sure. When your moving in the mountains you need to move slow and quiet as not to spook any wild animals and into the wind. The animals running out of a wooded area is one of the first giveaways to something or some one being there. Birds stop singing and tend to take flight or hide. I’d know there was someone around. Your story is an interesting story Dal . Fun to hear the rest of the story……… I never have liked the Idea that every other section was deeded to the railroad it was unfair and people involved raked in millions for there personal gain and lots of it was sold to developers .. There should have been some kind of stipulation that kept them from turning it into a private use scenario . Only for lumber production and wildlife habitat or revert back to the state or the people…( Government We the people ) What a Joke !!!!!!!!!!!! Probably knows most that try to find him is from some regulatory agency trying to suck money out of him or stop him from doing something.

  18. I normally don’t read long stories unless it catches my attention in the first paragraph this one did I read the whole thing I loved it I wanna meet Carl too 🙂 great story dal .

  19. Dal I didn’t expect you to be putting clues in your stories but there they are? The Russian hat the yoga pants and REI Jacket. Hmmm. Can’t wait for the ending.

    • Dal,
      I hope you know I am just teasing when I say that I won’t seriously worry about you finding the chest until you find the moose first. 🙂
      Seriously, if anyone finds that chest, it will be you. You have so much knowledge about everything related to the chase, and the perseverance to find it.

        • You almost gave me a heart attack. I would die if I was banned. Hmmmm….banned…band…banyon…CANYON. That’s a hint! Lol…:)

          I wonder if anyone gets my weird sense of humor…probably not!

          • Mindy, if you get banned or canned, I’ll go to bat for you! you’re just too cute and fun to get the boot.

            And you are welcome to look with Windsurfer and I on our search, if we can decide who’s solve is better and plan it. (mine’s better) 🙂
            I may not be on the blogs but I will check in to receive comments. Lots going on.

        • If anyone can find it, the three of us can. I’ll bring my GoPro. Maybe Dal will help us make it into a comedic, yet inspirational documentary about friendship and adventure and how to best use and divide the treasure we find. 🙂

  20. M I N D Y => Go Mindy!
    Windsurfer and 42 wish you the best in your winter search!

    If you get stuck snowshoeing holler for Wind – he’s stellar on skis.

    If your car gets stuck in the snow, place all four of your floor mats in front of each wheel for traction and go exactly 4.2 miles per hour.

  21. I don’t know about the rest of you searchers, but I’m ready for the next chapter of “Finding Carl”…Not trying to rush Dal, just thinking it probably is gonna be some good reading. Nothing like a good story to read by the fire on a snowy winter day…

  22. Carl’s long lost cousin Burt Shavitz, the reclusive co-founder and face of Burt’s Bees, who reluctantly became one of the world’s most recognizable brand identities.

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/626748

    “A good day is when no one shows up, and you don’t have to go anywhere.” – Burt

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