Grayling Creek 2017: Dal’s Version…

NOVEMBER 2017
by dal…

 

Earlier this year ABC Nightline contacted Forrest, Cynthia and me about a story the network news folks wanted to produce on Forrest’s treasure and the searchers who go after it.

Forrest agreed, Cynthia agreed and so did I. The logistical problem of a story like this for the producers includes the fact that the search covers four mountain states and searchers are widespread in their opinion about which of those states the chest actually resides in. So if you, as a producer are covering this chase with two searchers and an interview with Forrest you could end up sending camera crews and reporters to New Mexico for an interview with Forrest and two other states to cover the search by two searchers. If I decide to look in Montana in fall and Cynthia decides to look in Colorado in spring and Forrest wants to do the interview when his new book comes out…that’s a lot of trips for one 15 minute story. It takes time and money to cover at least three different locations at differing times of the year with a three or 4 person crew each time. The big networks have the resources to take that kind of story in stride. Independent filmmakers would rather film a single searcher and Forrest both in New Mexico and within a few days of one another. One trip, one crew…get ‘er done.

If a producer should be so unlucky as to plan on filming a searcher who thinks the chest is located inside Yellowstone National Park…a whole new level of problems presents itself. For instance, Yellowstone National Park doesn’t want to encourage searchers inside the park and they will send staff to oversee the film crew and searcher, much like a prison guard at Alcatraz. You have to search within a quarter mile of a road…and many more restrictions for searchers being filmed.

On the other hand an independent filmmaker and searcher might just slip into the park unnoticed and “get er done”. As illegal as that might be, the story gets shot and the park is unlikely to notice. BUT…if the producer does get caught it can lead to arrest and fines…even permanent banishment from entering a national park. So folks who know the rules usually choose not to break them. The cost is too severe if things go awry.

The plan was for us to meet the ABC crew on September 18th for filming in or around the park. Esmerelda, Kathy and I left for Yellowstone on September 14th. It was beautiful the day we packed up. I heard some hooting in the woods and knew one of the critters that inhabit our woods was wondering what was going on.

BARRED OWL IN OUR WOODS

Along the way we stopped near Arco, Idaho at Craters of the Moon National Monument for a walk and a look/see. This was a good time to visit. Dead of summer this place can be uncomfortably (miserably) hot and walking around on black lava rock when it’s 96 degrees is not my characterization of “a good time”. But it’s a unique micro environment and terribly interesting.

CRATERS OF THE MOON

I like getting down on my hands and knees to look for small things. I ran directly into this guy:

HORNED LIZARD

I’m not superstitious but I have to tell you…between the Barred Owl and the Horned Lizard I was beginning to feel like we were favored. If this was the way we were starting out, the rest of the trip could be fortunate indeed!

Since starting her search, Cynthia had been looking in New Mexico. She has written some great stories about her searches there and I highly recommend you read them on this very blog. She is a riveting writer and a fantastic searcher. Her stories will entertain and inform you. But, for a variety of reasons Cynthia wanted to search up near Yellowstone. She had never been there before, not even as a tourist and there were things she wanted to check out. So Cynthia, her partner Michelle and their dog Molly packed up and headed north. Tom and Coreda and their dog Ming, who were visiting Cynthia and Michelle also headed  toward the park. That was great. I had not seen Tom and Coreda since Fennboree.

We were a big contingent. Including the 3 crew from Nightline and my wife Kathy, we would be nine people and two bronze-sniffing dogs. That chest was not going to escape this time!

As it turned out, only Cynthia, Molly and myself would be searching on camera. The question was whether we should search together in one place to make it easier on the Nightline crew or should we each search in a different location? AND…should we search inside the park or outside the park? I had ideas for both…where to search???

Another concern was snow. Winter was moving in and nobody wanted to get caught in a snowstorm while searching. It would send the wrong message to other searchers and anyway nobody looks dignified on camera while slipping and sliding around. As Kathy and I drove the loop road in Yellowstone we saw snow in the hills:

SNOW IN THE PARK

ELK IN SNOW

By the next morning the snow was gone. On the 17th of September Cynthia and I met up for some looking around West Yellowstone, finding a few Forrest Fenn memorable locations and planning our search.

BISON IN THE PARK

We decided to search together but outside the park. I was particularly interested in an area around Grayling Creek I had not been able to examine. So we made plans to look there.

Grayling Creek has interested me for several years. The clues can take me to a number of places on that lovely creek and I know Forrest fished here.

I wrote earlier about searching on Grayling Creek in Grayling Creek Part One and Part Two on this blog. They can be found HERE

The creek starts in the park and winds its way west down to Hebgen Lake. It is one of many creeks I was investigating along the line of “There’ll be no paddle up your creek”

So here are the major points of the solution we were following:

WWWH = Madison Junction

Canyon Down = Madison Canyon

HOB = Baker’s Hole Campground

WAIT!!! Stop there…Why is Baker’s Hole the Home of Brown…?

That might be the worst fishing hole on the Madison. I’ve never seen anyone lift a fish from that spot. So it can’t be because of Brown trout.

Wellllll….We were using some old information that has been around this blog and others for many years. Namely that Baker’s Hole has not always been known by that name. You can see this for yourself on a 1912 Map of Gallatin County which is easily found on the internet.

Click HERE to go to the 1912 map.

You can see on that map where Baker’s Hole is today was once known as Brown’s Camp. Not too far below Baker’s Hole is Hebgen Lake…Hebgen Lake has a number of Creeks flowing into it and I have been checking them out as potential “No paddle up you creek” type places. By the way that map was also drawn by Fred Brown. I have not been able to find out if he was the Brown of Brown’s Camp…Maybe someone smarter than me can look into that…

In earlier years I had looked at the lower portion of Grayling downstream of the old Culligan Ranch to the lake. I have also looked upstream at the stretch between the Culligan Ranch and the waterfall. Much of this stretch is on private land and I had obtained permission before venturing in. Now, Cynthia and I were hoping to search the stretch between Hwy 191 downstream to somewhere above the waterfall. Our emphasis would be on the high elevation meadow along the north side of Grayling Creek. This stretch is completely on public land.

GRAYLING CREEK

In particular there is a large open meadow on level ground where animals (In my mind) would congregate for grazing and watering. It looked to be a pretty place…somewhere maybe Forrest might choose to be his final resting place.  Isolated, but not remote.

We met the ABC crew on the evening of the 17th around a campfire at Cynthia’s cabin, down the road from the park. The crew staged Cynthia and me at a picnic table looking over maps and discussing our search plans for the next day. It was here that they interviewed us prior to the search.

PLANNING THE NEXT DAY’S SEARCH

The next morning the crew and Cynthia met at my cabin in West Yellowstone. From there we headed up 191 about five miles to where Grayling Creek goes under the highway. The day was overcast but still and comfortable. Perfect hiking weather. Cynthia and I watched as the crew prepped their film gear and armed us with wireless microphones. Then we headed out, five humans and one ambitious dog.

Cynthia always searches with her dog Molly, who seems to really enjoy snuffling around in the sage and wildflowers. She also has no problem wading in hypothermic trout streams.

MOLLY

MOLLY & CYNTHIA WALKING THE CREEK

The weather was spectacular and the meadow was beautiful. A perfect place to come and enjoy animals, the smells of pine, peace, and a beautiful trout stream. I had high hopes…EXCEPT…what Blaze????

THE MEADOW

This is almost always my dilemma. I get to a spot but cannot identify the next clue…in this case, the mysterious blaze. If I had been by myself I would have explored the place and then left…blazeless.

But Cynthia saw it right away. She was not coy about it at all. “There is the blaze”, she shouted, and five humans and one dog marched quickly toward her large, bold blaze, high on a cliff at the end of the meadow.

THE BLAZE IN THE DISTANCE HIGH ON A CLIFF FACE

As we were parading toward the blaze Cynthia stopped to investigate a willow thicket mid-meadow. To our surprise, inside was a partly camouflaged and very recently killed deer. Frighteningly fresh. That morning perhaps. It made what’s left of the hair on my head bristle. I knew exactly what we were looking at. I had seen a hidden type of cache like this  about forty years ago while filming a documentary with the Craighead brothers.

The Craigheads were considered the crowned princes of Grizzly bear research and in the process of filming with them over several days they had taken me to a number of bear “locations” during the fall and winter. In addition to a bear den we had also visited a bear food cache. It looked uncomfortably like what we were now staring at. What I didn’t know and what concerned me most was where the owner was. The bear could be very close by. If the griz saw us messing with his food there would be hell to pay. I stepped back from the cache. I quickly glanced around 360 degrees. My nervous system was on high alert. I thought that if I were a bear I would have headed to high ground to keep an eye out for anything approaching my food.

The best we could hope for was a napping bear. I did not want to alarm anyone. We were having too much fun. I moved away from the cache and quietly mentioned tp Cynthia what I figured we were looking at. No bear revealed itself. I held tightly onto my thoughts and moved toward the blaze while keeping my eyes peeled for anything large and furry.

CYNTHIA’S WILLOW THICKET IN THE BACKGROUND

As we crossed the meadow to the blaze and ventured into Lodgepole Pine thickets near the creek I yelled out “HEY BEAR!”, just so we wouldn’t surprise any napping or foraging grizzly.

Finally, we stood underneath the blaze and looked quickly down. Cynthia saw the perfect hiding spot for Indulgence. A boulder that had peeled off the rock cliff hundreds, or perhaps thousands of years ago. It was trenched under at one end. Possibly as a shelter for some previous dweller…a badger or weasel or coyote. Molly was interested in the hiding place too. It was an exciting moment. Cynthia encouraged Molly to get into that den…Molly sniffing and getting excited…Cynthia and the crew adrenalized with the possibilities in front of us…me swiveling my head watching for bears…

A GOOD HIDEY PLACE

After both Molly and Cynthia had explored the den and found nothing of significance we gave the area a thorough walk through, looking for any other possible hidey spots or smaller blazes while the crew filmed our every consideration. We noticed that there were no trails in the area and we saw no others in our luscious meadow the whole day. Not even a fisher on Grayling Creek. It seemed like such a perfect place. I thought about spreading my tarp here and spending the night anyway.

CREW FILMING

CREW FOLLOWING

After spending a further hour scouring the edges and creekside…nothing was discovered and we reluctantly headed back to the highway and our vehicles.

I have to say that I really enjoyed searching with Cynthia. She is very respectful of the landscape and very appreciative of a beautiful meadow and trout stream. We had a great time. Cynthia is enthusiastic, agile and walks fast…so be warned if you have the opportunity to keep up with her…and Molly is a hoot…Always quiet and always observing as much as possible whatever is around her. Great hiking buddies.

dal-

You can read Cynthia’s version of this search HERE

 

58 thoughts on “Grayling Creek 2017: Dal’s Version…

    • thanks Dal you are brave for sure im glad you didnt join the food on the ground I touched Grayling creek this year closer to the eagles roost it was colder water but it was fun dipping my hand into some where that the story began

  1. Thanks for the insightful info Dal, I always enjoy reading your take on the Chase.
    The 1912 map was awesome. Awaiting spring after the winters reading…

  2. Wow, 2 perspectives from the same search outing! This is a first, I believe! Thank you for sharing, Dal. You are really eating the elephant that is Yellowstone National Park one bite at a time! I also admire your knack for snapping up some great nature photos. That one of the barred owl looks on par with something I’d see in National Geographic. Glad you had a good trip and I’m looking forward to seeing the story when it airs.

  3. Couple of comments about selection of that area …
    (1) dal wrote: “If the [bear] saw us messing with his food there would be hell to pay … My nervous system was on high alert”.

    The presence of bears doesn’t make an area … dangerous … even for pre-school children?

    (2) If searcher knew that Baker’s Hole had previously had “Brown” as its name, why would searcher even need to know the correct WWH or Canyon Down? Your research renders those first 2 clues irrelevant. Ergo, I think all of the clues must be deciphered in order, beginning with the first, then the second, and so on. At least, that’s my opinion.

    Well, at least you clearly explained why the Yellowstone area was selected for this media story. And if it airs, maybe all the newbies will flock to YNP and leave the vastness of the Rockies for the rest of us. 🙂

    Nice photos.

    Ken (in Texas)

    • Texas Ken – at risk of being (mysteriously) moderated an’ all..

      1) are you implying that transporting those pesky “little-humans” to school in a vehicle everyday is somehow less risky?

      2) i agree – def doesn’t pay to jump in at HoB imho – trust me

      3) until you/we haven’t not discovered the TC in YSP, then Dame Fortunes Wheel continues to spin un-impeded

      4) do you know anything about any missing Cashew Nuts?
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42jH3QzsfNg
      🙂

      • “3) until you/we haven’t not discovered the TC in YSP, then Dame Fortunes Wheel continues to spin un-impeded”
        ————————————————–
        Yes, curious hobbit, that’s quite true. So tell that to the billion “confident” searchers searching in or near YNP.

        Well, those pesky little humans (as you say) are not in any serious danger, mercifully, as they’re being transported to and from school. They are out of the woods, so to speak (or is the correct phrase “the wood”?)

        And I understand exactly what you are talking about, in your above message. Though cashews are popular, that doesn’t mean they are healthful. Walnuts are almost certainly more healthful than cashews … in my opinion.

        So we’ll see what happens. Actually, I don’t need either.

        Ken 🙂

      • TX Ken – are you boldly suggesting that humans aren’t pesky at all, or.. ?

        ..i mean, are those cashew-nut crumbs on your chin?

        ( ..tsk tsk.. typical!! 🙁 )

  4. Wow, what a great adventure… thanks for sharing… I think the owl knows where the chest is hidden… 🙂 lol What a great picture!

  5. What a nice adventure.
    The areas in and around Yellowstone National Park are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Always good to see how others see the poems clues solves, and then to venture off with beating hearts looking for the thrill of what comes next.
    Thanks for sharing. Bur

  6. Oh, I think that you are so close, so close. That area has been stuck in my mind since I had worked at Parade Rest decades ago. Finding out that Bakers Hole was previously called Brows Camp was a huge score.

    • Michael-
      I didn’t know you worked at Parade Rest. That’s my fav place to head for a good hot breakfast. Looked at the creek area all through there on earlier trips.

  7. Dal, you mentioned having trouble locating a blaze on your various searches. Do you think it is possible to identify what the blaze is from the poem and book? Not necessarily to be able to see it on satellite images, but is it possible to solve the “blaze” clue without being physically on site?

    • It doesn’t seem likely to me that the blaze can be identified without being on site. I say that because in Forrest’s “Little Girl From India” statement he appears to be telling us that you can only solve the first two clues by using the internet, the book and the poem exclusively to search. Once again, others believe that is not what he is saying.
      http://mysteriouswritings.com/six-questions-with-forrest-fenn-over-five-years-of-the-thrill-of-the-chase/

      For that reason and others, I believe the “blaze” is a clue that cannot be found without physically being on site.

      However, I do believe it is possible that the book and the poem provide a guide to what that blaze is…but it is only a guide…I still have to actually be on site to find the correct blaze…even if I know what to look for.

      • Dal – What if the blaze is the Morning Star, Venus, rising before Sunrise in the East, and reflected on to the waters of the Madison, after Forrest put in below the home of Brown at Baker’s Hole with his dinghy? Any Wise Man would look for the Star in the East and any star fly fisherman like Forrest would be up early before Sunrise with a flashlight and a sandwich. And that fits with the stick figure image on the new book cover.

          • Dal – The link to the photo on the Madison I took in late September, where Highway 191 crosses it. I can just imagine the Morning Star rising in the East behind me, and reflecting on the water.

            photos.app.goo.gl/zTyz8BUCtkwgjtW93

          • Dal -.And speaking of Highway 191, maybe Fred M. Brown, the Gallatin County Surveyor who created that 1912 map, named Brown’s Camp for his father on it, since he may just have built that highway. And maybe one of his metal road construction markers is the blaze? There is an old.dirt jeep road that parallels the highway, right at the bridge where I took that shot of the Madison, I think.

            From that Fred M. Brown geneology link I emailed to you:

            J. N. Brown, father of the county surveyor, was born in Illinois in 1850, was reared and married in Iowa, and in 1870 settled among the pioneers in the Gallatin Valley of Montana. He pre-empted 160 acres, proved it up and lived on it for many years. He has been widely known as a brick manufacturer and for many years has followed the business of contracting for dirt roads. He has constructed many miles of highway in Gallatin County and is still engaged in that business. While he sold his original homestead he still owns a farm near Manhattan. As a resident of Bozeman he has served as alderman and is a republican in politics.

  8. Dal, neat search and well thought out. Unique perspective.

    After reading both your and Cynthia’s accounts of the excursion into Grayling Creek I am struck by the difference and some similarities that are in each of your perception(s) of what the Blaze is and where it could be found, so many people have gotten off think that the blaze is “an object, like a rock with a white streak of quartz” or similar object and ff has addressed it in Mysterious Writings as:

    “Mr. Fenn, which direction does the Blaze face? North, South, East or West? Curious. Foxy

    I didn’t take a radial off of the blaze Foxy. I’m thinking it may not be any of those directions. f

    My take of the Blaze is that it may be an event, a bright, brillant even blazing occurrence that one must be Wise to observe at a special time.

    Imagine the event in the Christmas Story of the 3 Wise Men from the east who followed a star in the sky to find a predicted treasure from heaven, and bring treasures to the newborn King.

    Perhaps we must be wise to understand that an event might just be the blaze we seek, is it possible the blaze is a similar thing, idea, or even a living thing?

    One memorable trip for me was the Garden of the Gods in CO. what a unique place, but I doubt it is the special place because of finders keepers legal problem?

    TT

    • **** TomT wrote – “My take of the Blaze is that it may be an event, a bright, brillant even blazing occurrence that one must be Wise to observe at a special time.” ****

      I can’t conceive of anything like that that could help even a little to pinpoint a single unique location on the earth’s surface.

      I’m not sure exactly what you’re suggesting or envisioning, Tom?

      Jake

      • Jake did you see my youtube video? What do you think is quickly down from that place I shot this from, a billion Aspens were recently in fall foliage color below me, I am at 10,090′ in elevation, I am near a mountain top, and I guarantee a sedan could take you to within 1.29 miles and my 6 year old grandson walked it in a snowstorm, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-GD4vhA3No&feature=em-share_video_user

        type in Winter thoughts and see the background for this comment. It Borders on the possibility of a unique and special place. The video is 11 min and has over 340 views and a possibility that it will climb, I made it slow on purpose to let everyone know that life today is too fast and furious, that place is special to me, maybe to someone else as well, who knows what is Wise.

        TT

        • Okay TT, thanks, I have been following along with your writings.

          You threw me off by bringing up the star of Bethlehem – I haven’t seen any stars-‘n’-planets theories yet that have much to do with how those things actually work.

          As for the aspen, I’m always a little leery of ephemeral phenomenon (the “Brigadoon” effect). But I do get too that it’s generally pretty easy to pick out aspen groves in the landscape from a distance even in the dead of winter (w/o leaves). So the seasonal blaze of leaves defines it, but doesn’t necessarily limit the time you can use it.

          I’m also pretty fond of that part of the CO/NM border (it’s on my route to/from Chaco Canyon), though I haven’t tramped it like you have.

          Onward!
          Jake

    • TT…
      “I didn’t take a radial off of the blaze Foxy. I’m thinking it may not be any of those directions. f”

      This is easy…what if the blaze faces up…Like a geologic survey monument. Pretty hard for something facing upward to also be facing in a cardinal direction.

      I don’t think that just because it doesn’t face N, S, E or W that it is not an object or place…
      Look at this…maybe one of these is the blaze
      http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Physics/Ladd/img/survey.jpg

      • Dal I will send you one from about 100 ft higher than where I was at on your private mail. it is identical in it’s lettering and brass cast in stone set.

        I will image it to you in a few..

        TT

    • Dal, I sent it, it looks just like the example, only it is close to 10,200′ elevation, I was at 10,090 filming this marker was about 100 yards away. Go ahead and image it for all to see.

      TT

  9. Forrest Fire
    on June 22, 2014 at 7:19 pm said:
    When I was a kid in West Yellowstone the closest place we could walk to and swim was Baker’s Hole. It was named for the old mountain man Jim Baker, who used to camp there. The city dump was just a mile from Baker’s Hole, across the highway and over there on the side of the hill. At night the towns folks would drive to the dump and watch 25 grizzly bears feed on the garbage, which was always smoking and smelling terrible. The bears crossed the Madison River at Bakers Hole because it had tributaries that made crossing easy.

    Later, the city covered the dump ground and built a runway over it. But the bears were accustomed to going there for food and were mad to find the smorgasbord was no longer available. Several tent campers were killed at Baker’s Hole as an aftermath to the food debacle. But that was years ago and now the camp ground has cement tables and restroom facilities. I recommend it. Besides, it’s a great place to swim if you don’t mind cold water.

  10. I enjoy these search stories more than anything else on this blog, and this (with Cynthia’s) is a fine one, indeed. Thanks for taking the time to post it.

    There’s a well-worn joke among backpackers about not needing to be concerned about bear — just as long as you can outrun your hiking partner. Noticing the physique of one of the film crew, I think you, Cynthia and Molly could safely count on getting away should the grizz have returned.

  11. Great story, Dal and Cynthia! I imagine Forrest taking joy in these accounts both in revival of memories of these places and in the thrill of knowing just how close or how far the searcher is to the mark. Maybe you should do what Forrest said he would if he could: canoe around the perimeter of Hebgen Lake. Could be a clue?

  12. What a great surprise to look in on your site today and read about your adventure, especially since we had just driven down from Bozeman in a light snow storm, past Grayling Creek, and through West Yellowstone on our annual trip back to CA! Every time we drive past Grayling Creek, I am reminded of your past adventures there. Seeing all those other familiar creek and place names I’ve searched on maps of the area, and even a few times physically, makes me want to start investigating the area again. I’ve always believed Forrest’s treasure is around the Madison somewhere so keep searching Dal! If anyone deserves to find it, you do, for all you have done to help us by maintaining this site and giving us all equal access to the tremendous amount of information you have on Forrest and the search and for sharing everyone’s adventures. THANKS!

  13. thanks Dal, for another cool write-up, albeit i was more enchanted by Cynthia’s tale tbh – but CG-ing an amazing owl def scored ya vital points 🙂

    i mean.. that darn owl spooked me more than a W.A tiger-snake – fact!! 🙁

    ( ..did you suddenly (& predictably) request a piggy-back at the time, or.. ?)
    🙂

  14. Hi Dal,
    That looks like a promising area…. did you look around or under any other rocks in the area? Be mindful of rattlesnakes…. they like dens like that.
    also can I buy a print of your owl pic.? I love it. you take great pics.

    • Thanks for the flattering request 21. I have never made prints of that image. I rarely make prints anymore. But it’s fun to know that folks like him/her/it.
      We hear that owl almost every night hooting away with another owl at a greater distance hooting back. Sometimes I interject myself in the conversation with a hoot or two…I have, on occasion, had that owl (or another that looks just like that one) fly to a limb above me when I hoot..
      But most times it just gets very quiet…like they might have been talking about the treasure and didn’t want to share what they know with me.

      • Hi Dal, Its a beautiful owl! and a great pic! I know what you mean about hooting at the owl. We live in a redwood forest and talk to the animals, its peaceful.

  15. Dal,

    We were pleasantly surprised to see where you took the film crew. My wife and I have explored that area a couple of times, including this past summer. Here are a few notes for you on what we saw there:

    1. Summer flowers were nice – – not exceptional, but pleasant. Besides those in the meadow, we found some fine patches of yellow snapdragons hidden on a few sandbars in the creek. One of the sandbars also had a positively huge ant colony on it.

    2. There was an amazing variety of mushrooms in the forest between the highway and the meadow – – several different sizes [a few larger than dinner plates!] and colors.

    3. We found most of a deer skeleton, widely scattered, near the far end of the meadow. Not fresh by any means, no flesh or skin remnants remained, and we never did find the skull.

    4. A fair number of butterflies flitted around us much of the time we were on the creekward side of the meadow, and we also got some nice closeup photos of a Spiny Elm Caterpillar along the creek. The spiny elms turn into Mourning Cloak Butterflies, which are the state insect of Montana – – appropriate given the location.

    5. There was no one else around during our hike either time; the first visit, there was someone fishing briefly near the road when we arrived, but they soon left. We saw nobody in the meadow either trip.

    6. At the far end of the meadow are two signs: one saying “Dip” is on a fallen, rotting wooden post, the other “Stay on Trail” nailed 8 feet or so up the trunk of a tree. These are from years ago when a snowmobile trail ran through here. If you look at historical images on Google Earth, you can see where it went. It started just south of the creek along the highway, ran west to the north of the ranch but south of the creek and trees lining it. About due south of where the bare streak on the cliff north of the bend in the creek is, the snowmobile trail turned north, then angled back to the east to cross the creek. After that, it heads north up the draw into the forest. The trail was eventually closed when the creek crossing point became unsafe. We got some of the details from a hiker we met a few days later who used to be a ranger there.

    7. We explored as far as the islands in the creek below the cliff streak. These were rather overgrown and covered in dead fall, which limited our exploration of them.

    All in all, it made for a nice half day hike.

    • You made some great notes CG. I plan to head back to that meadow to shoot wildflowers in the late spring. I could probably spend a day there enjoying myself and exploring…

  16. Dal –

    I am glad to read another solve in the Madison Arms area. I wish I could show you my map, and maybe I can email it. What’s interesting here are all the different ways to interpret the same clues in the same geographic area.

    Places of interest on my map include:
    West Yellowstone site of Wagon Wheel Cbain camp
    West Yellowstone site of Whispering Pines Motel
    Baker’s Hole or Brown’s Camp
    Rainbow Point
    The trial head from Red Canyon road at the point where it turns away from
    the Creek
    The point where Watkins creek begins
    Campfire Lodge for several reasons or including several spots including
    Cabin Creek Camp and the Ghost Village
    Avalanche Lake of course
    West Fork Cabin Camp which I believe to be where Forrest’s mother lived

    I end up further West and higher in elevation than you and Cynthia. I think DigginG has been all overthe Ghost Village and Quake Lake portion.

    We can look at one relatively small area, given the immensity of the big picture, and slice it up a thousand ways.

    I know people ask you why you keep going there. Because there are miles to go before you sleep.

    Lugnutz

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