Thought you might like my video I threw together of our trip yesterday.
Garden of the Gods
Thought you might like my video I threw together of our trip yesterday.
Garden of the Gods
Don Martinez was a California real estate professional who opened a fly shop in West Yellowstone in 1932. Wisely, Don spent his winters in California but when spring hit the rivers in the Rocky Mountains and the trout began searching for new hatch to feed upon, Don headed east and unlocked the door of his one room shop on the edge of Yellowstone National Park.
Don spent a lot of his time fishing and guiding in addition to running the shop and folks who knew him claim he had a fondness for alcohol. So he wasn’t always at his small shop and generally hired a couple local boys to fill in for him.
His shop was stocked with a few good lines of fly-fishing gear and he tied and sold his own flies. In-fact, Don is credited with originating the now famous Woolly Worm and also with introducing dry fly fishing to that part of the country.
Unlike many retail shops, if you work in a fly shop you don’t just stand behind the counter all day waiting for customers to stroll in the door and hand you money. You spend your non-customer time tying flies… a lot of flies… because that’s what fisherman buy. No self-respecting fly fisher is going to walk out of a shop without a pocket full of hand-tied, local flies guaranteed to catch fish. It would be impolite and disrespectful.
If you are ever so blessed as to walk into a good fly shop you’ll see the usual…sleek, long poles…lightweight reels…a variety of green or brown waders and all kinds of “gadgets” to help you catch a big trout. But what generally jumps out at you are the neatly stacked rows and rows of compartmentalized bins holding hundreds of different kinds of fishing flies.
You’ll see streamers and buggers and dry flies and spinners with fascinating names like Zonkers and Old Adams, Royal Coachman, Bunyan Bug, Elk Hair Caddis and Sparkle Dunn, They are colorful and attractive like containers of tiny gemstones, shiny and glittering and begging to be picked up and examined…and that’s what you do in a fly shop.
A fisher is attracted to these bins of alluring flies no less so than the fish they hope to land. First you look to see what’s new…then you look to see how well they are tied. Then you begin looking to see how the local flies might be slightly different from the ones back home. Most of the flies are tied by the folks who work in the shop. A good fly tier can knock out a dozen or more flies in a single hour.
Back at Don Martinez’s fly shop, the local help Don hired in the 1940s included a tall, lanky kid known to his friends as Bubba. The kid was long on fishing skills even though he was barely in his teens, and was a good fit for the fly shop.
On one particular day Don strolled in about closing time, Bubba recalled. “I had just tied my 144th Woolly Worm of the day. I was shooting for a gross. Don looked at them and said he didn’t want them because I didn’t put silver tinsel on the bodies. He said, ‘you can have them’. So I kept every one of them and coaxed a lot of fish to the edge of disaster with those things.”
Bubba also remembers using some of those Woolly Worms to his advantage when he was guiding. “The clients all had their fancy flies, but I always caught more fish on my Woolly Worm. Sometimes I was the only one who caught any fish at all. My other fly was the Squirrel Tail. I caught a lot of fish on it too, especially in the lakes. So I decided to make a Woolly Worm Squirrel Tail fly, which was nothing more than a Woolly Worm with some squirrel hair tied on the front. It became a famous fly and everyone called it the ‘Bubba Special’. I was a hero.”
By the time WWII was finished Don had sold his shop and retreated back to California permanently. He died in 1955 at the very young age of 52. His old shop is still in West Yellowstone. It’s Bud Lilly’s Trout Shop these days. If you wander in there be sure to gaze longingly at the fly bins and admire the Woolly Worms. Look around for a Bubba Special.
Forrest generously sent some pics and corrected what I wrote about the location of Don’s shop.
It turns out that Wikipedia (where I got the info about the location of Don’s shop) is incorrect. The Bud Lilly shop shown above is the NEW Bud Lilly shop. The old one did take over Don’s old shop but Bud outgrew Don’s small space and they moved three and a half blocks away to where the shop above is now located.
Don’s shop (and the original Bud Lilly shop) was located on Yellowstone Ave. about half a block east of where Eagles is today.
You won’t find Bubba over in the corner tying flies anymore. He grew up, did a few pretty cool things, and I heard he moved out to Santa Fe.
I wonder if he still has any of those Woolly Worms left?
Click the link below to:
Watch Bubba tie a Woolly Worm
I received this story from an old friend. We flew the happy fighter skies together in the 1960s when he was a major and I was a 1/Lt. His call sign was Black Bart and I was Comanche. He is a man of fiber and substance who retired with three stars on his collar. He didn’t write the story, but his comment to me was about living when times were simpler and the rewards were greater. He taught me that imagination could nearly always be used to narrow the gap. f
When I was a young boy, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember the polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box.. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it.
Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name was “Information Please” and there was nothing she did not know. Information Please could supply anyone’s number and the correct time.
My personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no point in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy. I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear.
“Information, please,” I said into the mouthpiece just above my head.
A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.
“I hurt my finger…” I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that I had an audience..
“Isn’t your mother home?” came the question.
“Nobody’s home but me,” I blubbered.
“Are you bleeding?” the voice asked.
“No, “I replied. “I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts.”
“Can you open the icebox?” she asked.
I said I could.
“Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger,” said the voice..
After that, I called “Information Please” for everything. I asked her for help with my geography, and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math.
She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts.
Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I called, “Information Please,” and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not consoled. I asked her, “Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?”
She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, “Wayne, always remember that there are other worlds to sing in.”
Somehow I felt better.
Another day I was on the telephone, “Information Please.”
“Information,” said in the now familiar voice.
“How do I spell fix?” I asked.
All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much.
“Information Please” belonged in that old wooden box back home and I somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me.
Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.
A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, “Information Please.”
Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well.
I hadn’t planned this, but I heard myself saying,
“Could you please tell me how to spell fix?”
There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, “I guess your finger must have healed by now.”
I laughed, “So it’s really you,” I said. “I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?”
“I wonder,” she said, “if you know how much your calls meant to me. I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls.”
I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.
“Please do,” she said. “Just ask for Sally.”
Three months later I was back in Seattle.
A different voice answered, “Information.”
I asked for Sally.
“Are you a friend?” she said.
“Yes, a very old friend,” I answered.
“I’m sorry to have to tell you this,” She said. “Sally had been working part time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago.”
Before I could hang up, she said, “Wait a minute, did you say your name was Wayne ?” ”
“Yes.” I answered.
“Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you.”
The note said, “Tell him there are other worlds to sing in. He’ll know what I mean.”
I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.
Life should be an illustrated search for hidden treasures, and not just a guided tour. f
A Stellar Solution
The author of this story asked that he not be identified, so Dal named him Stern. But after reading it in the Scrapbook, and deciding he was some kind of a genius, I begged to allow his real name be used. He replied, “Eck! I’m not that kind of brave! How about Reddigo? He was my first dog and a weiner dog at that. Somehow at three years old, ‘The Ruff and Reddy Show’ became ‘Reddigo.’ Mom says I wanted to name him after both cartoon characters at once and that’s how it came out.”
The name doesn’t identify the writer, but it does show that he’s human. f
A 10″ x 10″ target, to my mind, is an impossibly small target considering the vastness of your target area. How to reconcile those two extremes has been on my mind a lot and has gotten me off on a tangent that, to my knowledge, nobody has considered. Possibly not even you, but, given your aviator experiences, it’s a distinct possibility that you’ll understand my reasoning perfectly. Of course if you did, my hat is off. It’s brilliant.
However, it’s so brilliant that I have some difficulty in believing that anyone would ever come up with it. I’m not exactly sure what that meant, but nevertheless…
Google Earth has a sister component named Google Sky*. If you look up, to the stars, in the right place and at the right time, an entire series of clues fall into place. For instance, Acamar, in Eridanus, and Arching are both excellent candidates for “where warm waters halt” because Eridanus is the river constellation and is visible only in the Southern sky. Both stars are known as “the end of the river.” Archinar isn’t visible from above 33d so it gets the axe, leaving Acamar as a reasonable start place. If I assume Santa Fe as a starting point and look south (“As”), there is distinct time of year when Acamar and all the subsequent clues (described below) are above the southern horizon. That date in the Fall, more or less, is August 22 or roll that to the Vernal equinox and you have the same thing. Assume “I” is the intercept angle from the horizon up and it’s not a big jump to “horizontal azimuth vernal equinox” or “have.” At that point, all of a sudden, the “home of Brown,” becomes apparent. The First point of Aries, as described in “Brown’s Nautical Almanac” is your HOB.
There a couple of other indicators. “Not far, but too far to” sounds an awful lot like “Not Fornax, but to for(nax) two” or Beta Fornax, which lines up with “the bend in the river,” or Angetenar. Of, course the perfect place to put in.
Horizontal East from there is Columbia (the dove, no place for the meek), Canopus (no paddle, the rudder), the end (Puppis), ever drawing (Pictor, the easel), heavy loads (Vela, the sails), and water high (Antlia, the water pump), and, of course, the chest or Pyxis. So, who is the blaze? Beats me.
Wezen (wise and) points at Sirius. Maybe, but there are two wezens in that region of space.”In peace” or in Pyxis, points at Naos, or “the bright and shining one.” Down, in this reasoning, is the incidence angle to the horizon. A minimum of two over lapping great circles drawn from the incidence angle will define a specific location on Earth. Whether that’s the start or finish, I don’t yet know.
After that, I’m stumped, but if I ever nail down a specific sidereal hour angle, I think I have a reasonable shot at measuring an assumed position using navigational stars, incident angles, and great circles. That answers my original question on how to pinpoint a 10″x10″ plot of ground, or at least eliminate a lot of potential targets. Of course all that also
perfectly fits with your statement about over thinking the solution. I’m really good at that.
Then there’s my alternate theory. In Google Earth, just west of Hegben Lake are a couple of silhouettes created by the general land forms. Directly west is a gentleman with a staff and a hat that looks suspiciously like your TFTW cover, he’s even carrying a sack of gold (Gold Butte). Directly above him is the silhouette of a ram, and nestled right below there is the city of Sheridan, which is suspiciously close to Sharadan, the second star seen (right behind Mesarthim) in the First point of Aries. It’s a loose connection to the star solution, but there none the less.
Like before, all the clues are there, like mesa art, as silhouettes and landmarks. The blaze is a cow’s face. Wise is a river. Divide is “ever drawing.” No place for the meek is Silver Star. The chest, when you see it, is a heart attack waiting to happen. Drill down and you find that “Why” has a question mark. Bell Mountain points to McCartney Mountain. If you “list ten” degrees good, you’ll finally see the wood. At that point, you had better be brave. Else Tesuque will get you. Just north of there is a flying key, which presumably, fits the keyhole, to its South. I sent you that picture for a Christmas card. It’s just north east of Glen, MT. Take a look from about 30,000 ft. You’ll see the chest. Zoom in and you’ll see a great big W with a question mark above it. Nine clues, start to finish, but again, I can’t imagine anyone ever figuring all this out. Let alone being within a few hundred feet and not finding the prize. It’s far too simple after a point.
I know. It’s a stretch but good for the brain. You quoted Einstein and after a lot of digging I found the magazine article for that original interview. His full quote includes another line. “… Imagination encircles the world.” So there you go!
Oh, btw, I just ordered “A Walk Too Far.” If it only came with a sextant, my life would be complete.
*Another excellent star mapping program is “Star Walk.”
FORREST INTERVIEW ON NPR
This post is by Dal and not by Forrest
Forrest was interviewed by National Public Radio’s John Burnett a few weeks ago. That interview will air across the country on NPR stations this Sunday, March 13th on Weekend Edition Sunday. Typically, this show airs on Sunday mornings but stations can vary the broadcast to meet their own needs so the start time may be different on your local NPR station. Check your local station’s program schedule.
The show’s website is here:
They should post the story on that page on Sunday and we will put the story’s link here and on the blog’s Media Page once it’s posted.
A Memory Runs Through My Family
Lightning struck me today in the form of an email from someone I never met and do not know. But the history of our respective families is so entwined as to be almost umbilical.
Here is her email to me. My response to her is at the bottom.
Can’t tell you how much your treasure hunt has rekindled memories of my best childhood vacation!
When I was 10, back in 1958, my family went on a fishing pack trip out of Jackson Hole, over the divide, and into the Lamar River Basin. These were the most special 10 days I can recall in all my youth. Though my mom, dad, brother and sister were there for the fishing, I have to admit I was there for the horses. I can still remember all 14 of them with names and color (how is that even possible). Our guide, Bob Adams (how do I remember that???), would get up before everyone else and catch trout for breakfast. There is nothing better to wake up to than trout for breakfast over the campfire! It was 10 glorious day in the wilderness with lots of fishing and wildlife watching!
Looking for treasure clues online brought up all kinds of Yellowstone photos and reminded how I always said I would return. Somehow I never did. Don’t know why. But now I am determined to take my trip down memory lane next summer before it is too far for me to walk! Thank you SO much for that extra push in the right direction!
In doing my research, I was looking for connections that might tell me why you used the phrase “if you’ve been wise” and found this lovely story about the Eagle family and their “right of passage” introducing the next generation to fishing the Firehole River. Subsequently I decided that there was no connection between “wise” and “Hoot Owl Hole” where the Eagle family started the younger kids fishing but it was a great story anyway. It led me to wonder if you were friends with the family as they did have an outfitting store in West Yellowstone and were themselves fishing guides in Yellowstone. Just curious. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3487577/ A River Runs Through My Family.
My real question is: if I were to happen to find the treasure and if it happened to be in Yellowstone Park, would you consider claiming it yourself and offering a finders fee? The last thing I would want would be to find it and hand it over to the government! Just askin’……
Again, thanks SO much for setting in motion an amazing adventure for thousands of individuals and families who will now have all their own stories to tell about their great treasure hunt!
Lou Ellen Williams
Dear Lou Ellen,
I knew all of that old bunch in West Yellowstone, starting in about 1938, from old Sam, the patriarch to Wally, Joe, Bette, Rose, and the rest. Wally and I fished together many times on the Firehole, Gibbon, and Madison Rivers. I knew your grandmother Frankie when she was barely old enough to wear a top and even today she remains a cherished friend. I love the link you included in your email, and think I need another hankie.
If you find the treasure in YNP, tell me where it is and I’ll go get it for you so you won’t be thrown down the hole at Old Faithful.
The Winds of Change
The autumnal equinox occurs on about the 24th of September. That’s when the sun is lined up with the center of the earth. Darkness and daylight are exactly twelve hours apart, and the sun rises due east and sets due west. The temperature begins a steady drop and the days start getting shorter. Those are the two changes I don’t like.
Oh, tell me not with words asunder,
Seasons bring both dry and wet.
Spare me hues of grey and umber,
I’m not through with summer yet.
By early November the sun is passing farther south, and although she’s closer to the earth, her rays hit my orchard at a cooler angle, causing summer’s palette to fade toward wistful browns, reds and yellows.
The cooling winds are now fresh as they blow through my apricot trees, whose leaves dry and drop to the ground where they slowly decay and enrich the soil.
Several years ago Madam Nature exercised her prerogative in our space without forewarning nor even offering a reason why, and countless trees in my little forest perished. No longer will I be lulled by the throaty whisper of quaking aspens that one time populated our landscape, nor shall I ever again enjoy their shade that protected me from the glaring summer sun. Much of nature’s colored complexion, which once was enough to attract the approval of even the most indifferent, is now absent from my hillside.
Soon I’ll plant 200 pine saplings. There is always hope when old men plant young trees.
Don’t hale when north winds blow too soon
Across my pine trees tall and lean.
Let’s keep the warming days of June,
Blueberries are red when they’re green.
ART AS AN EMOTION
That’s what I don’t understand. If a man really loves art, why would he pay $2,500 for an oil painting by a local artist when he could have the greatest art ever painted for $1,500? It’s a foggy question I know, but I’m thinking about a life-size print on canvas by Velasquez, Botticelli, or maybe Ilya Repin.
Does it seem reasonable to you that a $50,000,000 value should separate an original by one of those guys from a print of the same painting, when, from five feet away, they look exactly alike? And if the original and the reproduction were hanging side by side, and you didn’t know, I’ll bet you’d choose the one in the best frame. (Of course I never expressed those sentiments when I was trying to sell one of my really great $2,500 paintings to my best client.)
Years ago, Stanley Marcus and I enjoyed excavating together at San Lazaro Pueblo. He collected prehistoric pottery. I usually did most of the work and he did most of the talking.
He was probably the world’s greatest merchandizer. (Okay, maybe second to Joe Duveen.)
Once he said, “Forrest, two ladies are walking down the street together wearing identical looking full-length fur coats. One lady bought hers from my Neiman Marcus store in Dallas for $10,000, and the other received her’s as a Christmas present from her husband. He got it on sale at JC Penney for $1,995. Do you think you could tell which lady was wearing my coat?” “No,” I said, tolerantly, and that got him started. In his quiet and unobtrusive manner he explained that he built his businesses on the premise that one could tell the difference. “The woman wearing my label carries herself better. She just knows – and pride sets her mood. She’s not afraid to make eye contact with anyone on the street.”
I’ve been thinking about what Stanley told me so maybe I’ll have to rethink my art emotions. Is there some middle ground, or a good place to compromise? Recently, I saw a really nice painting by John Moyers in Nedra Matteucci Gallery. It was about $7,500 or so. Maybe I’ll go back and take another look.
Compensations for being quiet
Last evening, when I had an idle moment, I walked around our pond and sat on a rock by the waterfalls. I do that whenever I can because opportunity doesn’t like to be kept waiting. The serenities of nature were all around, and they prompted me to pause and reflect.
Here’s a toast to the art of forgetting
That friend of the fast dimming past.
Gone down with the sun that is setting,
The sordid has vanished at last.
Remembering beauty untarnished,
The joy and glamour enhanced.
Reviewing the years with laughter and tears,
In the twilight I ponder entranced.
An orange dragonfly rested on a water iris. He was very still – just looking. Another landed beside him (or her), and a third, and then a fourth. They were perfectly aligned, as if in a pew. Where was my camera?
I’ve often wondered how insects of the same species recognize each other. They can’t see themselves so how do they know they’re chumming with others of the same kin? Yes, I know, it’s instinct. But because they all look exactly alike how can one identify his brothers from the others?
Then some damselflies arrived, both red and blue. They bobbed about for a while, but soon were gone with little more than casual disinterest. Maybe they had a beef. Perhaps they didn’t like what their cousins were doing on the water iris leaf?
A chair is posted at a favored spot beside the pond. My fishing rod is kept there too, constantly at the ready. A dragonfly likes to rest there also. He always looks so composed. Evidently blue dragonflies are not likewise so disposed.
Then suddenly, amid a muffled whirr of sound, a resident hummingbird joined our company and checked me out, and the dragonfly too. She likes to dart back and forth, and hover.
This must be her nest. It was just there, lying on the ground. There were no eggs or shells anywhere around. Hmmm.
Three esteemed inhabitants on the pond are Angelo, Barney, and Tail End Charlie, so named because of a birth defected left leg that slows him to half a normal waddling gait. How did such an imperfection occur, and when? A friend told me it was either a freak of nature, or something his mother ate. Okay then.
They were 3” tall when I purchased them at the San Marcos Feed Store. The clerk said, “You can’t take just one; they come in sets,” like he knew. I didn’t think three bucks each was too much to pay for the cute little pets. Do you?
Several times a day the farm ducks come up on the grass and quack, which means they’re ready for their cracked corn snack.
The hungry threesome likes to wander up and down a little streamlet that flows into the pond, looking for things to grub. Crawfish, being lower on the food chain, are mostly too late in hiding, as are some of the water bugs.
Both peppermint and spearmint plants grow in great abundance at the waterfall, blocking most of the splashing water from our view. The blossoms on top of the mint attract bees from all around the neighborhood. I think they like the purple hue.
One of our tall cottonwood trees was maimed by a lightning strike and lost a big limb. I saw the whole thing. I was just standing there at our kitchen window watching. So now when there’s thunder, Peggy and I and little Tesuque, run for cover.
Peggy’s grandmother once told me that just a millisecond before lightning hits, the hair on the back of my neck will stand up. It’s a static electricity phenomenon, she claimed. When that happens lightning is about to hit nearby with a jolt. But if I jump really high, maybe it will hit the ground while I’m still in the air, thus saving me from the fiery bolt.
Of course I don’t know if that’s true. She also said you shouldn’t plant a weeping willow tree because when it gets big enough to cover your grave, you’ll die. However, Peggy and I have such a giant willow that we planted as a seedling in 1988, and we’re still vertical. Makes me suspicious of grandmotherly wisdom.
Nothing but good can happen when I’m still and observing wildlife in its natural landscape. To describe it almost wears me out of words. In nature’s quietness I can steal away to places where all my dreams come real, at least for a little while, that’s the way I feel. f