Scrapbook One Hundred Forty Three…

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JULY 2015

Dear Forrest,

Hello! I hope it is alright that I call you by your first name. I just wanted to convey how important your words and stories have been to me these last few weeks and offer thanks. I would venture to guess most emails you receive are in regards to the treasure; questions about the poem, its clues, people wanting more information, etc; that is not this email.

I purchased your book, “The Thrill of the Chase”, June 15th after hearing about it from my parents, who they themselves were leaving to search for the treasure in New Mexico that week. Something about a real life treasure hunt made a tiny spark in my mind and soul. Perhaps it was the kindling of memories of making treasure maps with my cousins and running through the “jungle” (fruit orchards), swinging on “vines” (ropes we hung) to cross “rivers” (irrigation for the trees) to evade imaginary adversaries also in search of our treasure. Perhaps it was the notation that I like to think I am clever and like to solve a puzzle just to know I can. Or the fame in being the first to do so. Or the thoughts of what I could do with the money; pay off school loans, travel, I could go horse back riding through the Scottish highlands, see the pyramids of Egypt, safari in Africa, see all the beautiful art and architecture in Italy, go repelling into caves, so many places to see and things to do!! Whatever the reason, I purchased the book.

I have to say your book saved my life.

I had at the time, well I still am, going through a divorce from my high school sweetheart. It had only been the first few weeks when I purchased the book and I have to say the hardest few weeks thus far. I have not handled it well. We were married 10 years. Which I think is an accomplishment for people my age nowadays, especially with the challenges we had to face with multiple deployments. But I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I had failed. I had an array of feelings at any one time but the majority was anger and sadness. All the unmet expectations that I had, that we had, for the marriage gone, the life I had dreamed, gone. So here I am at 30 starting over. How? I’ve really don’t know how to date having gotten married at 19. All the doubts came flooding in, that I am not good enough, not worthy of love or happiness, that I will be alone forever, etc everything seemed pointless and I quickly went to a dark place.

But it was your book that offered relief from that dark place. I could read the book and imagine  making a goal or plan to go look for the treasure. Make a plan to go on a trip with my family, at the very least we have a great time camping and seeing a part of the U.S. we’ve never been before. Talking with my parents about our theories has been probably the most time we have spent talking with each other in a long time. So as a mere distraction your book saved me but there is more to it than just distraction.

I will probably not be able to verbalize just how much this part of the book meant to me at the time because some weeks have passed, but the last two pages of your chapter ‘My War for Me’ resonated with me. It is true that in a hundred years no one will know I even existed, but that doesn’t matter now does it? Because it “really doesn’t matter who we are if we are someone to ourselves”. The beauty that exists in me is there whether anyone sees it or not; the beauty and value in every living thing exists whether we recognize that value or not. I think I realized I didn’t want to waste my turn either. When I read this in the middle of the night I cried and held my hand to the page as if this action somehow connected me to you, to the universe, to every person who has felt the same. It was funny that later on you mentioned about touching art, and how not being allowed to touch the art, to be separated from it in some way was impersonal. I agree. I think that’s way I want to travel so much, to be present in a place with history, to stand where others have stood and to look around and see what they saw, smell what they smelled, hear what they heard, (though these things can change) but I would love to go to Deadwood and just be in a place where Wild Bill lived, hike the John Muir trail and imagine what it must have been like for him seeing Yosemite essentially untouched by man, to stand in the Sistine Chapel and look up and imagine how Michelangelo felt when he did the same. That can’t be experienced by reading a book or looking at a picture.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you. You probably never thought your book would save a suicidal divorcee, but it did.

Have a good night,

Jessica

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Forty Two…

scrapbook

JUNE 2015

 

What About You?

65638Whitey Ford won 236 games pitching for the NY Yankees. I once asked what made him better than most other baseball pitchers. He said, “I could always throw a strike when I needed one.” What a great response!

Having been shot down twice during the Vietnam War, and surviving both times, I can now look back and say, “Yeah, I too threw a couple of strikes when I needed them.”

a_byron_iByron Nelson, as a professional golfer, won 18 tournaments in 1945, and 11 were consecutive. When he came into my gallery I asked him a similar question. “What separates a good golfer from a great one?” His answer also was interesting. “A good golfer can hit a great shot from the fairway, but a great golfer can hit a good shot from heather.” Wow! And yeah, I made a great stroke from the heather, so to speak, when I had cancer and recovered from unlikely odds.

Now, as my candle burns ever lower, I like to compare my accomplishments with those of some great men I’ve met. Sure, I can arbitrarily declare myself successful in some areas. I just have to remember that I’m in a different league from those other guys. But certainly my way of thinking makes me feel good when I need it. f

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Forty One…

scrapbook

MAY 2015

 

Today Forrest got this in the mail. Pretty cool!!!

Last summer the motel occupancy rate in Santa Fe was up 10% over the previous summer and no one knows why, except maybe the Chamber of Commerce, and the stores that sell metal detectors.

You can click on the image to make it larger

 

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Scrapbook One Hundred Forty…

scrapbook

MAY 2015

This story illustrates once again that old age came to me at a really bad time.

The last day of skiing on the Santa Fe hill was Easter Sunday, so the day before was fun time, as hundreds who like to ski, gawk, or gasp came to join in the fracas.

My grandson Shiloh and his little sister Noah, whose face has many flattering angles, posing in her new ski ensemble.

My grandson Shiloh and his little sister Noah, whose face has many flattering angles, posing in her new ski ensemble.

Cass and Shiloh, the dreaded duo of the mountain.

Cass and Shiloh, the dreaded duo of the mountain.

Cass and friends.

Cass and friends.

 

Here’s Shiloh coming down the chute and across a 3 foot deep pond that was built for anyone who was willing to test the cold water gods at an elevation of 10,300 feet.

Shiloh-On-The-Water movie

 

Many tried, and about half made it across. The others were wiser for the trying. One intrepid lady said it was hard to smile when her lips and eyes were frozen shut.

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And here’s Cass, everyone’s friend, who was so busy tossing Easter eggs to the crowd as he screamed down the slope, that his balance was not ready for what was about to happen. His sense of adventure suddenly dwindled, then vanished as the laws of physics and gravity took charge. Two seconds after this photo was taken, Cass found himself racing the half mile to the lodge for an ice pick, dry clothes, and a gallon of hot chocolate.

 

Evidently Noah was not prone to tempt such a transient pleasure, but at the end of the day, fun was crowned the winner, and many memories made on the hill that day will last longer than any ordinary person’s reach. f

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Thirty Nine…

scrapbook

MAY 2015

Dear Mr Fenn,

This morning there are tiny patches of melting snow surrounding the tulips in my front yard in Casper, Wyoming. It is a visual mix of what the calendar claims is spring, yet we are still haunted by the chill of winter. Our home is bustling with the morning noise of our eight homeschooled children and I know that in this moment, I am truly blessed.

We are a traveling family. Our summer weekends are spent on the back roads of Wyoming exploring and letting the children play when we find a spot that beckons us to stop and just be. We have found some of our favorite “places” by not having a destination in mind and just going where the beauty and unexplored roads take us.

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In June 2014 we loaded up our family into our 10 passenger van for the drive to Yellowstone with the intent to search for your treasure. We nicknamed the treasure “the bird” in case anyone heard us on the trails talking about it. When we arrived at where I thought we needed to start our trek, we found ourselves distracted by the fun in watching our kids scamper over fallen trees, picking up pretty rocks, and “hunting” for treasure in their own way. My husband and two of our boys ended up in an area completely different than we had come to search. Their excitement I heard in their voices from the crackles of our walkie talkies as they explored was enough to let the distraction simply be. The rest of my children and I played in a meadow while we waited for the return of daddy and their brothers. We blew bubbles and chased them where the wind blew, we flew a kite high into a cotton candy cloud sky next to the Firehole River, and we enjoyed the warm sunshine on our faces. Daddy and the boys came back to us empty handed, but full of stories and with memories made from crossing the freezing river with their pants rolled up high while holding tight to daddy’s hands.

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We never did search for the blaze where I believe is where the clue “Put in below the home of Brown” refers to, as the Brown Trout. That’s okay though; it means we have another treasure hunting adventure in our future and one that I can’t wait to begin!

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Our tables are strewn with books about mountain men, fly fishing, Yellowstone maps, and dictionaries. Our kids are full of ideas and it is amazing to see how they interpret your poem and seek out answers to the clues. Our heads are full of wonderful history lessons and information that make our journeys around Wyoming even more enriched. I know we will travel again back to Yellowstone this summer with dreams in our heads of what it would be like to find your treasure. I also know that even if we don’t find the treasure you left to be found that we will create more family memories which truly are what makes our family, our family.

Thank you for the fun and the extra adventure in our adventures. We are grateful.

Sincerely,

Aubrey
Casper, Wyoming

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Thirty Eight…

scrapbook

MAY 2015

A few years ago the Super Sabre Society asked each member who had ejected from an F-100 to write a short description of what happened. My story took place during the war in Vietnam and is published on their web site. It was written for fighter pilots and is full of jargon. Sorry about that. f

Forrest flying an F-100 Super Sabre.

Forrest flying an F-100 Super Sabre.

Unassing a C model near the DMZ

It was 1755 on December 20, 1968, when I floated down into the beautiful Laotian jungle near the DMZ. What a paradise! I had been leading a flight of four C models out of Tuy Hoa on what was to be my last mission (number 327). Both my wingman and I had four CBU-34s and the other two had four M117s with instant fuses. Our mission was to mine the main trail at Tchepone, and we planned it for a late TOT to take advantage of the low sun.

My first pass was up the canyon, along the road and into the sun, 200′ and 500 knots, hoping to surprise the guns we knew were there. It took about ten seconds for the cluster bomblets to roll out of the canisters, so I was straight and level for a long time. I probably took hits on that pass. At the end of the run, I pulled up and came back out of the sun for the second pass expending both inboard CBU-34s.

Toward the end of the run, I saw multiple muzzle blasts at 11 o’clock and level with me. I think they were holding a couple of ZPUs steady so I could fly through the bullets. My first indication of trouble was when the canopy shattered and thick pieces of plastic hit my body and scarred my visor. Both drop tanks had ugly 50 caliber holes, fuel was pouring out (we had just exited a tanker), and the engine started going through withdrawal. It was compressor stalling but it kept trying, so I felt it didn’t really want to quit. When it did, I knew my life was about to get exciting.

DAYTON, Ohio - North American F-100F Super Sabre cockpit at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

So I made a tight 270 to the right, heated the guns, and gave the NVA guys about 200 rounds of HEI. When I pulled up and looked back, they were still shooting.

Nail 74, (the FAC, Lt James Swisher), who was four miles away, called me trailing smoke, so I turned 030 degrees and instructed my wingmen to hit my mark with all they had. Later intelligence reports said they got secondary explosions.

I left the target without a lot of things working for me except the red and yellow lights on the instrument panel. I pulled the Rat on and noted the airspeed – 385 knots.

Jagged pieces of the canopy were still hanging to the front frame, and that got my attention pretty good because I figured the ejection system might have been hit also, so I would have to crawl over the side. Although I wasn’t ready to eject, I raised both armrests and the canopy frame blew off as advertised. I felt a little better.

The jungle was dense, but I still didn’t want to go out until the last minute for fear of being shot on the way down, or at least to lessen the chances of someone seeing my chute. A 1000′ high karst appeared under my left nose so, I decided to punch out over it in hopes of landing on top, thinking the enemy wouldn’t be up there, and besides it would be a good place for a chopper to pick me up.

I was still ready to go over the side as I ran through the checklist: gun film in my G suit, visor down, chin strap fastened, head back, boots in the stirrups, pull both triggers. So at about twenty miles from the target, at 240K and 1500′, I had a great rocket ride that took me up 150′ or whatever. The butt kicker worked, and I was in one of the greatest experiences of my life. All pilots should get to do that once a year instead of taking a stan check.

The next thing was to pull the lanyard and drop the survival kit and dingy, so of course the lanyard wouldn’t pull. I jerked it hard a couple of times and the handle came off in my hand.

And worse, I missed the karst by a little because I couldn’t remember which risers to pull that would fly me to a landing on top (I never was very good with math). As it happened, the wind blew me over, and while I don’t remember my body hitting the bluff, the chute did, so it dragged for a while and then streamed. Now I was falling face down with mean looking rocks and trees approaching at flank speed.

With a big limb, dead in my trajectory, I closed my eyes and wished I’d gone to church more, as my body bounced off of hard things for what seemed like an unfair length of time. Finally, all was quiet as I gently bounced up and down. My chute had caught on a low limb and when I opened my eyes I was hanging about 18″ off the ground. I couldn’t believe it.

Everything had happened so fast that I wanted to just sit there for a minute and soak it in. None of my body parts were giving me major pain (they would later that night), but I was bleeding from my nose and head. (That’s the best way to get a Purple Heart.)

After a few minutes I felt myself going into shock. Hot, clammy, apprehensive, shortness of breath, symptoms that I had learned at snake school in the Philippines. So I climbed out of the harness, elevated my feet, closed my eyes and thought about sitting on the bank of the Lampasas River in Texas with a bobber in the water, catching 5″ blue gills. It worked, and after maybe 30 minutes I was back again.

By this time it was getting seriously dark, so I pulled the dingy about 50′ into some dense undergrowth, leaned it over a log and climbed under. I could hear dogs barking, and that wasn’t a good sign since the Pathet Lao didn’t take prisoners.

It was just cool and damp enough to keep me awake most of the night, and when I did doze off the flights of three hero B-52’s from Guam woke me up by spacing out 315 five hundred pounders all around me. I told them on guard channel to go play somewhere else, but they didn’t respond. I think they were listening to Bing Crosby sing Silent Night on AFN radio.

At 0800 the next morning, here came Lt. Swisher again. He had to give up the night before because of darkness, but was up at 0200 and out again at first light. Don’t you love a guy like that? Although I couldn’t see him, I could hear his putt-putt. He responded to my call and asked me to pop smoke, which I was reluctant to do, so I moved over to the bottom of the karst where there were large rocks.

When I spotted his plane, I told him to start a left turn and stay in it until I said stop. “Now look down your wing at a large pile of rocks. That’s me waving like a windmill.”

That was fun until he told me to hang tight, that he’d be back later. Well, I remember thinking I’d just as soon he’d hang around for a while, but before I could tell him, he was gone.

So after about thirty-minutes there were so many aircraft in the sky it made me feel important. A Crown C-130 flying high and directing traffic, four Sandy prop jobs (one was Capt James Jamerson, later four stars) flying low to keep the enemy heads down, a flight of huns making tight circles at high speed, and two determined looking Jolly Green Giants coming in fast. It was just like in the movies.

The low chopper (the Candy Ann), flown by Lt Cmdr. Lance Eagan (US Coast Guard), asked me to move away from the karst so he would have more rotor clearance, so I went into the trees again.

After confirming that I was alright a heavy jungle penetrator came crashing down bringing a lot of limbs and foliage with it. It took 240′ of cable, and I quickly unfolded two legs and strapped on. The ride up was slow enough for me to maneuver around some of the larger limbs, but I just crashed through the others because the cable was twisting and the chopper was moving.

It didn’t help my morale any when I looked up and saw the hoist operator (M/Sgt. Maples) with his hand on the emergency cable cutter; the “Guillotine.” But when I cleared the trees, he signaled the pilot, and we were up and away at max speed.

When I got up to the door, the PJ, A1C Sully, jerked me in and yelled, “Quick, jump across the flak vests and get in the back.” On the way to Nakhon Phnom and after high-fives all around, I took inventory. I had lost my pistol and gun camera film in the trees, but I had my head, my arms, my legs, and memories of a bunch of great guys who knew how to make things work. It beat the hell out of walking home.

Crew of the Candy Ann and Forrest after snatching him from the  jungle in Laos.

Crew of the Candy Ann and Forrest after snatching him from the jungle in Laos.

And would you believe it? The co-pilot of the high Jolly was taking color pictures while they were pulling me up through the trees. As it turned out, I was the 1500th air crew to be rescued by the ARS in SEA and the 331st by that unit. (See Daedalus flyer, Vol. IX, No. 3, September, 1969, for the chopper pilot’s description and pictures of the rescue).

Because that mission was supposed to be my last, they had closed me out, so it took a call to Saigon to get one more. Who wants to be shot down on their last mission? The general said “OK, but keep him in-country.” Two days later I walked through my front door in Lubbock, Texas. My lovely wife and two daughters were grinning. It was Christmas Eve.

Addendum

I had been shot up a few months earlier, flamed out, and dead-sticked a D model into the short runway at Bien Thuey in the Delta. After touching down at 205 knots, my hook grabbed the approach end anchor chain so I pulled that thing the wrong way. They said I stopped in 250′. The leg straps on my chute were pulled so tight I thought for a while I had been placed into a different social stratum. I’d always rather be lucky than good. -Forrest Fenn

 

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Thirty Seven…

scrapbook

APRIL 2015

 

Dear Forest Fenn,

I wanted so very much to tell you how deeply your autobiography touched me. I would write more but my words and lack of eloquence would just embarrass me. Suffice it to say I truly understood your words as profound as they were and it was a blessing to be able to, in some small way, meet you.

I was very sad to have finished reading The Thrill of The Chase and wanting to read more as if there was so much more of the story left unsaid. I quickly ordered your other book, Too Far To Walk and inquired if you had written any others. They told me “only two coffee table art books that were very expensive.” lol

I read that you have written a biography and placed it in the chest as well as a few other places. I would very much like to have a copy of your biography, more than words can say. I am not sure if you put any clues in them but perhaps you can just delete those parts. I am interested in the treasure, the chase really, but I am much more interested in your words. You are from a world long gone and reading your words was like being able to touch the past and those who were there. Not many people can share that, it is as a lost language.

I guess I could share with you that I recently found my great great great grandfather, Beddingfield’s,history and his sons and their sons. He is buried just outside Gwinnett, Georgia in a small unknown grave within the family graveyard of his wife’s family, the Kilgores. There is a man who lives near by there, a photographer, who while jogging past, took a picture of the little grave site now sitting all alone on the side of a road and posted it on-line saying meet my neighbors from 200 years ago. He did not know who they were or who was lying beneath the now eroded and broken headstone.

He did not know he, meaning my ggg-grandfather, had fought in the civil war, that his younger brother had died in the war and he had been held prisoner at Vicksburg. He was unaware that he and all his six brothers and sisters had been born in the house that use to stand a few yards away and his father was buried out near the old mill. That his sister had chased away Sherman’s men down the long dirt road swinging her broom. Their farmstead was now long gone. No picture of him remains, no name. But I knew and that meant the world to me. To travel out to the grave site which no one understood and thought was foolish was like touching them, seeing what they saw, being closer if that makes sense. Kinda like touching George Washington’s painting.

Well, it’s after 1:30 in the morning and I will be heading to work soon. I don’t sleep much perhaps I can get a little more time by only sleeping 18 years. I would share much more but I do not wish to bore you and think of my letter waded up lying next to The Great Gatsby in a waste basket. (I never liked that story much neither.) and I suppose it is of little meaning that I tell you how much your book meant to me and how I truly enjoyed every word. But it means a great deal to me; not sure why but somehow it does.

With kindest regards,

Kimberley

Scrapbook One Hundred Thirty Six…

scrapbook

APRIL 2015

 

I want to thank Justin Watts for sending me this article about my father. It appeared in the 1954 edition of The Waco News Tribune in Earl Golding’s Field & Stream column. Was he a fisherman or what. f

http://lummifilm.com/images/mfbc54.pdf

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Thirty Four…

scrapbook

APRIL 2015

 

There once was a man named Fenn,
Who much to our chagrin,
Went on a quest
To hide his chest.
Now he taunts us all with his pen.

 

Dear Forrest,

I am writing this to you in letter form, instead of email, as I believe that letter writing has become an endangered species and I’m doing my part to keep it alive…I also think it is more personal.

First, let me preface the rest of this letter with this statement:  I am not “fishing” for clues or leads to the chest…I just wanted to share a few stories with you, if you have the time.

My husband, Jake, and I learned of your treasure story late last spring.  We read your poem and both of your books until the ink was embedded into our finger prints. Both Jake and I already read the Journal of a Trapper several times.  We conducted more research and settled in on an area near the Madison River and Hebgen Lake to begin our expedition.  Neither of us had been there before, so we decided to approach the first trip as a “scouting” effort.   We packed up our dogs, Jasper – Border Collie/Red Heeler mix; Hope – Australian Shepard who was a pound rescue and Rowdy – Toy Fox Terrier who was a puppy mill rescue, and headed out.  That trip we camped in our wall tent. (Won’t do it in that country again…As we live in a mountainous region of Western Wyoming we should have known better…More on that later.)

The first day we hiked around the Madison River where it makes its deposit into Hebgen Lake.  Jake collected a couple of treasures – a Bison skull and some wild Bison hair – he had to be sneaky and move real fast to get the hair. ☺)  I have enclosed a sample to share with you.

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003The next morning we awoke to find very large grizzly tracks on top of our truck tire tracks.  Ursaphobe that I am, this was a little unsettling.

We spent most of that day fly fishing the Madison, both prior to Hebgen Lake and below the dam.  We managed to land a few fish, but the flies lost outnumbered the fish caught.  I have heard about a small creature, which lives in trees and bushes, and snatches fly fishermen’s lures just to wrap them around branches out of our reach.  It’s called it a Pharnox.  (Pronounced Far-Nocks)  No one has ever actually seen one, but I have plenty of evidence and experience to prove their existence.  I must confess to not being a “good” fly fisherperson, but I sure have a good time doing it.

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On our second trip we took our old horse trailer and camped in that.  I felt much safer in a tin can than surrounded only by a piece of canvas.  We did not go home empty handed.  Jake stumbled upon a set of elk ivory from a winter-killed cow elk.  Lucky for him.  Not so lucky for the cow.

Our third trip was in June.  On one particular outing we had several encounters of interest:

We hiked up the Cabin Creek trail and ran across a tree with the initials FF carved into it.  Below is a picture.  It looks like someone tried to hack it up.  We wondered if this might be a tree you marked in your youth, or if someone was just “Fenning” with us.  (Sincerely, I’m still not looking for clues.  – I just thought you’d like to see these pics and it gave me a chance to utilize my new, made up verb, “Fenning”.)

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It’s a little tough to make out on the left pic, but in person you can see the “FF”.

The one on the right just had an “F”.

After a few miles we ran out of trail at the confluence of Cub Creek and Cabin Creek.  It appeared that, at some time in the not too distant past, Cub Creek washed out the trail.  The water still was running fast and deep and I knew my little terrier, Rowdy, would have difficulty crossing.  Jake was determined to see what was on the other side.  He left his pack with me.  Which by the way contained his bear spray and .45 cal pistol.  (You probably see where this is going.)  Our Aussie, Hope, crossed over with him while Rowdy and I sat on the bank on the other side of the creek.

Pretty soon Hope came splashing back to me.  I glanced up and saw that Jake was upright and mobile in the willows, so I knew she wasn’t channeling her inner Lassie to tell me that “Jake had fallen in a well.”  She waited until her arrival at my side to shake off the muddy river water.  I stood up and turned around to face the sun, and the trail we had hike to get to this spot, and began brushing off the water.  About that time Hope and Rowdy took off barking like their tails were afire.  They got about twenty feet ahead of me towards the trail when I called them back.  I knew something was amiss when they each flanked me.  Hope was three feet ahead of me and five feet to my left.  Rowdy stationed himself similarly to my right.  They quit barking, hairs on their backs standing straight as soldiers, and eyes fixed toward the trail.  I looked up and saw a brown patch of hair.  Immediately, my subconscious tried to defuse my panic and told me it was probably just a moose, as we had encountered moose tracks on the way in.  Then, I saw a shoulder roll.  It was a bear.  Since the river was to my back, there would be no fleeing that direction, so my mind tried to convince my eyes that it was just a brown-phased black bear.  Nope.  It peered around the side of a tree.  There was a classic grizzly bear face staring back at me.  It then stepped out from behind the trees.  Yep.  Full grown boar grizzly.  Close enough to see its eyelashes and determine his gender.

By this time I had my bear spray in my left hand (safety off) and Jake’s 45 in my right (cock and locked.)  Knowing he had no protection on the other side of the river, I began to holler, “Bear!  Bear! Grizzly Bear!”  Unbeknownst to me, he was yelling, “Where?”  (For some reason he could hear my voice over the roar of the river, but I could not hear his.  I know there’s a joke in there somewhere about the acoustics of women’s voices over men’s…But I won’t go there.)  During this time, the bear continued to stare, unblinking, at the dogs and me.  He kept rocking forward on his massive front legs as though he was trying to decide whether or not to come through us.  About that time I saw Jake, in the river, out of the corner of my left eye.  I yelled, “There’s a grizzly bear over here!”  He hollered back, “I know!  I see it!”   My husband is not a man small in stature.  When the bear heard him, he took one look and I guess decided that Jake, added to the equation, was just too much to tackle and left the scene.  I maintained my cool until Jake was back at my side…At which time my gun hand began to tremble and I turned into Barney Fife.

We headed back down the trail toward the truck finding tracks where that bear had trailed us the entire way.  From one of the trees along the trail we did collect some of his hair.  I’ve included a bit for you with this letter.

About half way out, Hope commenced barking again.  We said, “Oh no!”   (Okay, those are not the exact words we said…)  But this time she was barking towards a mountain goat crossing the river.  Awesome!  I managed to obtain some of the goat’s hair from a bush where it snagged.  (Perhaps a Pharnox grabbed that too?)  There is a little baggie of his hair for you too.

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We live in Wyoming and have long, cold winters with little else to do but shovel snow and conduct more “Fennian” Research.  This is Jasper at the task.  He is 16 yrs old with bad hips and canine lupus so he does not get to go on our hikes anymore.  For Jasper, it’s just “too far to walk.”

Sincerely,
La Lee

P.S. – For fun, I tied a fly with some of the grizzly bear hair.  Spoiler alert – trout don’t bite on grizz hair.  I’d send you a picture of the fly, but a Pharnox got it.