Forrest Gets Thankful Mail…

Mr. Fenn,
I just want to let you know what your chase has done for my son. He is almost 9 years old and has autism. He has never shown any real interest in doing things until he sound out about you treasure. He now loves to look for it where ever we are.
It is one of the reason he has come out of his shell. He loves the idea of being a treasure hunter. We have made a few “real” trips out west to look for it, but whenever we go camping even here in Michigan, he wants to see if he can find it.
We went to Iceland for a camping trip on spring break this year and had to spend some time looking for your box there. That trip would not have been possible if he had not learned how to camp to find the treasure (we did not find it in Iceland).
The quest has help him see the natural world and enjoy the outdoors, and we are trying to encourage it build on that foundation.
I have wanted to sent this for awhile, but have not gotten around to it.
Thank you for helping my son and me,

Thankful parents

 

Asterisk, Omega, and Grizzly Bears….

SUBMITTED JUNE 2017
by VOXPOPS

 

Let me take you back to November of 2016. At that time I sent a story to Dal about finding a piece of truck tire, apparently encrusted with canine droppings. After studying my own video I came to the conclusion that this was a Chase marker left by Mr. Fenn at a specific location to which the poem directs you. Naturally, I came in for some considerable ridicule, but early in 2017 Forrest created an eBay listing about money that his own dog had chewed and partially excreted. Following on from the listing’s premature removal came the raffle of that same pile of indigestible moolah in aid of the Santa Fe Children’s Museum. For those who were observant, there were inconsistencies in the information Forrest presented that pointed toward the same place where the tire had been located. And after that came a story about the “waning of art.” Draw your own conclusions.

Tire as originally discovered – picture extracted from late 2016 video

Fast forward to May of this year, and I was chomping at the bit to get back out there. In fact I’d been getting paranoid about the avalanche of information Forrest had been releasing, as well as the avalanche of snow that had been falling across the Rockies (up to 200% of normal in some areas). I already had a flight booked for the end of May, but mixed feelings of urgency and confidence, with just a hint of smugness thrown in, spurred me on to add an extra trip (number 12) at the beginning of May. I was convinced that the treasure would be located close to where I’d found the tire, and I had the specific coordinates to hand. I prayed that the snow would be gone by the time I got there.

So where was there? Let’s just say that I was north of Jackson, WY. It’s three flights and over twenty-four hours travel time for me, plus a seven-hour time difference; these days I find that exhausting. So by the time I was on-site, I was feeling a tad discombobulated. The second emotion was disappointment. I was confronted by snow cover that was over two feet deep in places – and a six-inch swamp elsewhere. Searching in that environment would be near to impossible. And what was I looking for? I wasn’t sure, although like most searchers I had ideas.

But the first little crumb of good news was that the segment of tire I’d left by the roadside was still there, and I popped it in the rental car’s trunk. I’d been hoping to recover the “poop” that would still be in its original location, if it was indeed artwork, but the snow and water made hunting for that impossible.

Tire picture taken at home after recovery – you can just make out the mark (first tread notch on left) where the “poop” was attached

Tire picture taken at home after recovery – note cut edge

Tire picture taken at home after recovery – note ragged edge

Tire picture taken at home after recovery – note “sculpted” edge

Two days of searching produced a big fat zero – except for some very large and very obvious freshly made paw prints: bears! I tried to stay alert.

Paws for thought

My main spot was completely obliterated by the snow, and in any event I sensed that something wasn’t quite right about it, although I couldn’t quite put my finger on what that was. It was time to turn my attention to the secondary locations. Although I could see that they would more than likely be under water, there was a chance that some marker might be visible, if not the chest itself.  Prior to making the trip, I’d made arrangements with another searcher to check these spots for me last year, but for reasons beyond anyone’s control that had not been possible – and as it turns out I’m glad that fate intervened.

Too much snow!

There I was on day three, squelching in hastily purchased gumboots through the snowmelt, when I looked up and caught movement. I’d already disturbed what I later discovered was a sandhill crane – a gray jumbo of a bird that is as impressive to watch during take-off as any 747 or Airbus.

Sandhill Crane

This time it was no bird, but an enormous grizzly apparently foraging for breakfast. Fortunately, I was still a hundred yards or so away and he hadn’t spotted me. Of course, as soon as I picked up my camera Murphy’s Law swung into action, causing me to knock the focus switch and so prevent me from getting the best shots. But I was able to grab something before deciding I might be better off getting out of there and returning after feeding time.

Getting the hump!

Grizzly on the move

I have to admit I was nervous as, a couple of hours later, I traversed the area where the grizzly had been wading, keeping up a barrage of noisy yelps and other gibberish to warn of my approach. I kept search time to a minimum, and was turning to go when I looked up to find a wolf standing at the edge of the trees, watching me. It was a magnificent creature with predominantly snowy white fur. I wasn’t able to get a photographic record, but the sight of him is imprinted in my memory. Those unexpected glimpses of nature in the raw are the moments that stand out in the Chase for me. More to come on that later…

By now something was beginning to nag at me. It wasn’t just that I was searching in potentially dangerous bear country, but I had the feeling that there was yet more to this hunt than the couple of hundred miles that my trajectory had already covered over the last few years. I went back to the poem and looked for the thousandth time at the final verse. Then it dawned on me. I repacked my rucksack and hit the road.

Where I was headed was quite different in terrain and geology, and when I arrived I saw a myriad purple and yellow flowers as well as rocks encrusted with multi-colored lichens. Ring any bells?

Beautiful colors on display

And then I made the fatal error. After years of trying to let the poem lead me, I succumbed to force-fitting the solution. I ignored the spot where the poem told me to go, as it seemed too close to human habitation. The place I chose instead was logical, but I stopped thinking rationally and spent over two days literally digging in the snow. The area was flanked by a ridge that was largely snow-free, but running along the length of its base was a gulley that was still chock-full of the white stuff. I purchased shovels and set to. Now bear in mind that this area is over 7,000 feet in elevation, plus I’m overweight and over sixty years old. You get the picture! I not only got very tired, but I started to get strangely depressed and obsessively focused on this one spot. (Interestingly, I read a report a few weeks later that oxygen depletion at high altitude can lead to depression and even suicide.) I became convinced that Forrest had chosen this location since it would only become truly accessible for a limited period each year. What made matters worse was that when I returned to the hotel room and looked at the spot on my small phone screen, I was sure that there was a square or rectangular object located in the center of the gulley.

A workout at over 7,000 ft.

However, I didn’t just Google the place I was at now. During those idle hours, I retraced my virtual steps and, using the precision tools in the poem, found – for the very first time – Forrest’s asterisk. It was unmistakable and it was many miles distant. I had never been there physically, and now wondered if the spot would reveal any useful information. I lodged the info at the back of my mind, and prepared for more digging and searching.

The “asterisk” that the poem leads you to

Time ran out, along with the good weather. During the final afternoon, having spent hours searching a cliff and its rock cavities, the heavens opened and unleashed a torrent of rain and hail. Within minutes, the access road was a muddy sluice, throwing up clods of sticky brown goo that clung to the wheel arches and underside of the car, and would soon set like cement. I jet-washed the rental car and headed back to the airport, once again in relatively good spirits, knowing that my wife and I were still booked onto a flight three weeks later, and that I’d get another chance to solve this particular riddle.

At the end of May we flew into Salt Lake City in blazing sunshine, and drove to our motel. It was hot, and my wife was unused to the altitude. Searching in these conditions would prove to be an ordeal for her – not least because she didn’t share my confidence. The creek I needed to search was awash with snowmelt run-off. It really wasn’t possible to make an exhaustive search there, and it made me wonder if I’d messed up yet again. We spent the next couple of days expanding the search area considerably, but I kept coming back to the logic that sent me to the creek.

Searching in snowmelt

It was just as we were deciding to call it quits and leave the area that I made a discovery. The method I’d used to solve the last stanza had led me to the creek, but what if I reversed it through 180 degrees? I checked the coordinates, and then I checked Google Maps. What I saw there astonished me. I have viewed miles of sagebrush from the comfort of my armchair and I’ve never spotted anything that looked remotely like an omega. But that was exactly what I saw now. In fact, right next to the coordinate marker was what looked like a “T” or a “J” – possibly even a cursive capital “F.” Then came the omega – oriented perfectly for GE viewing – followed by something that might be an “o” or a square. The first and last symbols were ambiguous, but the omega was as clear as day – at least to me. My wife was, as usual, unimpressed. You can make your own judgment call from the screenshot.

Omega: “TΩo” = “Tωo” = 2 = the second omega (possibly)

Naturally, I was cock-a-hoop and itching to get out there to pick up the treasure! But nothing in this Chase is ever that straightforward. We searched high and low. We rearranged the coordinates. We gave ourselves blisters. But there was no darn treasure! As far as I was concerned I’d parsed every line of the poem, and reached the end point. There was an omega but no treasure. What else could I do? I looked at the other symbols and tried to work them into the solution, but the capital letter gave me no hints unless combined with the final symbol to perhaps read “Two” or “To,” and the square – if that’s what it was – suggested that I had to complete that on the ground to find the chest’s resting place. But were we talking yards or miles?

Where’s that darn chest?

And then I considered the asterisk. What if the poem leads you all the way to the end – the omega – but the treasure is at a second omega. Could the asterisk be that place? It was time to visit the star of the show.

We drove for hours in blistering heat. We walked about a mile. We found a creek that was a raging torrent. I laughed as I stood on the bank and pointed at the place where the submerged asterisk – the stepping stones – ought to be. It was a ludicrous situation. A trillion gallons of snowmelt were cascading through that ravine. And yes, I’ve done some crazy things over the past four years, but there was no way I was going to venture into that maelstrom (as I described it in an email to Forrest). If he has secreted the chest there, it would have to be held in vault-like security so that it can’t move or spill its contents under those conditions. And yet…

You have to laugh!

We left there and drove to the desert to check out a possible corner of the square. There was nothing evident in that locale and I was beginning to lose hope. My wife was tired and fed-up, and just wanted to quit searching and visit family, so we made tracks for Eugene, Oregon.

My brave wife in desert heat

While in Oregon I kept turning over the evidence in my mind, but nothing new was forthcoming. But then, just as I was about to admit defeat, I saw a post on one of the blogs that intrigued me. Now, I don’t normally pay heed to others’ methodology because, like the so-called “hints,” you can all-too-often find yourself lost down a gigantic rabbit hole. But I was clutching at straws. I used what I found there to give me a new search place, a short distance from the asterisk.

As they say, hope springs eternal. Anyone who is an active searcher knows that is true, otherwise why bother? With only a few days left before our flight home, we set off on the thousand-mile journey back to the asterisk.

It was a beautiful morning and much cooler than on our previous foray as we left the car and hiked into the search area. This time we needed to cross a couple of wooded areas to reach the spot. As we approached the first one, it dawned on me why the woodland was there in the middle of scrub: water! And sure enough, as we scrambled down through the trees into a shallow valley, there was a stream that was serving as runoff from the overflowing main creek. We found a downed tree and edged across to dry land.

Heading down to the water

I was heading directly for the area we needed to reach – a clearing among the trees – but was unsure of how to access it. By climbing a steep hillside I thought I might be able see the best way in. I suggested to my wife that she stay by a rock while I went ahead to scout. That turned out to be a good move. As I reached the top of the crest, and peered down into the gloomy forest, I spotted movement. A bear was on the prowl.

Going up to look down

Reconnaissance

Because I wasn’t sure if the creature was aware of our presence, I thought I’d better make noise. I began yelling and whooping. It stopped and turned toward me. Then it bounded up the hill in my direction. That wasn’t supposed to happen! As it reached the edge of the tree line and paused, I called to my wife to back away. The bear was young, maybe a year or two old, and was beautiful. When it stood on its hind legs and looked straight at me, perhaps a little over thirty feet away, its eyes were intelligent and calculating.

I ran a brief test, and half-turned away to see if it might lose interest. Mistake! It immediately began to move in my direction. Quickly, I swung back to face it full-on, and began backing up while fumbling for the bear spray in my left jeans pocket. I tried to dislodge the safety catch by feel, never losing eye contact with my new friend. As my fingers found purchase on the plastic clip, the canister released a tiny puff of spray, shooting a yellow jet about ten feet forward of me. That was enough. The bear immediately turned away and began lumbering back into the trees. Phew!

Beating a slow retreat – thank goodness for the bear spray!

I returned to my wife who was in near-panic mode, and did my best to comfort her. From her vantage point lower down the hill, she’d only glimpsed the top of the bear’s head, and so was unsure exactly what was afoot. That may have made the situation even more difficult for her – not knowing exactly what was happening.

No encores, please!

We waited a few minutes before I climbed up again to see if the bear was still around. I caught sight of it loping away through the clearing that was our intended destination. Reasoning that time was what was needed, and that the bear would want to get away from these troublesome humans, we took our time retreating downhill before making a cautious approach through the trees at a lower level.

By the time we reached the clearing, there was no sign of the bear, but I was unable to concentrate on the search, thinking about our previous encounter. A largish rock in the center of the clearing was my goal, but there was nothing obvious around it.

Searching with spray at the ready

I began to widen the search area, but very soon I heard my wife call out that the bear was back. Looking up, I could see it moving among the trees on the hillside, roughly where I’d spotted it originally. It watched us, fortunately without making any further attempt to join the party. I ushered my wife out of the clearing and decided not to return.

He’s back! (Look to the bottom right)

Here’s a closer view

Re-crossing the stream via a different tree, my wife slipped and fell half into the water, scraping and bruising her leg on the log. She fought back the tears. By the time we got out of there, we were both soaked. Briefly and half-heartedly we checked another spot before returning to the car. At that point, my wife released her pent-up emotions, we hugged, and then began the long, long trip home. I had forgotten the yellow pepper spray that had caught and stained my fingers during the stand-off. After touching my nose absentmindedly, I was given a hot and painful reminder. Don’t stand downwind of that stuff, but don’t leave home without it!

DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT !!!

[SafetyOff] DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT !!!

So after all that, do I think I’ve reached the end? I really do – both ends, particularly now I’ve had a chance to correct a minor error. But it may also be the end of my hunt. Thirteen sorties are enough. We cannot afford yet another trip to prove me right or wrong. But just in case there’s some crazy, deep-pocketed speculator out there with money to burn on a shred of old tire, I’ve just put it on eBay at an eye-watering price to fund the final trip. Here’ are the UK and US eBay links:

UK eBay
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/-/132231414085?

or
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Weird-Art-Spare-Tire-Tyre-segment-found-during-Forrest-Fenn-treasure-hunt-/132231414085?hash=item1ec99b4145:g:zfQAAOSwHLNZRqXV

US eBay
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Weird-Art-Spare-Tire-Tyre-segment-found-during-Forrest-Fenn-treasure-hunt-/132231414085?hash=item1ec99b4145:g:zfQAAOSwHLNZRqXV

There again, should a TV production company be prepared to fund a trip in late summer, then great, too. But otherwise, if the treasure is where I think it is, it can stay; it isn’t going anywhere fast! And if I ever do write the book of my four-year adventure, I will include my methodology in that. Meantime, good luck to you all.

Voxpops-

Forrest Gets Motivational Mail…

Dear Forrest,

I wanted to just say thank you for the weight loss.  I am preparing for my
4th treasure hunting expedition and in preparation decided I needed to lose
some weight.  I set a goal of 35 pounds for my trip in August.  I started in
February and have lost 29 pounds.  I have 6 more pounds to go to reach my
goal.

My wife said even if I don’t find the treasure she thanks you for the
motivation to get into better shape and lose weight!

Thanks Again!
Vinson Myers

Forrest Gets Engaging Mail…

Howdy Forrest!

Just wanted to let you know you took part in my engagement last year!

Recently, my girlfriend and I took a train from Boston out to New Mexico and then up to Wyoming to treasure hunt in northern Wyoming over the last week.  We were heading up towards Jackson, but due to the forest fire, we stuck around in Pinedale, WY.

So under the guise that we were looking for your treasure (I wish we had found that also) I buried a box of my own right along Fremont Lake, WY.

She found it the next day, and in the bottom of the box was an engagement ring.  She loved it, and the adventure as well.  So thanks for helping in setting it up!

Great adventure,

Jeff

https://youtu.be/XeoZl5VVk9o

 

The Blaze…

yellow

This is the place to discuss the the blaze. What do you think it is? Is it temporary or permanent? Will it be around for a thousand years or doesn’t it matter? Is it easy to spot or difficult? Does the poem tell us what the blaze looks like or what it is?

Nick Lazaredes of SBS-TV’s Dateline in Australia interviewed Forrest in the spring of 2014. Here is Forrest explaining the BLAZE.
http://dalneitzel.com/video/audio/blaze.mp3

Colter’s Hell….

SUBMITTED MAY 2017
by JAKE FAULKER

 

I’ve always wanted to head west even though I am not a young man physically. Cody Wyoming would be my second trip after staying in Reno Nevada for 6 months looking for something that wasn’t there.

My trip was not planned very well, I had gold fever (and still do) and I was going to Cody without reserving any accommodations. Besides, I have done this all the time when traveling to the White Mountains of the Granite State, Green Mountains of Vermont and Maine’s beautiful Appalachian’s. In worst case scenarios I would just pitch a tent somewhere or sleep in the car, but I had no tent and no car to sleep in Cody. The rental car I reserved couldn’t be acquired because my flight arrived too late to pick up. Closed!

I knew exactly what I was doing and would be fine.

Flew out of West Palm Beach at 5am on a Saturday morning and headed to Atlanta to catch a connector flight which would take me to Denver, then another connector to Yellowstone Regional Airport.

Landed in Atlanta only to find our plane was grounded, do to maintenance issues, which was fine with me considering they found the issues on the ground instead of 35,000 ft in the air.

Took an hour or so to get new flight to Denver to meet new connector, which worked out fine except…

Landed in Cody around 10pm MST, departed the plane only to find out my luggage was not there and they just told me to call them to see when it has arrived. OK, so no clothes, except for the clothes on my back and no high blood pressure meds which I foolishly put in my luggage instead of carry on.

Well, what the heck, I feel as though I need a couple of stiff ones to toss back, after all, I was on vacation so let’s not worry about the small stuff.

Called Town Taxi and Ron picked me up at the airport and asked him to take me to a bar or saloon so I can think straight. I would deal with the sleeping arrangements after I had a few. Dropped me off at Silver Dollar Bar and had a few while playing cornhole with a few locals, biker’s and vacationers. I would have to say the people here were very hospitable. I had told several people I was here looking for Forrest Fenn’s treasure and they knew nothing of it. I was surprised no one even heard of Forrest even though he was a trustee of Buffalo Bill Center of the West museum.

Had my fill & was really thinking straight if you know what I mean and called Ron to pick me up to go looking for a hotel or motel that had vacancy which he had told me it would be difficult considering it was biker week here in Cody. Thousands of bikers were passing through and staying there for Sturgis the first week of August. Just my luck, things were not going my way on this trip unlike many unplanned trips before. Ron did the research and we traveled to many different places that were packed full. Made many calls to no avail and told him to drop me off at the Ponderosa where I could meet Ben, Hoss, Adam, Little Joe & maybe have a nice meal by Hop Sing. Wrong Ponderosa, wrong state of mind & state & the TV show was not actual reality but the shots were in control. Timing & planning was wrong as well as you already know.

Ron’s a little older than myself and allot wiser than me & the look on his face was surely a sign that it was not going to happen considering he has lived in this town most of his life. But who am I to listen to someone who has been sober for several years as he told me.

Dropped me off and walked into the lobby where a tired husky man behind the counter was dozing off. I asked him if there was anything open for the night and he told me the obvious in a drowsy state. I asked him if I could sleep on the couch in the lobby until something opens up tomorrow. He suddenly awakened with a look that incinerated my soul and replied, if you don’t get out of here now, I am calling the police!

I left quickly and my heart was racing, knowing I am over 2,000 miles away from home with no place to stay. I took my pulse and was beating about 3 times a second. Holy crap, I really stretched myself thin on this one. I wandered out to find a teepee close by and was getting ready to spend the night Indian style when better judgment seemed to enter my mind and decided to call Ron again.

He was right around the corner and picked me up. I asked him if there were any more places he had in mind I could stay the night and that’s when I realized there are lots of great people here in this town and Ron is one of them. I cannot say this for the grizzly in the lobby. He took me back to his place on the north side of the Shoshone River where he had a couple of trailers in the field.

Ah, finally got to rest in a trailer with running water, electricity, bathroom wasn’t hooked up yet, but I had a roof over my head and that’s all I need for the time being. Isn’t it funny how all the things we take for granted?

I was truly thankful he took me under his wing that night when I needed a place to stay outside of the steel bars.

Didn’t get much sleep, heart rate was high. I was pretty sure my heart would explode at anytime.

Laying down, steering at the ceiling around 7am Sunday morning my blood pressure shot through the roof with several loud gun shots. I thought at this time, it was my time to go and should be brave and thankful for the time I had been here on this earth. I stepped out of the trailer to a man with a rifle pointing very near my direction out of the window of a house about 30 ft away. It was Ron, leaning on the window sill from inside his house, shooting at targets by the trailer I was resting in. I said to myself, please, I hope his aim is good and puts a bullet between my eyes, so I do not have to suffer as I walked towards the window.

“Hey, why don’t you come on inside”

Wow, talk about being out of your element, I was sure the end was ever drawing nigh.

At that point with soiled clothing, I decided I needed a beer for breakfast. Coffee was not an option for me at this point. He invited me in and showed me around. What a collection of old oil lamps, guns, arrows, hide scrappers, paintings, boots and all sorts of old west items he had in his home. I couldn’t believe it, the treasure was here & he was the center piece. This man is a collector just like Forrest. He let me shoot many of his guns, rifles, shotguns and one special cannon. I asked him if he has killed any elephants with this cannon of a rifle and he replied, just bison. I leaned against the window sill, aimed and blasted the cannon. My shoulder hurt for the rest of week after being thrown back a bit.

I told Ron why I came to Cody. He patiently put up with my obsession, not believing anything about it, although he told me a story about some treasure hunters that had to be rescued in the Absaroka mountains not too long ago. Had a great time & learning experience there in Cody and it’s history is deep. I already knew I would go back to see him again after this trip.

WWWH, Buffalo Bill Reservoir.

I know now that WWWH is not related to any dam, but I was thinking about the reservoir where a few hot springs were submerged by the dam that was built back in 1903. I believe this was the highest dam in the world at this time at 325 ft, surely the warm waters halted here.

Take it the canyon down, Shoshone Canyon.

Not far, but too far to walk. We will have to drive.

Put in below the home of Brown.

There is only one road that goes across the Shoshone (Stinking Water River) in Cody. Belfry bridge.

That highway is called Belfry Highway, named after the town to the north. There was a woman from the town of Belfry that succumbed to fumes in Colter’s Hell 1903 & her name was Wm. Brown from Belfry (Put in below the home of Brown.)

http://ultimatewyoming.com/wysections/WY2%20Sec02.pdf

From there it’s no place for the meek,

Joseph Meek was a trapper in this area as well as allot of other areas in the Rockies & the west. He never got credit for YNP or Colter’s Hell although he described the areas in detail, they didn’t believe him.

The end is ever drawing nigh;

Well at the time I thought that “nigh” meant near, but I know now it’s all about your perspective & more importantly about Forrest’s perspective. It could actually be the word that is key seeing he is winking at you; without the nose & smile. 😉

There’ll be no paddle up your creek,

Your up sh*t’s creek without a paddle comes to mind here.

Stinking Water River was the name of this river back in the day when things were less complicated. Evidently the newer settlers didn’t like the name the local indigenous people gave to the river.

Just heavy loads and water high.

The heavy loads & water high could be the dammed waters above Colter’s Hell.

The blaze?

I am wise at times, but not so wise in other times.

I thought the blaze was the gravel road to Colter’s hell RD 2ABW.

This road still is one of the oldest roads to the west from years ago when it was the blazing west.

My video camera would not work, my mothers camera that she gave me for the trip would not work, my cell camera did not work until the last day I was there when I was no longer searching. I had 3 cameras with me on this trip & didn’t work for a reason. Searched thoroughly in these areas for a week but I felt as though I was in the Bermuda Triangle when it came time to take pictures or make a call.

Plan B in surrounding areas at Rattlesnake Mountain & Spirit Mountain came up empty as well even though Forrest said it is there in spirit, about the X.

Some places are better explored in person only for your memories & experiences only & cannot be shared by modern technology for a reason I do not know of But I was able to get a few pics of hell.

Sometimes the trip is about the people you meet & not the quarry.

Thanks to Ron, who now owns Town Taxi made the stay & search fun. He showed me the places in Colter’s Hell where he found all those arrow heads & hide scrapers.

We went out on 2 trips to Colter’s Hell together to find the treasure when he eventually caved into the thrill of the chase.

The craters created by Mother Nature there were active & spewing with muddy waters with a stench of sulfur that still lingers.

When we were looking into these pits from above I could see vehicles that were obviously driven off the cliffs to their resting place below.

I knew at this point again, this was not the place to rest your bones with your treasure.

There was only one way in & out of these craters & went down into them only to find the old rusted vehicles filled with hundreds of bullet holes which made me nervous.

We searched the caves & caverns around only to find trash & burnt documents from a lawyers office located in Texas which I thought were connected to Forrest. Wrong!

The ceilings of these caverns were crumbling dried white deposits ready to fall at any time & decided to get the hell out of there.

We climbed back out the same way we went in only to see a Land rover parked where we were.

We climbed through the barbed wire fence at the perimeter of the crater that was the deepest & noticed the “Private Property” signs & approached the vehicle slowly with hearts racing & a full sweat.

The driver was wearing a collared shirt with a rifle embroider on his left chest & told us we were trespassing.

He had a passenger & a rifle & probably a handgun. I told him we were looking for Forrest Fenn’s treasure. He wasn’t amused & had a look on his face that said get out of here.

Come to find out, he was one of the caretakers of the property.

Some millionaire dude from another country bought parts of Colter’s Hell & surrounding areas for reasons unknown to me.

I would have to say after my experience there, that area is sacred to the spirits & better left alone. It was sad that people dumped there vehicles & documents there & have no respect for anyone including themselves.

Sometimes you got to go through Hell to get to Heaven.

Colter’s Hell.

Jake-

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Eighty Four…

scrapbook

MAY 2017

House Bronze Foundry 1972-2010

“Jerry House was a good friend who shared my interest in history. So of course we collected history together, which was not a big deal because neither of us had earned income to spare back in the late 60’s.”
– Forrest Fenn

In December of 1968 a singular event in a war zone 8,500 miles away nearly altered the time space continuum of the art scene in the southwest United States. That was when Forrest Fenn, future Santa Fe gallery owner and arts benefactor almost didn’t make it out of Southeast Asia alive. Had Forrest perished over the dense jungle canopy of Laos that month it is a given that Fenn Galleries would never have hatched onto the Santa Fe scene a few years later. It is equally unlikely that House Bronze, an acclaimed art foundry run by Jerry and Gail House, could possibly have emerged on the stubbornly dry, staked plain of Lubbock, TX in 1972.

In January of 2010 Gail House was closing the doors on an art business she and her late husband Jerry operated since 1972. House Bronze Foundry occupied an unremarkable building in an unremarkable section of Lubbock, TX. But what went on in this “plain Jane” building for the previous 38 years is indeed quite remarkable and has added significantly to the collections of art bronze statuary and monuments worldwide.

Creating mostly large public statuary, House Bronze turned out bigger than life monuments of icons of our times including president George H. W. Bush, the astronaut Willie McCool and even a nine foot Rev. Billy Graham. They didn’t just cast important folks though. They also made elephants and lions and bears and giant whatcha-ma-callits that adorn public gardens, university lawns, town squares, corporate entryways and great halls all over America.

Texas Tech University in Lubbock

But it wasn’t Jerry and Gail’s dream to own an art foundry back in 1968. They both worked at Texas Tech University. In fact, large art bronzes probably weren’t even anything they thought much more about than you or I do today.

Jerry collected guns and was interested in obtaining a smoothbore muzzle loaded firearm. Those things were expensive and the company told Jerry that if he could generate $5,000 in sales he would get a discount. So he was contacting everyone he knew that might be interested in buying a modern black powder gun. Black powder guns are a kind of unusual firearm. His list wasn’t building rapidly.

Someone told Jerry that there was a pilot over at Reese Airbase, a Major by the name of Forrest Fenn and if Jerry could wait two months Forrest Fenn would be back from Vietnam and surely he would be interested in buying one. Jerry added Forrest’s name to his list of hopefuls.

Nearly two months went by when Jerry heard the news that Forrest and his F-100 had been shot down and he might not be heading home. Jerry added a question mark after Forrest’s name on his still incomplete list.

In 2010 Gail House was reminiscing about her late husband Jerry and his friendship with Forrest. She remembered when Forrest arrived back home from Vietnam. ”The morning of the 26th, our phone rang and it was Forrest Fenn. A helicopter had picked him up not long after he was shot down, and because he was due home, he took the next Red Cross plane back.”

For his part, Forrest wanted to make sure Jerry didn’t scratch him off the buyer’s list. He wanted that muzzle loader.

“When Jerry got the call from Forrest, we were stunned,” Gail recalls. “Jerry went over that day, and they formed a real friendship.”

At the time, Forrest had started a part-time business in his garage where he was casting small bronzes for artists. Jerry was intrigued. More-so when Forrest told Jerry he could make a handsome $10 an hour doing this kind of work. That was the egg that Jerry later developed into his own foundry, House Bronze.

Forrest recalls that he was thrilled with his new black powder gun. “Jerry and I knew how to load it: measure the powder and pour it down the barrel. Then tamp some wadding in. The round bullet was next, just roll it down the barrel. More wadding was added to keep the bullet from rolling out if you tilted the gun down.”

They really wanted to shoot the thing because neither had done that before as Forrest remembers, “The problem was that we didn’t have any bullets. After looking around for a minute I found some old chewing gum that one of my young daughters had placed on the kitchen counter. It was dried and hard. I remember having to force it down the barrel with the ram-rod that came with the gun. Are you ready for this? Jerry took the first shot and that glob of chewing gum went clear through a 1” board in my back yard fence. We couldn’t believe it and Peggy couldn’t stop laughing.”

So now it was Forrest’s turn to shoot and he put a small rock down the barrel and shot at the fence. “When the powder ignited our close proximity went black with smoke that chased my wife into the house. You are not going to believe this, but that little pebble came out of the barrel in pieces, and each one was impaled in my fence. There must have been 6 or 7 pieces. Jerry and I talked about that for a long time and considered telling the Army about our newly discovered secret weapon.”

The camaraderie lasted well beyond their first muzzle loader experience. “Jerry was a lot of fun. One of his legs was 2” shorter than the other, so he wore a shoe with an elevated sole. He bragged about it keeping him from being drafted. One thing you never did with Jerry, and that was to call him on the phone between 12:00 and 12:15 because that was when Paul Harvey was on the radio. Jerry was a fanatic about that guy, and he got me started listening. Paul, Jerry, and I had something in common. We were good, conservative, patriotic, American citizens.”

After awhile, Forrest moved his foundry out of his garage, hired some help and started Fenn Bronze on the outskirts of Lubbock. “Jerry used to come see me in my foundry, which was just a few blocks from where he worked. After a while he started helping me work waxes and get them ready to pour in bronze. He liked it, and was soon on my payroll. It wasn’t long before he knew the business as well as anyone.”

After Forrest moved to Santa Fe, in 1972, Jerry opened his own casting studio with his wife Gail in Lubbock called House Bronze and did very well for 38 years.

Jerry and Forrest kept in touch. He was still working long hours at House Bronze and probably making considerably more than $10/hr when he died in 2009.

You can read more about Forrest’s “Bronze Years” on this blog in Forrest’s Scrapbooks:

http://dalneitzel.com/2014/12/29/scrapbook-one-hundred-twenty-two/
http://dalneitzel.com/2014/11/02/scrapbook-101/

 

On Quitting the Chase…

by Ken S.

Warning – this is verbose and long winded.

I have only been at “The Chase” for a little over five months now starting in December, 2016.  I realize I am a late comer to the party.  I have not been out in the mountains yet because we still have snow down to the 5,000’ 6,000′ level here in Montana.  I was raised in south central MT and YNP has been in my backyard my whole life.  Many of you have been at this for years and it has changed your lives and, in some cases, how you now live your lives.

For me, and for most of you, all I can think of any more is “The Poem” of clues.  I think of it as soon as I wake up in the morning.  I recite the poem throughout the day.  Nearly every night I review different websites for new clues.  I stay up way too late looking at GE, the thesaurus, dictionary, and topo maps.  I have had several “solves”, most of which “work” to some degree or another.  For me, it is consuming and I want to/need to stop.  I have many other things I need to do and think about.  I hope in giving away what I have learned so far, I can maybe get this Chase out of my head.  Really, the best way for that to happen is for someone to find the chest!

In this monolog I am going to give most all of my solutions to clues I have found in the poem.  And, yes, I find more than nine clues in the poem.  As some have said, maybe each sentence counts as a clue, but within each sentence there may be several sub-clues (you can call them hints if you want, but I will refer to everything as clues for ease of typing).  I am not going to quote or cite blog posts or videos but will trust my memory of what I have read on different websites, primarily this one.  I know many of you will shoot holes in my logic and thoughts, that’s OK.  Some of you will discount me because I haven’t referenced ff quotes.  But, maybe some of my thoughts will nudge someone else into a different line of thinking, as do many of the blog posts I have read from others.  Btw: I am  a poem purist, I have not purchased the book(s).  Line by line, here goes:

As I have gone alone in there
Alone could mean Lone Wolf, Lone Star Geyser (ff is from TX), Lone Mtn near Big Sky, MT.  I only developed one solve based on this line.  Btw, there is a Fenn couple that own land at Big Sky, MT (public record).  I don’t know if they are related to ff.

And with my treasures bold,
Treasures Bold could be the creeks that flow into the Lamar River including the adjacent creeks called Jasper, Amethyst, Agate, Crystal, Opal, Chalcedony, and Flint.  All are treasured gems.  Their creek names are bold on a topo map in the area.  I have two solves that use this phrase as a clue.

I can keep my secret where,
I have found no clues in this phrase.

And hint of riches new and old.
The word old may refer to a historic mining district.

Begin it where warm waters halt
There are warm waters all over the west and in the Rocky Mtns.  I have considered mostly those only in my area of familiarity.  In YNP I considered both Soda Butte Cr. and less warm Rose Cr. in the Lamar Valley.  Neither are hot springs.  Soda Butte is warm and Rose does not freeze in winter.  I also considered the Firehole River, the Boiling River, Corwin Springs, the hot springs at Thermopolis, WY, and in the Shoshone River at Cody, WY.

WWWH could also refer to the geographic borders of YNP, but does it mean inside YNP or outside YNP?  Soda Butte and Lamar flow from the boundary inward, Firehole/Madison, Snake, and Gardiner/Yellowstone, flow outward.

Thermopolis, WY is well below the elevation of the chest hiding place but the poem doesn’t say you have to decrease in elevation.  I used Thermopolis as the start point for a solve that looks at the really “big picture”.

And take it in the canyon down,
Different canyons that I have thought of in my solves are Lamar River Canyon, Icebox Canyon, Gardner R canyon, Yankee Jim Canyon, Firehole/Madison R canyon, Yellowstone River canyon, Big Horn R canyon, Clear Cr. canyon in Colorado, and canyons that head south (down) on a map (only those which are associated with warm or hot springs).

Not far, but too far to walk.
This phrase is so very subjective.  Even though ff was 79 or 80 yo, I have hiked long hard miles with people that age.  It also depends on the altitude and terrain.  It is ten hard miles from Buffalo Ranch to Lamar R joining the Yellowstone R.  It is several miles from Boiling River to Yankee Jim Canyon.  My interpretation for this is that ff probably walked no more that six miles total on his two round trips to hide the treasure.  The higher the altitude the less the mileage would have been.  Similarly, if he was bucking brush versus walking through high park grass, the effort and distance would be much different.

Put in below the home of Brown.
I have a few different HOBs.  I borrowed from the blog for using the Lamar R. and Buffalo Ranch.

Along the Big Horn River just above Sheep Canyon there is a long-operating bentonite plant owned by the Brown Family.

Brown could also be Brown’s Lake east of Fort Collins for those looking in the Estes Park area.

I also thought of the sewage lagoons below Gardiner and the Grizzly Adventure in W. Yellowstone.

And, here is a doozy:  In one translation I found the word Brown has a Spanish translation as the verb “doarse” meaning ‘turn, turn about, turn around’.  But, in most Spanish dictionaries “doarse” means “to turn brown, or golden” such as for sauteed food.  So, doarse is a pretty weak interpretation of Brown, but . . .

From there it’s no place for the meek,
This one is also subjective depending on one’s personal fears – or maybe it refers to a place where the meek would not be found.  At first blush I thought this meant that “You are going to have to work for it.  It’s not easy”.  Or, it could be a scary place – bears, wolves, buffalo, rattlesnakes, guarded private property, nasty switch back roads, nasty park rangers?  Could meek be a religious reference (inherit the earth).  If so, could it be related to a church camp or mountain chapel?)  The Big Horn River cuts through both Sheep Mtn. and Little Sheep Mtn and sheep are referenced in literature to be meek animals.  Meek is associated with timid so maybe “no place for the meek” is associated with the antithesis such as Devil’s Slide, Hell Creek, wolf, etc.

The end is ever drawing nigh;
Some of the blog posts suggest this as meaning “to the left” so some of my solves used it that way.  Others did not.  For my Thermopolis, WY solve I interpreted it as the Shoshone River which enters the Big Horn R just below the Sheep Canyons after its run from the YNP west entrance down through Cody, WY

There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
As with most I interpret this as a small stream or dry creek bed.  It could also mean a stream with heavy rapids that cannot be ascended even by kayak.  This could mean the Shoshone River through Cody, WY.  Also, paddling is not allowed in YNP, nor can Lamar R be paddled upstream in the canyon portion because of the close boulders.  This could also mean to bypass Slough Creek which is the only creek with substantial water flowing into Lamar R.  It could also mean Crystal Creek which is one of the “gems” streams with very little water that flows into the Lamar.

Just heavy loads and water high.  
This could mean the large boulders in the Shoshone R as it flows from below BB dam down through Cody, WY or the heavy silt load on the Shoshone R at the BB dam, the Willwood dam, and where it flows into the Big Horn Reservoir (all in the Thermopolis solve).  I also took this to mean heavy loads of huge boulders in the rapids in the Lamar Canyon.  Water high might mean the high water mark of the Lamar (or any) river.  Water high could be where Lamar joins the Yellowstone and becomes a river too deep to cross on foot.  It could also mean any alluvium, especially braided – can’t paddle that – , at a creek’s mouth such as where it spills into a larger river)  Heavy loads (lodes) might also be referencing the many prospects and mines such as in SW Montana and along Clear Cr in Colorado.  Heavy loads and water high could mean a glacier or perennial snowbank.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,   
For the Thermopolis solve:  you have gone past Sage Creek (wise) as you go upstream.  The blaze is the Firefighters Memorial on Shoshone River upstream of the dam, elevation:  6190’.  This falls apart at the end because of the ff comment about no human trails in close proximity.

On the Fort Collins/Estes Park solve I was looking at a B-29 crash site that I thought ff might visit and honor because he had been a military pilot.  The B-29 trail description is to look for an Arrow on the final leg to the B-17 crash site.  For this solve I ignored it being a place ff might want to be buried.

My first solve along the Lamar R included an “owl face” along the river in the foothills between Tower Falls and Lamar Canyon.  The “eyes” are two small lakes, the beak is a small hillock south of the eyes.  The Blaze is an outcrop of white soil between and north of the eyes about 200 feet.

The Blaze could also be Tower Falls as seen from Specimen Ridge.  The Blaze could also be the Devil’s Slide above Yankee Jim Canyon.  Either type of “Blaze”, rapids or falls, could easily have a rainbow associated with the spray.  The rapids would show a rainbow most of the day with the sun to the south.  Tower Falls would only have a rainbow early in the morning with the sun to the east.  Devil’s Slide is also rainbow colored rock and soil.  Devil’s Slide is on private property but the very top end is on USFS, although quite a tough hike to access.

Blaze could also be a burned area but most of the YNP area burned up in 1988 and many subsequent years so that could mean just about anywhere in MT or WY.

Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
This phrase tells me that I am very, very close to the chest.  It is either literally at my feet or just down hill from where I am standing.  If you imagine my “owl” of pond eyes, it could mean to look at the “downy legs” and talons of the “owl” which would put it at the high water mark of the Yellowstone River across from Tower Falls.

To Cease could mean two (2) C’s such as Crystal Cr. or Cache Cr.  Two C’s could also mean the continental divide where water flow splits between the Pacific Ocean (sea) and Atlantic Ocean (sea).  But, that is just about anywhere in the Rockies in MT, WY, CO, and NM.

But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
To me, this means “Get the heck out of there before getting caught”.  That could be a situation for both NP lands or private lands.

Just take the chest and go in peace. 
I think this means “Don’t whoop & holler”, don’t tell anyone you found it until you are safe at home.  Peace could be a reference to a church camp or travel through a cemetery even though the TC is not hidden in a cemetery.  Peace could mean respect for the dead killed in the B-29 crash.

So why is it that I must go And leave my trove for all to seek?
I don’t see anything here.

The answers I already know,
I don’t see anything here.

I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.
I think this is telling the reader ff did the trip on rubber tires, probably by car or truck and that he was gone a week.  Of course, a week of travel could put him in any search state depending how many times he stopped and how fast he drove.

So hear me all and listen good,
Is there sound which could be a clue – water gurgling?  I liked the recent post from another Chaser of a natural amphitheater.  I thought that was a good interpretation.

Your effort will be worth the cold.
A synonym of cold is Icebox (canyon in YNP, another is Piercing such as water spray from a water falls.  It might be as simple as having to wait through the cold of winter before snow melts enough to search in the field.

If you are brave and in the wood
This could very well mean the TC is hidden in a hollow log thus easier for a child to retrieve.  Or, it could mean under a log thus easier for a child to see under.  Or, it could mean to duck under the water to get under a log jam.  In two interviews FF has said people should get out and kick over a log.  My favorite interpretation is that there is wood inside the chest that carries a “deed” to keep the findings.  Wood could also mean it is in the trees, if so, there are trees along the the high water mark at most rivers.  Brave might mean be careful of buffalo and grizzlies.  Brave could mean Warrior Mtn in the Idaho Springs, CO mining area.  Btw, there is a Santa Fe Mtn just south of I-70 near Idaho Springs and 8.25 miles north it leads one to a mountain called Fairburn.

I give you title to the gold.
A legal title for the finder could be inside the chest along with legal caveats and codicils.

Finally, I am saving two solves from you all because they are within a day’s drive from my home.  I plan to check them out if the snow ever melts.

Solve #1 – Begin at Soda Springs in YNP, travel down to Buffalo Ranch, cross the Lamar over to Crystal Creek.  Look around between the Lamar R bank and the top of the drainage.  Look for a hollow log or under a log near anything that could be a blaze.

Solve #2 – Begin at Soda Springs in YNP, travel down to Buffalo Ranch, look on GE for the Owl Eyes and forehead blaze.  Walk downhill to the Lamar R bank and look through the trees near the high water line along the river.

Solve #3 – Begin at Soda Springs in YNP, travel down to Yellowstone Picnic Area, hike up Specimen Ridge, break off from there and hike down to the Yellowstone R across from Tower Falls.  Look around the side of the draw on your way down as well as check out the high water area along the Yellowstone R.

Solve #4 – Begin at Soda Springs in YNP, travel down the Lamar R to its merging with the Yellowstone R.  Check out around the confluence area at the high water mark.  There could be a recognizable blaze in the area.

Solve #5 – Begin at Thermopolis, WY, travel down the Big Horn R and shallow BH canyon just below Thermopolis.  Travel down to where the Shoshone R flows into the Big Horn R (below the bentonite plant owned by the Brown family) at the upper end of Big Horn reservoir near Lovell, WY.  Follow Shoshone  R up through Cody, WY, up past Buffalo Bill dam and reservoir until you find the Firefighters Memorial (blaze).  It might be there but there definitely are human trails in the proximity.  Also, for some inexplicable reason, I doubt ff would use an industrial plant as HOB, then again . . .

Solve #6 – Begin at the Boiling R. south of Gardiner, MT, travel down the Yellowstone R canyon towards Yankee Jim Canyon.  Somewhere near there you will see the Devil’s Slide down the side of the mountain.  In this solve HOB is the sewer plant for Gardiner, MT – not very attractive.

Solve #7 – Start at Idaho Springs, CO.  I didn’t find a HOB here but I did find a Toledo Mine, Santa Fe Mtn, Warrior Mtn (brave), and Fairburn Mtn (blaze).  I didn’t work this one very hard.

Solve #8 – I didn’t develop this one very well.  Start at Brown’s Lake near Ft. Collins, search for a B-29 crash site in CO just west of FC.  There is one not far north of Estes Park but still outside of RMNP.  This one can be mostly driven to on FS roads but has to be walked to the last mile or so.

Solve #9 – Begin at Upper/Middle Geyser Basins, travel down the FH river canyon, turn around (Spanish verb for Brown) at the Firehole River Drive one-way sign, look around between the confluence of the FH river into the Madison and then up stream towards FH falls.

I admit all of my “solves” have holes in them.  This has been strictly arm chair stuff while I’ve been waiting for the snow to melt.  Remember, I only learned of the Chest Chase last December so have not had a chance to get out in the hills.  And, after a couple field trips, I hope I can get this out of my system.

And, finally, it has been nearly two weeks since I have read anything about Fenn’s treasure.  I think I have broken my addiction to the poem.  I think I’m back to my previous life again.

Ken S in Montana

Where Warm Waters Halt…

green

This is for a discussion about Where Warm Waters Halt. We’ve all got ideas that didn’t work out or we are willing to share…I think we can give folks just starting out some ideas for the kinds of places that might just be the place Where Warm Waters Halt…or not!

Let the discussion begin…

dal…

Scrapbook One Hundred Eighty Three…

scrapbook

APRIL 2017

Forrest Gist and the Waning of Art

There was this really good potter I used to know in Lubbock. Forrest Gist was his name, or Forest Gist, I don’t remember which so I’ll call him Forrest because I like that name better.

I had purchased one of his bowls from a store and gave it to my wife for her birthday. She liked it so much I thought it might be nice to get her another one for Christmas. (I hate that her birthday and Christmas are just 38 days apart).

So I went to see Forrest at a time when I knew he was firing about 30 pottery vessels in a large outdoor kiln. I arrived just in time to see him remove a still hot jar with a stick, look at it for a few seconds, then throw it on a cement sidewalk where it splattered. What th…?

I approached Forrest cautiously, not completely cognizant of his mindset, and remembering he had a hot stick in his hand. “Whatcha doin’, Forrest?” I asked respectively. He didn’t answer, but instead, threw another hot jar on the pavement. This went on a couple of more times before I decided to be rude to my friend.

“Stop, you idiot! I’ll buy some of those things from you.” He turned to me and politely said, “Look Forrest, I’m experimenting with a new glaze here, and that’s why I didn’t sign the pots in this firing. I want quality to be my signature, and if they don’t measure up to my standards I don’t want my name on them.” Gee, and I thought they were really good.

I helped Forrest clean up the mess caused by the demise of one kiln-worth of fired clay “Junkers.” And I had to admit that Forrest was the consummate artist. Although I didn’t agree completely with his quality control methods, I respected his philosophy.

What he had done prayed on my mind for a few days. I had already decided to be a world class bronze sculptor, and was sure my first two efforts were excellent platforms from which to launch my career.

What I lacked in talent could be compensated for in other ways. For instance, since I couldn’t get the hooves on my buffalo just right, I solved the problem by having him stand in mud. And my pilot self-portrait, well surely my talent would improve over time, maybe over a long time.

Going to Forrest Gist’s pot firings ruined my promising art career, so I decided to be an art dealer instead. The two bronzes remain in my collection to remind me to not to ever try that again.

Quality matters, and although no one should be allowed to set a standard for art, common-sense propriety must come into play at some point. My gallery purchased a drawing from a Yahoo artist for $15 because he wanted to buy a sandwich.

Over the next several years no one wanted to buy that sad sketch from us at any price.  One day Mr. Yahoo saw it in a storage drawer with a price of $15, and he became irate. He didn’t think we should be offering his early work because he had gotten better since then, and that sketch embarrassed him. When I offered to sell it back at my cost, he wasn’t interested. I’m sure he knew non-quality when he saw it. He should have thrown it in the fire years ago instead of bringing it to me.

My first impression of The Scream was that it should have been thrown in a spewing volcano. Never mind that not too long ago a pastel on cardboard version of it sold for about $120,000,000.00. Guess I don’t know as much about art values as I thought I did. f