Tell Me a Story…




This is a storytelling contest.  Anyone may enter. Please only one entry per person.


It’s been a long summer weekend. We have met-up to share our common interest in Forrest’s treasure hunt and to meet with those whose screen names have become familiar to us.  We have all been searching hard for the past three days in our secret spots. Although no one has found the treasure yet, we have all made new friends. We have spent the last two nights talking and telling stories around a campfire until midnight.

It’s 9pm now and dinner has been put away. We are gathered around our last campfire together. The evening is cool at 6,500 feet in the mountains north of Santa Fe. Some scoot closer to the glowing coals, others have hot chocolate, sweaters and blankets while the twosomes snuggle for a gentle warmth. Ten of us. Searchers all. It is our last evening together.

Although we all have different ideas about where to look for the chest during the day, at evening we gather to share stories about blazes and meek and Brown. We pass around our souvenirs from the hunt. Someone has an elk antler. An arrowhead found by the river has sharp edges that are translucent when held up to the fire.  An envious find.

The air is still. The smoke from our fire ascends straight up into the pine scented, star filled sky, lit by the waxing gibbous moon. A young, long-eared owl somewhere in the trees across the lake vocalizes hoping to attract a consort. Crickets fill the void from every direction. A lone loon echoes off the flat, clear water. A symphony with owl, cricket and loon.

Story time begins. The fire cracks and pops. Faces are lit by warm fluttering flames. Ten people, ten stories, rich and sweet and funny.

Now it is your turn. You want to entertain us with a story about the funny thing that happened to you on your search for Forrest’s treasure.

Make us laugh…


Funniest thing that happened on my search for Forrest’s treasure chest.

Up to 500 words. Less is fine.
Words only. No pictures or sounds or links.
Contest closes on August 10th, noon, Santa Fe time.

Submit your story as a comment at the bottom of this page.

We will select a winner because all contests have winners. I am hoping that we can all vote for our favorite story. But I am not sure how to do that yet. I will arrange something before the contest closes and post it here.

Forrest has generously offered to provide the prize. Click HERE to see it.

Other rules or ideas may occur. They will be posted as needed. Let the contest begin…





208 thoughts on “Tell Me a Story…

  1. 1
    Our cabin backed up to the Madison River in Montana. The yard light cast a soft yellow glow on everything and the river shushed me to sleep. I woke thirsty, so made my way to the kitchen. Coming back with a glass of water, I glanced out the big picture window, as I do each time I pass it. There, standing six feet tall, was a man looking in!
    I threw the water in the air, did a Mississippi two step to my cousin, Jim’s bedroom, and jumped in bed, screaming, “There’s a man at the window trying to get in!”
    Jim, still half asleep, looked up at the tall bedroom window. ” No! Not that one, the den window!” I screamed, pulling the covers off him.
    Moving slow, he rolled out of bed and reached for his jeans. He was moving too slow so I pushed him as he bent over and we both ended up on the floor. After a dirty look, he stood and walked to the end of the hall and peeked around the corner, he pulled back like a snake bit him.
    His wild eyes told me the burglar was still there!
    “Stay here.” He ordered. No problem. He came back with his rifle and peeked again.
    No sight of our boogie man. He lowered his rifle and stepped into the den. I followed close behind. Everything appeared normal, now.
    Jim went to the back door to make sure it was locked. As he reached for the knob, a man’s shadow appeared through the thin curtains of the door window and the door knob rattled! Jim backed up fast, knocking me on the floor, and he fell on top of me. We were all arms and legs as we both crawled back to the hallway.
    “Well,” Jim said, ” the doors are locked, he can’t get in. You try to sleep, and I’ll sit here incase he does.”
    That didn’t happen, though. I turned my lamp on and stayed petrified on my bed the rest of the night.
    When dawn came, Jim, the great protector, was stretched out on the floor, sound asleep. I nudged him with my toe and he jumped straight up, leaving the rifle on the floor, thank God. “Some guard, you are!” I shrieked, mad that he got rest while I cowered in bed all night, with the covers over my head, needing to potty.
    We dressed and went to the Café in the campground. Jim asked the owner/chef, Mike, if they had problems with burglars then we both proceeded to tell of last night’s adventure, at the same time.
    Mike listened, totally enraptured till Jim and I got to the door rattle part. Mikes face started turning red, then he started quivering, then his body did a spasmotic jerk and out burst the loudest roar of a laugh I ever heard! Tears rolled down his eyes and as he brushed them away, he apologized for the outburst.
    “Sorry, folks, didn’t mean to sound uncaring. That was our resident bear. He likes looking for food people leave out for him!” Mike explained, still dabbing his eyes.
    “A bear!” Jim exclaimed, as he turned to look at me, accusingly.
    “Hey,” I said defending myself, “I didn’t know!”.
    Our breakfast was free that morning. We ate our pancakes in silence as we heard Mike recant our story over and over again as hungry campers came in to eat.
    Needless to say, we stayed an additional four more days. We were having too much fun, but never saw the bear again.
    We did find a Grapette bottle in an old half buried trash pile. The adventure, and bottle will be treasured forever!
    ¥Peace¥ Donna

    • Donna, Love your story! As I was reading it though, I kept fearing the story would end tragically as another of all the accidental killings of acquaintances/relatives by well meaning but quick to draw family members who raise a firearm in fear only to end up shooting a would-be intruder that turns out to be a loved one. Seems like this is more often the case than an actual self-defense scenario, which is so sad.

      Not trying to be judgmental or stir up a whole gun rights debate. I am sure you were happy that your cousin had a rifle…just be careful.

      Glad to hear he was a snorer and not a borer! Glad it all worked out, and it is a great story!

        • I addressed your concern, Jim advised that it wasn’t loaded, shells in glovebox of truck! He didn’t want it stolen, so brought it in. I guess its a thing with guys, kind of like the remote, he had to hold something! Lol!

    • All I could think of while you told your very imaginatively told story is “ooooooooh Lucy!!!” LOL. You are an awesome story teller girl 😉

      I’m sort of wondering if Forrest didn’t sprinkle clues all around the hot spot locations for free trinkets …*lucky duck* I remember looking up one of the pop tops that he mentions in his book on ebay and was shocked at the completed auction price. He could have gotten rich with the trash of his youth.

      Again, great story Donna.

      • Lol! When I pulled crazy stunts as a kid, ( and teen), my mom would say I watched too much “Lucy”, but as a kid, I never knew what she was talking about!
        Thanks Stephanie, appreciate your attention!
        Be safe!

  2. Oops, alittle over 500, sorry, should have edited it a bit. Please still accept my submission. Thanks! ;). Donna

  3. for those of us that haven’t actually been on an excursion yet< can we pretend??? Dal???

    • James and SpecialKLR-
      If your story sounds plausible how would we know if it’s true or not? No fact checkers here at….
      Now…if your story involves live dinosaurs or aliens named Ralph from the planet Argolith…well I am not certain what the judges might think…

  4. 3
    Excerpt from
    “In the Wood”
    by Joe Watkins
    copyright 2013

    Somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe.

    We had walked right by the carving on the Aspen tree several times without noticing it. I was in mid-sentence when I suddenly stopped speaking and started pointing in a rather animated manner. My father’s eyes widened following the direction of my extended arm settling squarely on the intricately carved blaze: a cryptic symbol resembling a sideways delta or mountain above a very clearly carved 09. I am pretty certain that 09 is the year Forrest “secreted” his treasure and the date is why I found this blaze so compelling. (AT THE TIME OF THIS WRITING I BELIEVED 09 WAS THE RIGHT YEAR. SINCE THEN NEW EVIDENCE SUGGESTS A PURPOSFUL CONFUSION BY f TO KEEP FROM REVEALING THE EXACT YEAR HE HID THE TREASURE AND NOW I HAVE NO IDEA IF IT WAS 09 OR NOT.)

    My father had come with me to search for treasure and for all I knew he thought I was losing my mind. But he had been the first person other than my wife to whom I had revealed my interpretation of the poem. And his immediate reaction was to tell me that I had to go look. Initially I suspected that he just didn’t want me roaming around in the mountains by myself but over time his interest in the Fenn treasure became obviously genuine and I think he had come to enjoy the thrill of the chase as much as me. Besides, the whole treasure business clearly had a lot to do with Forrest and his father’s relationship. It would be very appropriate to find the treasure with my own father.

    This was my second search trip. On the first I was looking in what I ultimately concluded was the wrong creek. But on this trip I found what I still believe is possibly the creek referred to in the poem. It was early April; much of the creek was still frozen solid. We had been up and down the trail that followed the creek into the mountains for three days. When we noticed the blaze we discovered some renewed enthusiasm and began franticly searching. To our dismay we found the ground to also still be frozen. Digging was very difficult. Although he “never said it was buried” he never said it wasn’t.

    After exhausting ourselves physically in a madcap scramble to inspect every square inch of the area we resolved to go back to our hotel, rest up and return the next day with a metal detector. The frozen ground was too difficult to dig around in randomly. If we got a reading with the detector we could dig in specific spots, this seemed to be the most logical approach given the conditions.

    So we returned to the blaze armed with a rented metal detector and a few shovels. We started scanning the area around the tree. I thought that if this actually was Fenn’s blaze that the treasure would be buried right next to the creek beside the tree. And as we scanned the ground with the instrument it beeped loudly right in the spot I thought the treasure would be in. It was picking up something made of metal. Could it be an old bronze chest full of gold?

    Even when I first laid eyes on the blaze I really did not think this was the blaze. I suspected it might have been carved by another searcher, planted as a dummy to throw others off. Heck, though I had refrained from dirty tricks of this kind I had certainly entertained such thoughts. But most likely this was carved by a hiking club or family that visited in 09 and was probably completely unrelated to the Fenn treasure.

    On the other hand here was a blaze. And here was the only blaze I had yet found. And it was precisely where it should be if my interpretation was correct. And it was on an Aspen tree; Forrest had sent some pictures to Dal of carvings he had done on Aspen trees. Also, Aspen trees are known to guard ancient treasures.

    As we listened to the metal detector screaming at us that there was indeed buried metal right in this spot the excitement mounted. It was an edge-of-your-seat kind of feeling as we dug through frozen dirt, chipping away at it little by little. I started digging furiously until my shovel hit something metal. My dad and I looked at each other, both wide eyed and jaws dropped. I grabbed a smaller shovel and stabbed the dirt away from the metal that I could now see. It was dark metal. As I slowly removed the frozen dirt from around the object I suddenly recognized what I was looking at. I reached down and grabbed a hold of it and pulled up . . . a horseshoe.

    Letting the disappointment wash over us we took a few moments to gather ourselves. We continued to search the area thoroughly. Then digging in another spot where the detector was going off I pulled out an old beer can, the brand . . . Lucky.

    We had not found any treasure. All we had unearthed that day were a horseshoe and a Lucky brand beer can; the only thing that we had discovered is that the gods of luck have quite a sense of humor.

  5. 2
    Our search took us to a storm drain outside The Gusher in West Yellowstone during a snowstorm. We waited all day in order to sneak over there at night and tip up the storm drain to see if the chest could possible be inside. There’s a snowmobile expo going on so the town is full, so we set our alarms to get up in the middle of the night. We realized the night before, that these grates were just too heavy. So we ran into Bozeman and bought some chain and were planning on using my dads hydraulic wheelchair lift to pull it up.

    We go over to The Gusher trying to be as quiet as possible. All the sudden, this lady comes up to us at 4am crying with no coat on and asking to get in our truck that someone’s after her. So we get her in and I’m trying to calm her down. My husband and I just look at each other, like..this can’t be happening…she said she was telling this guy how she was an FBI agent and there were terrorists in the town and she was here to stop them. So she said that the guy was upset about it and threw her in the back of his truck. She escaped and hid in a snow bank till she saw us.

    I can’t lie….I had flashbacks to myself having one too many a time or two and take a few minutes to laugh at myself while I soberly tried to comfort her. We asked her where she was staying and she said the Three Bears. So we went over there and there was a cop there. We figured he had something to do with her and so I told her I was going to go talk to him. He said that the guy she was with(NOT her fiancée lol)….was just taking her home and even gave the cop her room key. I got her out and to the cop and we left. We figured our storm drain was a lost cause that night, but figured maybe if we get arrested for the storm drain during this trip, he will remember our good deed.

    When we got home, we unpacked the truck and found $160 strewn around the backseat and a book of stamps. The moral of this story: When you’re searching for treasure, look for drunk FBI agents in snowbanks and at least you’ll end up with gas money.

    • That is hilarious Stephanie! Gas these days costs a small fortune,,, And I love a story with a moral. 🙂

      My story (to follow) leans more toward ironic but I find most EVERYTHING associated with TTOTC to be funny, a clue or both.

    • That’s great Stephanie! Too bad the Gusher’s storm drain wasn’t gushing gold. Nice the Feds filled your tank though.

      • We talked about finding a way to give it back, but weren’t sure how to go about doing that…calling them and asking for the drunk fbi agent from the week before lol.

        Thanks you guys 😉

        Now that I’m not really searching…would be fun to do some media just for having some fun antics. I have video getting a tour of the back of Bullwinkles which was where the Totem Cafe was. We talked the barmaid into letting us go after I had a drink or two. Forrest was watching us on the camera they have live. I sent him the video later that I had of the sink area. At first the guy showed me the new sink area..then he found out it was for someone who worked there a long time ago. He took me over to this other corner to where that sink was. So that was fun.

  6. 4
    The continental breakfast was greatly welcomed in the motel in southern NM after traveling what seemed like endless hours through west Texas the previous day. Stopping only for gas, there was no time for a proper meal.

    On that morning an elderly gentleman sat at the table nearby. Beside him on the floor was the largest spotlight I had ever seen and what appeared to be a machete. He was, in fact, better equipped for treasure hunting than myself.

    The man explained that he had recently purchased part of a mining claim nearby and was in from Austin to do some prospecting. He then pulled out a necklace with various gemstones including turquoise and coral. He placed the necklace in the center of the table and asked, “What do you think? ”

    As I smiled at those familiar words, my travel partner and good friend Gwen snapped up the necklace and inspected it. With her discerning eye and outspoken manner she replied, “I hope you didn’t spend too much on that, dude,,, the clasp is broken!” And she promptly handed it back to him thus ending the encounter. (I have since developed a keen interest in minerology due in part to that necklace.)

    A short time later, as we loaded up, the old gent joined us again at our car. As he caught a glimpse of the back cover of my copy of TTOTC, which I clutched tightly to my chest, his face broke into a huge smile and, touching the photo of the treasure chest, he asked teasingly, “Did you write this? ” The words Fenn had written came to life in my mind and I grinned and answered, “No, but I like to think of it as my unauthorized autobiography.”

    Not knowing where we were going or why, the prospector’s final words to us as we drove away were, “I believe you girls are headed in the right direction.”

    I took this final exchange as an omen that I was on the right track. Needless to say, I found no beautiful bronze chest on that trip nor on my many subsequent searches. But hope and optimism, unlike common sense, spring eternal.

  7. 5
    Forrest’s father had given him a single shot .22 on their first day in West Yellowstone one year, and told him that he had to eat anything he shot, so be careful. Well Forrest was a pretty good shot, and soon had two fine squirrels. He gathered some firewood with Skippy and they had themselves a feast for lunch while their parents unloaded the car and prepared the cabin for summer.

    They were sitting around the coals wondering what the summer would hold, when they overheard their mother complain that someone must have borrowed the cabin’s cookware over the winter because they didn’t have any pots or pans. Forrest’s father grumbled that he was out of cash and it was Sunday so he couldn’t cash his paycheck. He’d have to go into town in the morning. It smelled like cold beans for dinner.

    Forrest looked at Skippy, and they were off like a shot. If they could save the day, it might get them out of a paddlin’ that they knew they would be deserving by summer’s end. They hopped on their bikes and rode into town. Being early in the season yet, everything was closing up early except West Yellowstone’s small but thriving Chinatown. They wandered into a store and gawked at all the imported goods, brightly colored spices, things with labels they couldn’t possibly understand. They eventually found what would pass for the kitchen department. The shop owner saw them eyeing some new pots and exclaimed “Yes! Yes! You like you buy!”

    Forrest and Skippy looked at each other with instant disappoint. They forgot they were broke. “We don’t have any money..” The shop owner’s smile disappeared “No money you go now!” Dejected, they walked outside. Forrest’s eye fell on the two squirrel pelts he had forgot he sat in his bike basket to cure.

    He grabbed the pelts, ran inside, and after some heated negotiations, walked proudly out of the store holding two well used but perfectly serviceable Chinese pans.

    Skippy looked at Forrest and said “you should write a book.” Forrest asked “But what would be the title?” Skippy grinned and said “Isn’t it obvious? ‘Two fur two wok’.”

    • My little brother used to fish the Arlington Race Track pond when he was a kid and catch giant carp and ride his little BMX bike to sell them to the Chinese restaurant for $5 lol. Reminded me of that story. So cute.

    • Love it, Tomwhat! That’ll be tough to beat. Darn.

      Quick, Dal. Think of another contest.

      Steph—-reminds me of a guy in a smart-looking suit who bought a carp/catfish freshly caught at Coon Rapids Dam and tossed it into the trunk of his very, very special black Mercedes.

      My bet? It was that night’s sushi at a swank restaurant in downtown Minneapolis.

    • Very funny Tomwhat! I laugh every time I think of your “punch line”. Thanks for sharing it!!

    • Tomwhat, that is really cool. We should have a page of made up stories using lines from the book and poem, just like this one! Great imagination! Is this classified as a searcher story?

      But I like this contest, you should use these and the poems in your book, Dal! Thanks, Donna

  8. I speak for a lot of us when I say it’s not enjoyable to hear you brag about how much fun you’re having. Please CUT TO THE CHASE and tell where you were and why.

    • Hmmm…Enthusiast-
      Did you forget to read the top of this page?…I am not certain what you are referring to…but funny stories are what this page is about…

    • That really looks like a nice area to camp and fish. The redneck in me is jealous and mad cause I didn’t received a invite. I hope their coffee taste horrible and the bears ran off with their beers 😉

  9. 6
    My first search was in West Yellowstone !!! We got to the spot that I had study over and over for a year!!! So you as a fellow treasure seeker knew no rock was going to be unturned !!! We searched the area looking for the blaze for some 3 hours !!! I was becoming extremely discourage, I kicked a huge boulder, to my surprise it was of heavy plastic and it was hollow it echoed when I kicked it!!!! OMG!! My heart skipped a beat , I found the treasure!!! When I pushed the dirt away here are about 8 tent steaks holding this huge boulder , my husband at this points wants nothing to do with tampering with anything on federal land. Mind you we are in the middle of a heavy bushed tree forest. No path for this girl, about a good 4 miles from the road. My husband is yelling @ me get away from that, you are going to get in serious trouble. No way was I letting this go, I had to walk back to the car , I couldn’t pull any of the steaks out of the ground , tearing up our trunk I find a tire iron, racing back to the boulder full steam, mind u I’m 50 something with an extra 50 pounds on my butt. This was no easy chore for sure, I was pink in the face, sweating and shaking , I just knew I found it, the steaks where about 24 inches, I pulled and tugged, with my husband yelling in the back round, first steak pops out , I get on the ground it won’t left far enough for me to see under, crap, I work on another, no easy task , second one pops out, I take the tire iron , forcing to see under , now I know why you need a flashlight I can’t see anything , omg! Heart racing. Hands shaking , I knew I had it, who else would put a huge plastic boulder in Yellow Stone but Mr Fenn, the third pops out, back on the ground, I see it a square box inthe middle , fourth pops out , my friends the first light hits under the boulder it is a box silver in color with iron looking snakes coming out of it, it’s an electric box running some of the cameras in the trees of Yellowstone , Yes , Uncle Sam is watching us..
    I completely freak out I just tampered with federal equipment . Running back to the car, dirty, sweating, huffing and a puffing, my husband races off . We get about 20 miles down the road, and here comes sirens behind us. I am completely freaking out, crying, and , my husband is furious with me. The trooper was very nice checked our ID’s and asked, what where you doing of course I said “LOOKING FOR FORREST FENN’S TREASURE” he just chuckled, we figured that what you where doing, we all had a good laugh watching you struggle . We just figured we keep watching and laughing, needless to say I didn’t find IT.

  10. I posted this story a year or so ago but I don’t remember where. If I had only told her the truth………Here’s my encounter with the crazy “hiker babe”.

    I was perched on a rock in a very remote location meticulously checking the canyon below with my binoculars. I had my camera set up on a tripod and spotting scope in an open case next to it. I’ve found over the years you can go just about anywhere (in the wilderness) with a fancy camera and no one will question why you are there. I guess it also makes you a nice guy because it seems everyone stops to chat.

    I hadn’t seen a soul for two days so I was a little startled to hear heavy foot steps coming up behind me. I turned to look and there she was trudging up the incline to where I was. She looked very fit and tanned in her hiking shorts and boots carrying a small back pack and water bottle. I figured she was thirty something, about the same age as my daughter.

    She was a friendly, talkative gal. We chatted about cameras and photography longer than I thought necessary to be friendly. It looked like she wasn’t going to shut up so I raised the binoculars up to my eyes saying I need to get back to it. Then she asked what I was looking for…….Several things went through my brain; a rare bird or animal, geologic formation, but then I thought I need to tell her something that would send her on her way, not encourage more conversation. So I told her I was looking for aliens; that should do it. She said, “You don’t look like a border patrol officer”. I said, “No not those aliens, I mean real aliens,” and pointed up to the sky.

    She let out a small gasp and her eyes got big. Then to my surprise she took off her back pack and started talking a blue streak about ancient aliens, the Hopi and star people, and on and on. I had no idea what she was talking about and knew I had made a big mistake. Not only did I not scare her off, she was moving in.

    I couldn’t get a word in edge wise so I just packed up my gear and started back down the trail to my truck. She grabbed her back pack and put it on without missing a word, following me down the trail. She must have asked a hundred questions, not giving me a chance to answer any of them………I’ve found women don’t ask questions to get an answer; they ask a question to inform you what they will be talking about next.

    We finally got to my truck; I stowed my gear, opened the door, rolled down the window, shut the door, and started my truck. That didn’t slow her down a bit, the woman had been talking non stop for nearly 40 minutes. I said, “OK…OK….I’m going to tell you the truth”. Her eyes sparkled and she leaned into the window and said, “OK tell me.” I told her I wasn’t looking for aliens, I was looking for a chest of gold an old artist guy from Santa Fe had hid out here somewhere. She wrinkled her brow and had a puzzled look on her face; then said, “There’s no such thing as buried treasure chests full of gold.”

    A few seconds pasted, then she got a big smile on her face and said, “You got a picture of the alien didn’t you”. At the same time reaching across to my camera saying, “let me see, let me see”. I grasped her arm firmly and pushed her back out the window. Then in a deep serious voice said, “OK you want the truth you’re going to get it.”

    I put on my dark M.I.B. glasses and pulled my hat down low; then looking her squarely in the face I said, “I work for the federal government, extraterrestrials exist, they are on this planet, and we think are close to this location. It is my job to find them. The government will use any means necessary to keep their secret. For your safety and the safety of those close to you this encounter never happened……Please step away from the vehicle.”

    She stepped away from the truck and I put it in gear and floored it; hoping to stir up enough dust so she didn’t get my tag number.

    What a tangled web we weave……

      • Thanks Carolyn, when I got home and told my wife, I thought she was going to bust a rib laughing. She still gives me a hard time about it telling her friends I can handle grizzly bears, rattle snakes, drug dealers, tornadoes, and blizzards, but those hiker babes freak me out…….

        She did kind of freak me out, the encounter was really weird. I’m lucky I didn’t end up strapped to a rock being sacrificed to the ancient alien gods.

        • Maybe you were and just don’t remember it. That’s what aliens do……zap your memory. 🙂 Perhaps you are in your after life.

    • Great story Goofy! I bet she had a great story to tell about meeting a REAL Federal agent searching for aliens! 🙂

          • Thanks Michael, I knew the length would disqualify me but I just couldn’t cut anything else and still get the story across……Which is odd for me, I’m not a wordy person.

          • Looks like Michael D. has lost interest in looking, and has become the word-cop.

            Perhaps a re-thinking by Dal is in order. Five hundred words makes it pretty tough to fit a good story in. (See Forrest, I also use prepositions to end a sentence with.) My vote is going to be for one of the longer-than-500-worders; sort of like voting for Anderson or Perot. Never gonna make a difference, but I will make a statement. Ha!!

        • Too funny! I liked Weird Al’s parody better than Lorde’s original song and it fits Goofy’s adventure so well! 🙂

    • Great story GOG. Loved how you blended in the aliens to boot.
      I couldn’t stop laughing, thanks = )

      Your name doesn’t fit you or do you justice!!!


    Last year around mid May I was sick and was checked into the hospital after an ER visit with some unknown wretched sudden stomach pain. What a way to spend summer, turning 40 and sick as ever making deals with God if you can be healthy enough to get at least 23 more years out of your 5 year marriage. Secretly, I felt almost selfish demanding to God “I’ll be pissed if I can’t get better fast to go look for Forrest Fenn’s treasure” especially since we had mid June plane tickets and vacation planned.

    About midnight on my third of four days I got a bright idea to walk around and ask the night nurses if I could go without all the meds they were pumping me full of while I waited to hear the verdict of what was causing the terrible pain. I had lost 20 pounds in the past 30 days and was sure of the worst news. At some point I stopped feeling sorry for myself and got mad enough to write some stuff on my hospital “goal board.” Get off medication A, B and C so I can go look for treasure. At that moment I had distain for the medical world. Can’t they figure out stomach pain without making me stop eating and drinking for 12 hours?

    Next day, I felt better getting of the meds and checked out of the hospital before knowing what was wrong with me. I got a call shortly after leaving that I had Hpylori and would be going through the prescribed Triple Therapy. I survived the horrible medication regimen and another unrelated not-to-mention surgery that summer. I was so weak that I had to take medical leave for 2 months and eat a liquid diet. I got really resourceful on YouTube and decided I needed to acquire Siberian Pinenut Oil from Russia, Matula Tea for South Africa and Manuka Honey from New Zealand to fully get rid of the bacteria. Looking back, this was just a way of passing time until I could travel to New Mexico to search again. I found the blogs and discussion board therapeutic during that time. The stories and comments made me laugh and feel hopeful.

    By September I was well enough to travel even though I was extremely anemic and started having heart palpitations once in a while. The day finally came when I was eating a liquid breakfast and geared up to go look. The excitement was only tempered by my lower energy. I navigated to the site by truck on badly worn out road with a brand new Toyota Tacoma, which was only known by the number of dashboard lights going that indicated bad things.

    I didn’t find anything out there but I sure enjoyed pushing life’s envelope with a few less concern for caution. High point was returning the truck to the dealership whose staff asked if I had flipped the truck. “NOT THIS TRIP,” I REPLIED.

  12. 8

    On Easter 2014 at Nine Mile Hole, I was looking around the bank of Madison, taking in the view. See tweet here for photo: I spotted a corner of something sticking vertically out of the mud. Thinking it might be trash, I pulled it out of the mud with the intention of throwing it away. Now in my hand, it looked like a bit like a hotel room key. I dipped it into the river to clean off the mud. It was a woman’s driver’s license from Washington state.

    I was on my way home, and stopped at a very small post office somewhere in Idaho to mail it back to the address on the license. I included a post card about fly fishing with my email address hoping she would receive it and let me know it made it safely.

    A few weeks later, the email came. She had recently moved from Washington (where her brother was living) to Boston. Her brother kindly forwarded her mail. She told me her guide had stopped her group at that spot during a December snowmobile excursion in Yellowstone. At the quiet peacefulness of that location, she had pulled her cell phone from her hip pocket to snap a few shots, and unknowingly lost her license to the snow in the same motion. She told me that in her mind she frequently returns to that spot.

    Of course she was very thankful to receive it even though she already applied for and received a new one. She was mostly relieved it had not ended up in the wrong hands for nefarious use.

  13. 9
    Three terminated scrapbooks ago I had a strange encounter. A usually agreeable animal with a white circular mane we call Dal circled the dark side of Yellowstone and returned as Dalminator. A native Montana recreator, and knowledgable about hiker babes and crazies, I threw down a warning to women – be careful if alone so you aren’t a victim of terminator.

    Dalminator reared, bared his teeth and scared the crap right out of me (HOB)! Accused of being a treasure-hater and afraid of becoming the next casualty of bloginator, I quickly deployed my bare-spray of words, and defended my turf. Dalminator stimulated that I become a fact communicator. So here you go Dalminator… Crazy Montana fact: The Unibomber was arrested in his shack exactly 1/2 mile from my family’s log home in the mountains. Ted, the people-hater had been there for years spying on our family and steeling necessary tools of his trade.

  14. 10
    I have not searched my area yet but my home research has been interesting…..As a Genealogist(search of family history), in order to find our ancestors sometimes we have to learn what was going on around them in their own time period and thinking Forrest’s favorite spot might be connected to something from the past. My son and i had been working on Forrest’s poem, i told him he needed to look at the history of the area he was searching. After a couple of weeks he called me one night and said…”Mom i’am not doing to well on solving the poem”….i ask why not? He told me he was having to much fun reading about the history of the area and was spending hours doing that instead of focusing on the poem! I smiled to myself, after all these years of trying to get him interested in reading and history.

    Now what makes this funny, is, he is in his mid 40s, full time job, married, two teenage daughters and always said….”Instead of reading a book, i’ll wait for the movie!” And all it took was a poem and “The Thrill Of The Chase” to get him going! Well done Mr. Fenn, well done!

  15. I had to laugh Cheryl your son sounds just like me. I would much rather visit an area with historical significance than read about it in a book.

    • Thank you JJ, he plans on going in August, he is a flatlander, i can’t picture him wandering around in the mountains! lol

  16. His wit and candor could light the night sky
    when campfires crackle and laughter is high.
    We’re asking you Forrest to pull up a log,
    join Dal, his bloggers and that Goofy old dog.
    Weave a story that leaves us in stitches,
    about a time you were just a lad in britches.

    PS: I know this isn’t the poetry page, but…
    Fenn tales are woven in many places,
    wouldn’t you like laughter to split our faces?

    • Nor, that was cute.
      I would LOVE to sit around a big fire, with ALL the chase crew and have Mr. Fenn tell us stories.
      Maybe the finder will throw a bonfire party and we can all get together for one last bender that would create some great memories to chew on when we get old…er.

      • Donna, great idea. If the TC is not found in Forrest’s lifetime, which is a strong possibility, it would still be fun to meet him and hear stories around the camp fire. When I was a kid, we enjoyed summer campfires with stories often. My grandfather could really weave a tale.

      • That sounds like a perfect end to the chase to me, Donna. Its been on my mind lately also. 🙂 Think of the place you want to do it if you are the winner. I have my place picked out.LOL

  17. Just a reminder that we have a story contest going on…
    Funny story about searching. 500 words or less.
    We have 11 entries right now.
    Don’t know what the prize will be but Forrest has generously offered to provide it.
    It probably won’t be a golden Thoth though…just guessing…

    Right now you can read the stories and comment on them and you have until the 10th of August to submit YOUR story if you haven’t done that yet.

    Once the contest is closed to entries on August 10th at noon, I will move all the stories to a new page where they can be easily found, read and voted on. Voting will be open for a few days and then we will announce the winner.

    Tell us a story!!

  18. 11
    I used to love to travel to Nepal. It was my way of “grounding myself”. With blonde hair and blue eyes I always had natives staring at me and those bold enough would run their hands through my hair. There is a lot to be said about travel. One can merely just get there, look around and leave, or totally immerse themselves in the experience of the trip. I say I have not traveled much in the USA, but only because I always had a need to get from A to B. TTOTC caught me. I was totally immersed in my search. I felt I was the female version of FF (Amelia Earhart) flying into the mountains and landing on a small grass strip. Jumping out of the plane and running past the cemetery to the river just as the old steam train was coming down the canyon. The wind was blowing its background music in rhythm to the waters bending over the rocks and to the trains clickety clack and whooo whooo’s that echoed off the canyon walls. I was surrounded by the wise old mountains (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Oxford and Columbia) telling me to take my time and see what I could find. I found a bridge with a 1908 sign with Thomas Ehrhart, Senator fading with age. I found an old Pontiac car lying on its side on the bank of the river now heavily covered in leaves. I found a headstone for school district #2. I saw a flying saucer cloud in the night sky and a snow angel wanting to cry and fill the valley with needed water. I had wild mule deer eating potato chips out of my hand (what the blazes is that!). It was hard to leave, but when I did, I decided to go to Brooklyn (Iowa that is) and mail a letter to FF with the flying Jenny collectors stamp (I hope he got it??). They even hand cancelled it with this really big ink stamp. I wonder if I wasn’t really born 7/24/1897 instead of 7/2/1956. I can’t wait for my next escape. Thank You FF for getting me out of my tiny cocoon and allowing the transformation to flutter by.

    And this really matters to no one but me.

    • I’ve heard that about Napal (and the way they drive!)

      That was quite a dynamic play on a really cool set!
      Loved it (especially the sound effects). = )
      Very clever jmbguidry.

      • Jmbg, very clever story!!! I can almost hear your sound effects. Hopefully I can sleep after the excitement.

  19. 12
    Tell you a story. When I was growing up, my mother if she suspicioned I was doing something wrong and she questioned me, would preface her question with, “Don’t tell me a story.” To her she was saying, don’t lie to me. Some things are too absurd to be true. You decide.

    Having four children is hard enough when you are in your own home and surroundings, but a camping trip with 4 kids, a little black dog, one disgruntled husband, and me ,treasure seeker extraordinary, is a challenge!!

    Having seen Mr. Fenn on the Today show, I decided this chase would be good for the family to do together……you know all that bonding your supposed to do on camping trips.

    Well we studied, shared information, disagreed, yelled, pouted, gave in and finally came to a consensus of opinion as to where we thought the treasure was hidden.
    This would be a onetime shot for us , so we had better enjoy this trip and make enough memories to last a lifetime , and oh yea, find the treasure chest.

    Everything packed in the car except the kitchen sink, we set our compass westward and of off we went driving into the unknown. That is how we Southern folks feel anytime we cross the Mason Dixon line or any other line.
    After a two day travel of hard driving, and the children peeing in milk cartons to not waste time, we all arrive at our destination, tired but excited.

    Our family is not the most well versed in techniques of “setting up camp” but we gave it our best shot and were finally ready for our first night’s sleep under the big sky.

    When on a trip, I’m not sure which has to pee more dogs, or children. Anyway, it was my little black schnauzers turn. She is very good about staying close, especially in strange places but I always walk with her and let her meander about. Finding the right spot is difficult sometimes. I have always wondered what scent she is sniffing to find.

    Thinking she should be back by this time, I started walking in the direction I thought she had gone, down a little slope. As I look up, I see her bounding up the hill. Something is different this time; she is acting a little strange. But as usual she leaps into my arms as she always does. As I hold her, I notice there is liquid running from her fur in front onto my shirt. She must have crossed a little creek down below while searching. As we walk back to the tent, I stroke her fur trying to calm her. She seems a little agitated. Schnauzers are high strung, as we all know.

    The kids were in the tent, playing games and disgruntled was reading. All storms are preceded by calm. As I approach, everybody comes bailing out of the tent, grabbing their noses. There are not enough adjectives to describe the scene that ensued. Gagging and flaying themselves about as though they had apoplexy; I’m wondering what the blank is going on? They are all staring at me and pointing at Bailey.

    Have you guessed what happened? Yes, Bailey got a full spray from an angry skunk on the front of her face and chest. One can only laugh at this, because people with Parkinson’s lose their sense of smell. I’m not sure who the joke is on me, my family or Bailey, but we laugh!

    • Really cute story BW. I could picture the whole thing!

      “That is how we Southern folks feel anytime we cross the Mason Dixon line or any other line.”

      So true indeed. Gotta luv us Sutherners !!!

  20. Worth the cold

    It was early July of 2014 and I had traveled to Yellowstone with my wife , we had our vacation planned for a long time but my wifes business trip to China overlapped a bit, we decided that I would pick her up from LAX and drive straight through. So the day I picked her up from los Angeles airport we drove straight from la to Yellowstone, 16 hours of the most beautiful scenic views but unfortunately ,if your passenger is sleeping the whole time this drive can be a bit boring. Anyway we were going to meet another couple and their three kids. These are some friends of ours who had left the day before who are also from California, they were picking up a motor home we all rented in Idaho falls.

    We had two camping spots side by side at Madison junction, rangers told us it was the best spots in camp, this was going to be a great 7 days, just as long as I didn’t mention the treasure. My wife hated it when I talked about the treasure. I wouldn’t say I was a fanatic about the treasure, supposedly I talk about it a lot – just really fascinated I guess. I had a bunch of theories but no one I was with was familiar with the story or believed me or thought it was real, even the kids 10-11 and 12 thought to make a joke about it to me when they could. Walking back from the restrooms the kids would ask if I found the treasure (haha) I spent the first three days showing everyone around since I had been to the Yellowstone area before so I had a little knowledge on where stuff was, I was able to show everyone the Firehole falls, Quake lake, and even Ojo Caliente while doing my search in secret and not having to mention the treasure.

    Well one day coming back from Yellowstone lake around 5 o’clock pm, mind you it doesn’t get dark till about 9:45 PM up there. I wanted to be dropped off at fountain flats, I had a hunch about fairy falls, so as my wife pulled over alongside the parking lot there I got out , well my buddy also wanted to go on this adventure so he got out and so did his three kids. I think my buddy let his kids go because he was most likely tired of them playing their video games and their little faces an inch away from their cell phones, even the ten year old Chris had his tiny face in his phone texting not even enjoying the trip. I know I certainly was tired of it. We had packs with water and jerky good for a short hike. I was a little weary because I knew I could get back to Madison junction by myself but not sure how the kids would fare on the hike. For being late in the day it was really hot.

    I took the five of us down the trail alongside the pools where we saw two big Elk, after snapping a thousand pics of the Elk we started down the fairy falls trail, after a bunch of mosquito bites we finally made it to the falls and looked around, an easy hike but seamed long. By this time I had the kids totally into the treasure even my buddy was thrilled about the chase. I explained to the kids what I was looking for so everyone was involved. We looked around a bit and after not finding the specific something I was looking for we all agreed to start back. This hike to and from the falls was fun but man was it hot. As we hit the fountain flats road I suggested we turn left and take the trail to what I thought was the way to Ojo Caliente, from there I was pretty sure it was close to camp. We hiked down this trail which seemed like forever, I mean forever, the sun baking on my face( note to self bring sun block next time)by this time it was reaching close to 8 o’clock, I was getting a little worried only because we didn’t have cell

    service , no way to reach our wives back at camp and I knew by this time they must be getting worried. The sun was getting lower. It seemed like we walked and walked down that trail with not another person in sight. There were signs about Grizzlies but my biggest fear was another mosquito bite, the blisters forming on my feet and of course our wives. I really started to second guess myself on taking this stupid trail, I knew it would take us to Ojo Caliente or at least I thought so but because I’ve never been on this trail and there was no sign that said Ojo Caliente I had my doubts. I was about to suggest we turn back from that trail to the original drop off spot, when all of sudden the most beautiful girl was coming in the other direction on a bicycle( sweet I thought ) I motioned the girl to stop and I asked her where this road went and how much farther is it to the end , she replied in the coolest Scottish accent that she didn’t know the name of the spot from which she started but it ended at a parking lot , she said she wasn’t really good with distance but thought we had maybe another two miles to go- that was okay with us because at least we knew we were going where there were people. By this time I’m guessing we’ve walked close to about 5 miles in total. The kids are showing a little fatigue but still up for the chase. We could see steam and a river in the distance and the kids were occupying themselves by looking for animal tracks in the dirt. We walked another mile or so to see that there was a fork in the trail, my friend gave me that look like Stan and Laurel Hardy (another fine mess you’ve gotten me into)okay do we stay straight or take a lefty after a quick discussion and looking at the trail dirt most traveled we decided to continue straight. After another 10 to 15 minutes walking we could see the bridge at Ojo Caliente( hooray we’ve made it) the kids wanted to stop and get in the river here although it would have been nice we needed to keep going. What I wasn’t aware of and if you are familiar with this area we were still 4 miles away from camp at Madison junction. We walked down freight road attempting to hitch a ride at least for one of us and the kids. Now it is about 8:30-9:00 we have maybe twenty-thirty minutes left of light. Because we were on the main road I knew we were going to be alright but I also knew our wives were going to be super worried and upset and at this rate it will be midnight by the time we get back. We continued to hang our thumbs up in the air in the hopes somebody would pull over and give us a lift, it seemed like people went out of their way or accelerated past us to not pick us up. My buddy was stressing out a little and complaining of blisters on this feet and the impending doom from his worrying wife. I had thoughts of us having to hunker down for the night when I couldn’t believe my eyes a large motor home pulled over where there was no room to pull over and I mean a really large motor home, stopping traffic as to make a point of it and offered us a ride back to camp, to our amazement it was the girl with the great Scottish accent that was on that bicycle, after thanking this girl over and over we had her drop us off at the ranger amphitheater at the Juction so we could triumphantly walk back to camp.

    As we walked up to camp we realized that no one was there, what we didn’t know was that our wives were at the ranger station, they had reporting us missing hours earlier. At first the rangers suggested to our wives to stop at all the turnouts, the idea being we were going to follow the River back to camp, but after two hours doing this and our wives pulling their hair out, they went back to the same ranger station and reported that we were still gone. When the rangers tried calling the other ranger station near where our wives said we were , there was no answer, at this time the ranger called 911. They were issuing an all out search for us, my wife came back to camp with my buddies wife to locate pictures of us. This is when they laid their eyes on us, dirty , tired , sun burnt , there was a shout of joy then tears,

    then it quickly turned to yelling, mike and your stupid treasure, blah blah blah. I was getting it from both of them, how could I be so reckless, how could I put these kids in danger, why were we gone so long ,why didn’t we call etc ,etc then again I heard it “your stupid treasure”. After the yelling there was a period of silence , nobody was talking, about this time the rangers pulled up and wanted to talk to myself and my buddy on our adventure. Just don’t mention the treasure to them I said.

    When everything settled down and the realization set in that everyone was safe we all gathered around the campfire fire. It was myself (the ring leader) my buddy , our wives and the three children, I was again told by my wife what we did was stupid and careless, my buddies wife stared at me with eyes that could out stare a grizzly, I was taking it all in , nodding my head to what they were saying as well as listening to the wood pop in the fire when out of nowhere the youngest, 10 year old little Chris yelled out as if a bee stung him, yelled out loud that he had so much fun and it was the best time he has ever had anywhere , anytime and that he wanted to search for the treasure again somewhere else tomorrow- for a minute I could see the smile on my buddies face and the look of joy on our wives faces that for this little boy it was worth the cold. That It was not a video game or a cell phone but the adventure, the wonder, the what if, that uplifted this kids spirit ,it was the thrill of the chase for this little boy it was the reason why we should all stop and smell the flowers or turn over a rock once in awile and for a minute I was out of trouble……………………. but only for a minute. J

    • Awesome story Mike. I know the feeling of being out there on really long hikes late in the day with little light left after the sun’s gone down. But I’d still second the little one’s enthusiasm to do it again! Thanks for sharing with us. Happy hunting ; )

    • Enjoyed the story Mike, I don’t know how many folks I’ve picked up after they misunderestimate a hike. You would have thought my rough riding truck bed was a Mercedes limo from the looks on their faces.

      Chris gets it, that feeling is what it’s all about. So many don’t understand that.

    • Mike-
      Good read, great ending. Funny because I bet most of us can relate to “your stupid treasure”. More to come-Thank you.

  21. 51
    Jenny, wake up, we are going on a treasure hunt to XXX? Well, that was at 7 a.m. on Good Friday of last year. Rubbing her eyes, my 23 year old was a bit baffled, but took quick to the task of packing for our 11a.m. flight to somewhere west of Toledo. The prior night before bed, I asked my parents to give me a sign from above if I should go on the hunt. Well, they surely did, I awoke at 3:33 a.m., which is a special number to me. There are nine siblings in my family, 3 girls, 3 boys, and 3 girls. Thanks Mom and Dad, you sent me to the wrong place, I forgive you this time, but can you send the coordinates on the clock this time?
    So after a full day of travel, rental car, long drive in the darkness up the mountains in XXX, we checked into our hotel. When we checked in, the desk attendant said my husband had already checked into our room. I was shocked, as he was headed to Europe at the same time, and thought, wow, he must have taken another flight to surprise us. So without giving us a key, thank God, she told us what room to go to, and we knocked on the door. Well, after we heard more than one voice say can I help you, and a man in his robe answer the door, clearly that wasn’t my husband, because if it was he clearly would have been in a heap of trouble. We returned to front desk, again, she directed us to another room, knock knock, surprise, not my husband again, and another man in a robe. Now this is really getting weirder by the minute, so back to the front desk, and I said there has to be some mistake, my husband was flying to Paris, and she finally called the room, and realized she checked in someone else with a similar name to our room. Finally after all that she upgraded us to the Egypt room, my daughter and I walked into a room with a sarcophagus and a phoenix rising from the ashes painted above the bed. It was too surreal because of the reason we were in xxx.
    I wanted to go to the location at night, so we got in the car and drove through Forrest’s Forrest, hairpin turns, creatures running across the road, and not a soul in sight. Thankfully my daughter had a map on her phone and she could tell me when to slow down for the many curves on the road. She was getting nervous, but I told her Don’t Give Up On Me Now, or the poor girl, what was her Mom getting her into?
    Well, after that failed attempt, we went back to the hotel, and then I started to worry how I was going to drive back out of the mountains, and what in the world was I doing halfway across the country on a whim and a prayer? At least at night you have no idea of how close you are to the cliffs and the height of the mountains. I thought that maybe I could call a car service to come pick us up, I was that nervous. Finally I settled down and went to bed with all the animals howling outside. Thankfully at daybreak, I realized it wasn’t so bad, we checked out our spot again, and headed back to the airport. And what a story we had to tell on Easter Sunday.

  22. I had slept eight hours in the last three days. It was perfect. I had solved it! At work the next morning, I appealed to my boss’s sense of obsession by reminding him that it was much like his football obsession. This was my 2007 Fiesta Bowl. 7 seconds left on the clock. The score is 41-42 in favor of Oklahoma. Boise State lines up to go for the 2 point conversion to win the game, after a miracle touchdown. In a trick play known as the statue of liberty, the quarterback fakes the pass and hands the ball off behind his back to the running back…who trots into the endzone for the win of the decade. This was my Fiesta Bowl. I NEEDED the rest of the week off to go get the treasure chest!! I was positive I knew where it was. The rest of the crew chastised me, until my boss jumped to my defense! “It’s no different than you going elk hunting, or you going fishing, It’s his hobby…. Good luck.” So thirty minutes later I had my Ford loaded to the gills with gear and beer. By 8 pm that night, I was at my destination. The sun was just about to disappear behind the warm hue of the sandstone cliffs. I held myself against my will inside the car that night. I wanted to go search right then, but knew the daylight was all but gone. Before dawn the next morning I was munching on granola bars while hoofing it to the waterfall I needed to rappel down in order to retrieve the chest. I had my 200 feet rope, a harness, and a one hour rappelling lesson. My heart raced as I approached the precipice. Due to the rounded nature of the sandstone cliff, I was unable to view my destination from the top. So I tied a triple square knot on the nearest Juniper that could hold my weight, and began to lower myself down the rounded edge of the water- carved sandstone. At about a fifty degree angle, with the rope and harness the only things keeping me from plummeting 140 feet to my death, a thought occurred to me. Would a 79-80 year old man carrying 22 lbs do this? If he did….how did he get back up? How am I going to get back up? So after a careful survey of the ground below, and the backside of what I now know is Horse Collar Arch, I pulled myself back to the top of the falls, and sat down to ponder the power of the Thrill of the Chase. I had convinced myself I was right to the point I was about to earn a “cat ass trophy” for stupidity. My Grandpa used to say, “ I cut the darn thing twice, and it’s STILL too short!” I think I finally get what he meant by that. From now on, I’ll measure twice, and cut once.

    Michael D

    • Michael D, quite the adventure – must have been prior to Mr. Fenn telling searchers no rappelling was necessary. Does the chase still have you by the tail, or did you just weave us another tale?

    • Too much wine and dine for nor tonight Michael, I’m starting to see your Oklahoma football scores as if they are map squaresYikes.

  23. First – I would like to say – It’s a pleasure to meet all of you.
    I have heard your names for months and I have come to know many of you by your stories and your ideas. I would also like to say that my wonderful wife is of like mind with so many of you…. I feel that all of us are family.
    I hope you will allow me the latitude to tell you about our drive up here. I understand that I am a new name here but I feel I need to share.
    “Where did you put the batteries?” She was digging through the gear in the back of the van.

    “What batteries?”

    “The batteries for the flashlight!” I heard her open another bag.”Mr. Fenn said we need a sandwich and a flashlight to find it!”

    I heard a clatter. “Honey? Those are my fishing poles. Stay out of there? Please? Is there a special sandwich we need to find?” I was hoping this question would distract her.

    “GRILLED PIMENTO AND CHEESE! I have told you that!”

    I knew at that point what I had done – I had married a crazy person.

    “I don’t think they’ll have that at the Flying J. Do you know how to make one, Sweetie?”

    “OF COURSE I KNOW HOW TO MAKE ONE! It told me what the Brown Home is!” her voice started to raise again.

    “Love? How did a sandwich tell you about someone’s house?”

    “It’s HOME NOT HOUSE! They were only served at a ONE restaurant. From there I looked on the map and the person that built the cabin there was Mr. James MEEK.” She hopped back into the front seat with a frustrated huff.

    “Don’t you have to put it in something? How are you going to put a sandwich under a cabin?” I could not WAIT for this answer…

    “I’m not. I’m going to use my thumb.” Her matter of fact answer left me stunned.

    “You’re going to thumb the cabin? Did the sandwich tell you that too?”

    “No! Then we’re going to look for the hole on Thumb road, and then we’re going to use – THE BLAZE – to find the treasure. That’s why I need batteries.”

    “And what happens if we don’t find it?”

    “We will find it. I’ve read TTOTC 14 times and TFTW 11. And if we don’t? This isn’t about the treasure. This is about the adventure we are going to have.”

    I was not going to ask anything else for fear of loosing the rest of her sanity…. we drive the last hour here in silence.
    We searched all day today and since we are all gathered here I have seen a miraculous change occur. She’s back to normal. She’s once again speaking coherently and I can only attribute that to all of you. Thank you.

    Tomorrow? I hope she will still be sane because I really would like to go fishing.

  24. My Poem Is My Story……..


    I sat with my brother, it was quarter to ten
    A coffee shop bookstore, our meeting with Fenn

    In came a man, yes this might be him
    The hat seemed right and from the side did the grin

    Got up from the table, the time had come
    But as I got closer I had question some

    Hello to the man, “my name is Tom”
    He smiled at me, what had I done?

    And then I remembered the scant and tarry
    As the man said hello, my name is Larry

    It wasn’t the man we had come to meet
    But my day was made by such a greet

    He didn’t care and he didn’t know
    But was rather happy at the kind hello

    Perhaps the treasure isn’t really gold
    But more important the greetings told

    And Forrest kept his word and mine
    At ten o’clock he was right on time

    This time I knew that I was right
    No doubt it was Forrest, such and obvious sight

    Excited I was but remained very calm
    As Forrest said “hi, you must be Tom”

    I’ll always remember the moments you see
    As it wasn’t just Forrest, my brother and me

    For the rest of my life this moment will carry
    Equally now, I’ll remember Larry

    • Very nice poem Tom. How wonderful you had the opportunity to meet Forrest in person. I’m sure you’ll always treasure your memory of that day ; )

    • Very nice calming poem Tom, and easy to understand. Whew, some of these other stories have my head spinning with nary a clue.

  25. 18
    If my husband had an Indian name I’m convinced it would be Charging Bull. He’s a mountain of a man, about 6′ 7″ with his boots on and when he’s focused on something it’s full throttle all the way and boy watch out because he’s coming through. You have to watch out for yourself, swinging branches, downed trees, elk/buffalo poop and all that stuff ya know. He’s sharp as a tack and I’d closely liken him to a male counterpart of digginGypsy but on steroids.

    Once on the trails to sneak in a breather; I’d tease him by saying in my deepest voice, “You sure be a burly man there me matey!” He’d play along putting on his best pirate face and broke out in a piratey kind o dance and song that would make Dal proud for sure. ; ) Then it’s abruptly silent and back to full throttle.

    For me though it puts on a whole new perspective to the Buck Owens’ song “I’ve gotta Tiger by the Tale” because I’m holding on flying behind as fast as my little legs will go. I’m usually trailing behind by at least 50 to 100 feet or so; kinda like the difference between a single engine Cessna to a Jumbo Jet. I give it all I’ve got, but it will never measure up. Guess it’s a good thing I’ve got a bit of a full throttle attitude too = ) or I’d still be up on those mountain tops all alone, cold, dirty, soaked and hungry. But I digress…

    Full speed ahead because we’re racing against the sun going down, several miles in we get to a lovely little spot and begin to cross a narrow rocky river about knee deep or so. He’s leading the way crossing over and to his credit he does slow down just a tad to look for a more suitable spot for me to step since I’m half as tall and lighter than he is, when all of a sudden that mountain slips on a slick rock and down he splashes onto all fours into that beautiful cold rushing river.

    He quickly looks up at me with the coldest look you can imagine and I lost it. That brave charging bull valiantly spurts out….Are You Laughing at Me???

    Why yes, yes I am my quick burly man, I am.
    Some people call it karma, that time I called it funny.

    Needless to say life’s never dull; it never slows down long enough for it to be. But after a long day on the trails he does take pity and slows his pace a bit for me to catch up and he’ll even stop for a break to take notice of the tiniest of creatures to admire on our way back. On one such occasion, hoping to extend my brief respite, I looked down on the trail that had recently begun to thaw out and spotted a round mat of something an inch away from my foot. It was about five inches in diameter.

    He looked at me and I took the end of my walking stick gently tipping it up to take a peek underneath and said, Ohh Honey look, it’s a little nest for one of those cute tiny ground squirrels. He starred at me and said in a deep dead pan voice, “That’s not a nest”. I said yeah you’re right there’s no trace of a little animal…he said, “not quite.”

    I said well, what do you mean? what is it then? He said, “you don’t want to know, breaks over let’s keep moving” as he walks away. Well my curiosity got the best of me and I begged him to tell me what it was. Finally he gives in and tells me, “it’s a hairball”. Hairball I said. “Yes, it’s a hairball” he says back to me while totally unaffected by it all.

    H A I R B A L L ??!! as I’m clutching my bear spray looking far in every direction through the tall trees as fast as I can while picking up the pace behind him. “Calm down! It’s no big deal; see that’s why I didn’t want to tell you.” Boy, that trailhead never looked sweeter to me I tell you, it was almost as gratifying as that long hot shower I took to reward myself with when I got back.

    • Starlight, Wow, I step out for an evening and miss some wild stories! Of course, after a 1/2 glass of wine I have no clue what you just described. Was the hairball a grave? I’m reconsidering that earlier posed question about giving up posting to find out if your solve was correct, or something like that.

      • No graveyard Nor, it was much worse than that!

        It appears that a bear coughed up a big nasty fur ball. It was actually on the trail. A ways down from there was a pile of what appeared to be bear poo, also on the trail.

        My husband tried to convince me that it was just thawed out from last year. I wasn’t buying it though.

        • Starlight, never thought I’d be saying I was glad it was a close encounter with a bear! Is your story an ‘airball’ or tohappen? sounds like portions of my life and I’ve got a bit of a full throttle attitude too; more like a hidden will of iron to get my way:) good evening star.

          • No, it really happened that way. I did combine two separate hiking trips into one though ; )

      • Good Morning all. Starlight thanks for a terrific laugh at Buck Owens, and especially for Mrs. Kennedy’s interview.. What a gracious lady, and example to others.

      • Thank you BW and swan. Yah I agree BW just very thankful I didn’t actually run into that bear…lol.

  26. 19
    We had our final solve in hand, stopped for lattes and headed to our search area. It had taken us a little over a year to close in on it and along the way had seen some spectacular country. Our search area was not too far off the road and not far from the visitor’s center. We figured just like ff to hide TC practically in plain sight. So we are looking for TC just off the road in a small drainage area filled with giant tumbleweed and not really paying attention to anyone around us. Hey when you are obsessed nothing else really matters, right?! I was on one side of the footbridge and Hubby was on the other tossing tumbleweed as he went. All of a sudden I see a guy crossing the footbridge and I duck under some tumbleweed so he doesn’t see me. My Hubby was not so lucky and the guy asked him “So you got the short end of the stick, huh?” and Hubby says something like “You have no idea!” I think the guy thought he was a park worker clearing the drainage.

    So we look for a little bit longer and it was getting hot so I go up to the car to get a drink of water. The guy, who was wearing an orange shirt, was standing next to his jeep in the parking lot. I know he hadn’t seen me earlier so I got some water and I waited to go back to look. But he wasn’t leaving so I wandered off onto the trail so as not to look too obvious. While I walked the trail I could see tumbleweed flying into the air. What an interesting phenomenon that was! I came back to the parking lot and orange shirt was still there. He finally got into his jeep and started it and drove about half way around the parking lot and re-parked his jeep. He seemed very suspicious! Another searcher waiting for us to leave so that he could look? He finally left but did he watch from a distance and return after we left? Who knows but the TC has still not been found according to ff. I still BELIEVE that the TC will be found in Colorado, my state of choice.

  27. I sat down on a comfortably rounded boulder, which was surprisingly cool as I recall, considering it was 100 degrees in the shade. I sipped from the warm waters of my canteen, as I oriented the Red Canyon quadrangle map to true North. “What a view.” I whispered to myself, as I gazed into the horizon, losing myself for a moment in the splendor of the setting sun’s canvas.

    My map and compass said I had to be close, and I had refused to use a GPS since the “Deadwood Incident”, so I was relying on my rusty mountaineering skills to find my way to the blaze. I hated to leave that boulder, but a great discovery awaited me, so I gathered my strength and mounted my headlamp to the bill of my Boise State University baseball cap, which I wear to support the football team…(wearing a baseball cap to support a football team seems silly in writing…) and made my way toward my goal. After what seemed like a long time, but in reality was only about ten minutes, I came across the draw I was searching for.

    As I marveled at the canyon laid out before me, I reached for my water, but it was gone. I quickly checked my backpack…nothing. Then it dawned on me that I had left my canteen in the shade of the trees by the boulder I sat on. Deciding I had come too far to go back for the water, I pressed on down the canyon. After an intense search yielded the discovery of a cave, some petroglyphs, and an old mining camp dump site, I headed back for my truck, following the animal trail I came in on, so I could retrieve my canteen.

    As I tried to turn my head to illuminate the trail in front of me just right, I caught the movement of something very large in front of me. It was a huge owl, swooping down on a mouse or some other unfortunate rodent. I was still measuring my good fortune for the day when my headlamp caught the glint of my canteen up the trail.

    It first caught my eye when I bent down to pick up my canteen. My mind didn’t even register it at first. Mid-stride it hit me and I froze in my tracks and did an about face. I knelt down and pulled away the tall grass from behind the boulder I had been sitting on earlier that day. There, neatly inscribed on the back of that boulder in three inch tall capitals, were the letters FBF.

    My forehead immediately broke into a sweat. My head began to spin, and my knees turned to jelly. I knelt down and stared at my surroundings and that large brown boulder. All around me there were boulders of similar size, deposited by some prehistoric flood or something…but this boulder was different. Perfectly placed under the shade of a large pinon pine, near a spectacular vista, and shaped perfectly to fit a derrière. I tested the soil with a spade at the base of the boulder and it was all extremely hardpanned and firm, indicating to me no digging had been done recently.

    As I pondered my options and observed the rock, I determined I could probably get my truck to this spot in four wheel drive, and use my winch to loosen the boulder from the grip of the desert. I shined my headlamp, which was now in my hand, onto the letters emblazoned on that stone, and moved within inches of them with my eyes. They looked perfect. They looked…molded. I rapped my knife handle on the boulder, which reverberated like a muffled bell! After budging the boulder ever so slightly with my most mighty human effort, I pried at the edges with my shovel, using a smaller boulder under the handle, as a fulcrum.

    All of a sudden, my shovel disappeared into the stone! What had really happened was my spade hade slid underneath what was a false rock, made of BRONZE!! Imagine an inverted salad bowl sitting on your kitchen counter with your wedding ring sitting underneath it. Forrest had created a bronze sculpture of a boulder and applied a patina that blended perfectly with the field of boulders he had chosen as his secret hiding spot. He had even shaped it so it would be inviting to sit on, but placed it where the average person would never venture. Not particularly difficult to get to, but WAY off the beaten path.

    The contents of the chest were beyond description, and too numerous to mention, so I’ll refrain from trying. Suffice to say my dreams do not do it justice. After about nine hours and two sets of headlamp batteries, dawn began to break.

    After getting the chest safely to my truck I decided to attempt to retrieve the bronze boulder. I estimated the bronze to weigh about two hundred pounds. I could get it into my truck using a come along and a piece of 1 inch plywood I often used as a motorcycle ramp. As I approached the area where I knew the boulder to be, it was gone!! I quickly deduced there was some strange goins ons around here, and I was gonna make like a tree and leave. “The chest is proof enough” I thought, as I reached below my seat to feel its cold and marvel.

    I felt nothing. As I stretched further in order to extend my reach, I lost control of my truck and bumped my head hard on the headboard. I had jarred awake so violently that I had bumped my head on the headboard! It was all a dream. It has always been a dream. It most likely will remain a dream.

    But what if…..

    Michael D

      • Story one, now story two.
        Oh, that is one too much for you.
        Read ALL the guidelines Michael D
        Read them; read them; you will see

        You do not get a second chance
        You do not get a second dance
        You do not get one here or there
        You do not get one anywhere.
        You do not get a second try
        You do not get one here “big guy” (meant affectionately )

        Perhaps you take your second post
        And place it elsewhere
        Share your boast

        For many of us love your writing
        Thrilling tales
        They’re so inviting

        But of Dal’s rules
        We all must follow
        With chin held high
        We must not wallow

  28. Great story! I know what it feels like to be in a dream that seems so real! May be out of touch for a while. Moving this week.

  29. My entry is LESS than 500 words long….rules you know…but my second one is a story just for my friends to enjoy….longer than 500 words, like some other stories told here, so not eligible for the contest. I have another story to tell as well.. The Deadwood Incident….but perhaps I should save the blog space for others…..

  30. The Deadwood Incident

    Every August for the last four years my job has taken me to Deadwood Reservoir to spawn Kokanee Salmon for the over six million eggs requested by various Biologists all over the state. Five people spawn every day for three weeks straight (not including weekends) from 8 AM to 2PM…reserving the last two hours to package the eggs and drive them to a remote landing strip carved out of the timbered mountainside. The plane can carry six coolers, each one with nearly 100,000 eggs inside. Keep in mind that the average length of these fish is under ten inches, and female fecundities are about 250 eggs. This means we must handle at least twenty-four hundred ripe females and eight hundred ripe males per day to fill a flight. Typically, one in four female fish are ripe, which means we must handle well over eleven thousand fish per spawn day to fill a plane. That means all five people must handle seven fish per minute for six hours. By five or six in the evening, we are off work, and free to enjoy the wonder of one of the most beautiful places in Idaho.

    My co-worker wanted to go to the fishing hole I had told him about, but my buddy had told me of a spot frequented by prehistoric Native Americans that was uncovered in low water years. 2013 was the lowest water year since 1995.So I gave my co-workers good directions, and I programmed my GPS for the coordinates my friend had given me, and set off for the Northwestern corner of the Reservoir. I spent at least an hour of my precious daylight staring at the screen of my GPS unit as I homed in on the mother lode of projectile points that awaited me. When I arrived I immediately found several large chips of jet black obsidian. I searched until it was too dark, finding a handful of chips, but no points. I followed my GPS back to the truck and drove back to camp, very disappointed.

    When I arrived in camp, everyone was gathered around the table, heads all bowed, as if in prayer. When I approached the table, I realized they were all looking at an object that was lying on the table. The co-worker I had given directions to had gone fishing. He had caught a beautiful 22 inch cutthroat trout! As I admired his catch, he began to tell me the story he had obviously already shared with everyone else. It was your typical big fish story until he bent down to remove the hook from the fish. There, lying in the mud only inches from the tip of his left boot, was a perfectly formed prehistoric knife! It was made of the same jet black obsidian I had found chips of over two miles away. I was a beautiful thing. I think I was the only one of the group that realized what I was looking at. The guy that found it had little appreciation for what he had found. I offered to trade him my shotgun for it on the spot, and after hesitating enough to give me hope, he declined.

    I sent photos to Forrest asking his opinion about the obsidian point. Was it a spear point or a knife? What was it made of? How old do you think it is? Forrest shared his knowledge with me, confirming my less experienced opinion that it was an obsidian knife, perhaps up to 5000 years old! I coveted that thing, and still do, to no avail! And because I HAD to blame someone or something besides myself, I chose my stupid GPS! I vowed to never use that fowl machine again! After all, people have been finding their way for eons without GPS!

    So if I had taken my friend fishing instead of telling him where to go, perhaps I would be the one holding that precious piece of stone. And that is why I refuse to use the GPS, and how this came to be known as the Deadwood Incident.

    • Fantastic story it just proves how luck can make or brake you. It’s all part of life…has anyone else felt like there is something spiritual about the chase. Good luck md.

    • I’m glad you didn’t save the blog space MichaelD. That’s a great tale…I like how the knife may be 5,000 years old..Can you imagine someone finding a working shotgun laying around in the dirt 5,000 years from now?

  31. Only 10 days left in the storytelling contest…
    Then voting begins..
    So get your story posted…you might win the prize…donated by Forrest..
    Better chances of winning this contest than the Lotto 🙂

  32. 20
    I tried everything, logic, metaphysics, numerology and illogic. I couldn’t get my answers to the clues. Until one night I had a hard time going to sleep because of visions of solutions going through my mind. Armed with the best of all approaches, I could confidently start my search at the only possible WWWH. Wending my way down the canyon and past the home of Brown I put in the most picturesque creek I have ever seen. Nothing but heavy loads and pools of water cascading down. Then all of a sudden there it was the most perfect and obvious blaze. Panting for air and heart pounding I looked down and there it was, in all its glory and splendor, the bronze chest.

    It was heavy, but I scooped it up in my pack and I quickly split the scene. As I hastened back to my truck my heart was causing pain, I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t call out for help. I fell on the trail and breathed my last breath.

    The next thing I knew or saw was that beautiful gate with a man wearing a white robe and had a handsome white beard. He said his name was Peter and he was welcoming me into heaven. I was still clutching the bronze chest. Peter told me I couldn’t bring that in with me. After explaining how important it was to me, all the hours spent researching and searching. Plus all the miles driven and dollars spent. He agreed to go ask if I could get an exception on my important treasure chest. When he came back, he said because it was so important to me they would let me take it in.

    It was a beautiful and nice place. Everyone there started to gather around and welcome me. They were most curious about my chest, so I showed it to them. As they each peered in, a perplexed look came over their faces. I asked them, “Why?” Finally one of them said, “Pavement?” That was when I woke up.

  33. 21
    My Story:

    What did I ever do to end up with you people? Did I try taking over a planet or steal the king’s daughter? Whatever it was, it must have been really bad because they sent me to you people.

    It all began with a silly carving of a horse and 2 horseshoes in are local woods. Well sure enough come across a book with a horse and 2 horseshoes. That makes 4 horse shoes, enough to shoe a horse anyways. That’s how fairy tales begin anyways:)

    After reading the book felt like Forrest might have hidden it at his parent’s grave. Well it’s an old outlaw trick. Really was itching to dig there Should ask before you dig, seems the cordial thing to do. That’s how I meant Forrest wasn’t to eager about anyone digging there.

    Dal seemed perplexed over that move, you’re going the wrong direction he said to that effect. You would be to if you knew what was better for you, I thought.

    Then the Today Show came out and knew we would see weird things. Maybe nothing like that church being blown up as they did in France over another hunt.

    Sure enough some weird diggings and then that woman from Texas became lost. Looking at the satellite photo of that area, there was a nice convenient parking lot a few hundred yards from the waterfalls. No that’s too easy I thought. It’s up in Yellowstone.

    After going to Alice’s Wonderland and driving through South Dakota which is so remote ……….

    That little fun endeavor gave me a disconnection disorder for 3 days. Felt no connections back at home. Imagine your house and the people you know have no connections to you. Almost had to check into the hospital it was that bad.
    Finally it just all started to come back. There really is no place like home, thanks Dorothy for that one:)

    Knew this hunt was going to be hard and long and usually races like this go to turtles. So now I sit here and plotting my next move……………Without mystical callings fairy tales outlaw tricks weird ideas and strange places to go to.


  34. 22
    When I first began the chase, I thought Dal was stupid. It was trip two that humbled that opinion. Now, many more searches down the line, I think back; funniest thing, huh! That’s a hard one!

    As many of you will concur, the thrill comes in many different forms, and just like an inventor, we find ourselves, by accident, discovering more and more!

    And I’m sure all who have searched have joined in the chorus of cursing Forrest, at least while you’re hot, sweaty, dirty and wet…and tired…

    Then, afterward, on the way home, silence ensues, you get lost in thought…oops! darn bunny…bad omen…

    You’re thinking of every step you took; thinking about the fun, thinking about the next time…
    The twilight is fading to darkness, and the dirt road is twisty….oh, a straight part…yay, let’s get a little road behind us…hmmm…what’s that large black thing in the road?

    Mind you, as a passenger, it’s already a bit unnerving…it’s coming fast…I look at my husband like..”are you seeing this?” Nothing said though…Now I have my hands on the dash trying to see the fast approaching black blob right in front of me. I look again to my husband…I look back to the blob…then he swerves into it! Kaboom! Cow poop explosion! It rained wet nasty cow poop muck all over our windshield, hood, windows….it literally covered our truck! Some farmer had just mucked out his big rig trailer, leaving a treasure for us! We both started cracking up, and literally, could not stop laughing for at least the length of the rest of the dirt road!

    We giggled on and off the rest of the way home, and at a rest stop (we didn’t care to wash it) I told my husband when I got out that something smelled like fire…but weird. He layed on the hot asphalt, looked around under the truck, then came out with a smirk…”It’s burning cow poop on the tailpipe!”

    Needless to say…The truck still has a faint odor every time you pass by it….:)

  35. 23
    We were fortunate to find an available campsite so close to our search area and quickly set up camp so we could get to our spot and search. The campground was trashy but had potential with a man-made lake and a couple dozen sites. We searched until dinner time getting all sweaty and tired and a few cactus punctures.

    At the campsite, we got a fire going and poured some tasty beverages. Shortly, this feller comes over introduces himself as Jimmy and suggests that we come meet his wife and hang out around their fire. Jimmy seemed nice enough and they had a new 5th wheel rig that they were camping in. After a bit, we went over agreeing with each other that we wouldn’t stay long. Jimmy introduced his wife and her sister who were both wearing sunglasses – yes, it was night time and we were sitting around a campfire. He offered a couple Budweisers and we started with a question about the Sheriff to whom he was talking as we pulled in. Jimmy said they were looking for someone, that’s all he knew. Then he told a confusing story implying he was from Georgia and we assumed they were out of town campers, though he kept saying his home was just down the road from the campground. He asked what we were doing up there and we carefully avoided anything that sounded like treasure hunting. Thankfully the conversation turned less personal and we shared some usual campfire stories. We talked about the lake and he went into this long tale of how he and his brother used to catch Bullfrogs by snagging them with a large treble hook and fishing pole. They would cast the hooks and Bullfrogs would jump in after them. Then they would set the hook and reel in the frogs. He said they “caught hundreds that way, but the thing about Bullfrogs is you can’t tell when they’re dead. The only way to tell when they’re dead is you have to bang their heads on the bumper of your car until their tongues hang out! That’s the only way.” Well, that about did it for us and we found a way to make a quick exit.

    It must have been about 2am when the hollering started in Jimmy’s campsite and went until he drove off in his truck. Unrelated hollering erupted in another site nearby and went on and on for hours. I laid there unable to sleep thinking what a great idea to get up early and break camp before Jimmy and his strange crew awoke. When we finally got up, Jimmy, his ladies and his truck were gone. But before we could get out of Dodge, Jimmy comes barreling back into the campground. We quickly loaded the rest of our goods and went over to say goodbye. Jimmy was drinking a beer and acting as though everything was just fine.

    Moral of the story: There’s always more to the story.

  36. 25
    Once Upon a Time…there was an old woman (that’s me) who lived in a shoe (not really) and when she read a special book (“The Thrill of the Chase”) with it’s magical Poem, she quickly said to her husband “let’s go”.

    Off they went on their white horse (white van to be accurate) and started to drive to that far off land where the treasure would be found. It really was a long distance as they lived many time zones away (East Coast), and when they hadn’t even gotten more than 300 miles west of Toledo, their wonderful air conditioning started to sputter and smell.

    Okay, back to the real world! “No air conditioning” during an unusual May heat spell is not supposed to be in my fairytale! Hope the gold doesn’t melt on our way home like the Wicked Witch of the West did, I thought!

    On Mother’s Day 2013 we approached the Tom Miner Bridge over the Yellowstone River, but since I knew the dirt road we were heading towards was once an old toll road, I half expected that fearsome troll (Three Billy Goats Gruff) to appear. Perhaps he was busy, so we crossed and proceeded down a narrow dirt road with ruts so deep I thought we were now on “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” at the Magic Kingdom.

    We arrived, parking near the “outhouse”, noting there were a few other cars and one tent placed near where we needed to climb the path up and alongside our creek. I had figured it was going to be “a walk in the park”, where we only had to walk 500 feet at most until we saw our Blaze.

    Off we went, looking intently for that Blaze, but after we had hiked well past that 500 foot mark, my husband kept saying “let’s see what’s around the next bend”. After a few hours, many miles and more importantly, an altitude change of an estimated 1,500 feet later, we realized that our Blaze must be in “Neverland”.

    Definitely not “city slickers”, but we sure left our common sense checked near the outhouse. We were down to our last partial bottle of water, my lungs rebelled with each breath and, while I was happily taking photos of the animal carcasses I came across, we had ignored the “Attention” sign about bears emerging from their dens.

    Finally arriving back to the parking area, my husband spoke with the man who was living in that tent. “Bob” happily lifted his shirt and showed my husband the scars he had on his chest from his encounter with a grizzly. Stroking his grizzly beard, he added that his mauling was his fault, as he came up the hill and startled Mama grizzly and her cubs.

    When my husband asked where it had happened, Bob looked up, pointed to the crest of the creek trail we had just explored, smiled, and said “WHY, JUST RIGHT OVER THERE!”

  37. Should Forrest be allowed to vote?
    He says he should be able to vote because he wrote the first story in 2010.
    He also said there was someone special he wanted to vote for…???

  38. Wish I could tell my story I’m still living it, give me about 40 years and I’ll tell you how it ends 😉

    • My necklace would have to be made out of Lucky Lager bottle caps strung together with an old boot lace…probably not as interesting….but I find it does keep in-laws away…

  39. 50
    I’m searching for a shadow he calls the chase
    The younger counterpart of an older face
    The prize being part of a life well spent
    A destined arrow that could be bent

    The promise is gold but are you sure
    Print says bronze, Can I endure
    He drops a clue that moved I swear
    Should I pick it up or do I dare

    I take these trips, I know I’m right
    Make the plan with perfect sight
    I know I’m close or at least warm
    Or is it just his undeniable charm

    The question is “Do you believe”
    It is my choice, or should you leave
    One less foe for me to fight
    I wish you well, unless you’re right

  40. Dal, I have a question regarding the rule of 500 words or less: what is considered a “word”? Is a word actually each word regardless of length, or do every 5 keystrokes count as one word? Thanks, in case I enter…so looking forward to the possibility of a sip of brandy…

    • Cynthia-
      You want me to make a decision..okay…a word as defined in the dictionary as follows:
      “a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others (or sometimes alone) to form a sentence and typically shown with a space on either side when written or printed.”

      By the way, the web based “word counter” found here:
      claims that definition has 32 words in it.

      But here is the bottom line. I am not selecting out any stories. I set the rules but the judges…all of you, will determine who the winner is…by your votes…not me. So if you think it’s a great story but the author broke a rule and that matters to you..then you can vote for some other story..
      So, even though I set the rules, it will be up to the judges to enforce them…and you get to do that with your vote…

      There is one rule I am enforcing as I move the stories to the voting page…and that is…only one story per person. No one has submitted two stories yet but if they do I would only select one…I would ask the author which one…but only one would end up on the voting page.

  41. 26
    On our trip we had a few funny things that happened. Usually on our trips, I collect rocks and the rental car is always filthy when we return it and I always wonder what the people cleaning it must think. It always seems that we are traipsing in the woods and are getting dirty and muddy. This time was no different and one evening when we arrived back at the hotel, I made several trips back and forth from the car to the room getting stuff out. I noticed that there was a dirt track that lead directly to our room from the outside. I immediately took off my boots and thought how terrible it was that we made this mess on their carpet and felt bad about it. The next day when we got back to the hotel, the trail of dirt was gone and I was glad, especially that there wasn’t a note saying “stop making a mess” or “keep the rocks outside.” Very nice people in W.Y.

  42. 27
    I give you calamity of the tent:

    I remember when I was young we lived on a farm. My sibs and I made our own fun. Now talk about imagination and adventure! A ditch in the cow pasture became a slide once we slide down it enough. A bow was made out of a green tree branch and twine tied to make the drawstring. Arrows were tree branches rubbed on a stone until it had a pointed end. One of us figured out the pail of tractor grease made great war paint but our bottoms figured out that the grease was not war paint or camouflage! We were all blonde ages 3-6. Getting the grease off us was no simple task as I remember. Adventurous independent Indians we were, we tracked all sorts of meek creatures and imaginary folks. We played hide and seek in the tall corn or wheat. The hay and straw in the barn was a universe for imagination beyond compare. We were outside all day playing, except for chores of course. So I guess when I first came across the TOTC, it took me back to a time when adventure and imagination roamed free. On the first search, a little of that time was with me. After a lot of due diligence researching, reading, checking the weather, cleaning and getting the car ready for the trip, and deciding I was not going to pack a lot of clothes because I needed my camping/adventure gear I told everyone I was leaving on a road trip-not far but too far to walk- I headed off to the great Rockies somewhere north of Santa Fe. When I landed at my starting point I did not think about the treasure much, being more in awe of the majestic scenery. I have been to the Rockies before, always a different place and they always amaze with the beauty and grandeur of the nature held within them. So first things first-I make a sandwich and drink a soda. Then time to get the tent up. I have put up many tents but this one took the cake. It was new and usually I check them to make sure all parts are there…this time guess what, NO tent stakes. I spent at least a good 3 hours trying sticks, some long screws I found in the car trunk, and rocks but to no avail. Other campers were watching me obviously intrigued and laughing. The nearest town was too far away at this time of night so guess what? Yep…just like a lot of other searchers I spent the night in the backseat of my car!! But when the sun over the mountain woke me the next morning and I finally got to check my location for the treasure, the opportunity to see nature’s handiwork has no words. There is more to the adventure but my tiredness has turned to weakness so the rest of the story will be another saga.

  43. 28
    I went Mesa Verde National Parks, last year. I pack everything for this trip along with water camel backpack. We finally, get to our destination to take one of the trails. I decide, not to of take my water camel backpack. I ask my wife to take the ice chest backpack, because it was full of bottle water. We started hiking down Spruce Canyon Trail and made it all way down. I saw sign that was blocking the path, not to go further. I said to my wife. look this is the place were the meeks don’t go. instead of going back up, we decide to ignore the sign and go on. Then my wife ask me, why I didn’t take a bottle water. I said, I was not thirsty and I will get some later. We went further down the path. I finally, ask my wife for some water. and instead of getting me a new bottle from the ice chest. she gives me a quarter of water that was left. wondering why, but didn’t question it. We went far down the canyon and I got thirst again. I ask my wife, can I have a bottle of water. she said “no, I took them all out.” “do you think I was going to carrier that heavy load for you.” she was right, she did take them out. We walk back up that canyon, but we still to far down that canyon. We were at least 2hrs to make it back to the top. I see my wife going farer & farer away from me. my energy was gone. my libs were dry and was puking out nothing. finally, I made back to the bridge, I decide to take the left path, thinking it was short. I got to the point, I only made it half way up. I stop, threw my backpack down and wait for my wife to come back down with water. I decide to eat my banana to see if that will help me, but made it worst. finally, I hear a couple coming up the path. I said to myself. my wife is coming back and no need to intrude them. they said to me “what a beauty view”. I said “yes it is, I will never forget about this moment.” then they went up there happy way. I was getting desperate, and wondering where my wife is. then I remember I had a walkie talkie. I called her and ask if she ran into the couple, yet. she said yes and though everything was ok, because she ask if they ran into me. The couple said yes, he was seating down and mediating. I said yes, I’m mediating for some water, hurry!!! finally, she brought me a small cup of Gatorade. I was desperate, even for a small cup. I toughing it out walking back up. my wife said “I just safe your life, your lucky that I came on this trip.”

  44. Dal,
    After careful consideration, and upon reading that voters will determine eligibility regardless of length, I have selected the following story as my official entry. I hope others do not perceive my word counts as nit picking….I was trying to do them a service by letting them know they were “outside the lines”. I am glad you have left it to us, because it is difficult to tell a good story in under 500 words, and takes a lot of effort and thought to accomplish. So many terrific choices, I am glad we get to consider them all, regardless of length. So here is mine, around 509…

    On Thinking and Planning
    By Michael D

    I had slept eight hours in the last three days, but it was perfect. I had solved it! At work the next morning, I appealed to my boss by reminding him that the Chase was much like his football obsession. This was my 2007 Fiesta Bowl. 7 seconds left on the clock. The score is 41-42 in favor of Oklahoma. Boise State lines up to go for the 2 point conversion to win the game, after a miracle touchdown. In a trick play known as the statue of liberty, the quarterback fakes the pass and hands the ball off behind his back to the running back…who trots into the endzone for the win of the decade. This was my Fiesta Bowl. I NEEDED the rest of the week off to go get the treasure chest!! I was positive I knew where it was. The rest of the crew chastised me, until my boss jumped to my defense! “It’s no different than you going elk hunting, or you going fishing, It’s his hobby…. Good luck.” So thirty minutes later I had my Ford loaded to the gills with gear and beer.

    By 8 pm that night, I was at my destination. The sun was just about to disappear behind the warm hue of the sandstone cliffs. I held myself against my will inside the car that night. I wanted to go search right then, but knew the daylight was all but gone.

    Before dawn the next morning I was munching on granola bars while hoofing it to the waterfall I needed to rappel down in order to retrieve the chest. I had my 200 foot rope, a harness, and a one hour rappelling lesson. My heart raced as I approached the precipice. Due to the rounded nature of the sandstone cliff, I was unable to view my destination from the top. So I tied a triple square knot on the nearest Juniper that could hold my weight, and began to lower myself down the rounded edge of the water- carved sandstone.

    At about a fifty degree angle, with the rope and harness the only things keeping me from plummeting 140 feet to my death, a thought occurred to me. Would a 79 or 80 year old man carrying 22 pounds do this…twice? If he did….how did he get back up?…. How am I going to get back up? So after a careful survey of the ground below, and the backside of what I now know is Horse Collar Arch, I pulled myself back to the top of the falls, and sat down to ponder the power of the Thrill of the Chase. I had convinced myself I was right to the point I was about to earn a “cat ass trophy” for stupidity. My Grandpa, who was in construction, used to say, “I cut the darn thing twice, and it’s STILL too short!”
    I think I finally get what he meant by that. From now on, I’ll measure twice, and cut once.

  45. 30
    Trusty bear spray

    Our story began in Florida.
    We wake up at 4:00am half asleep but with a eagerness for the The Thrill. We packed the night before to make sure we didn’t miss out on anything we might need. With a stop of coffee and the local Dunkin’ Donuts for some Joe we finally head off for the airport.
    We check our bags and make our way to the terminal through the aggressive Security before I realized I forgot to bring my rifle that I so wanted. I didn’t want to return home to retrieve it and way to early to have someone bring it to us. So off on our adventure begin.

    We landed in Bozeman Montana for the first time and what such beauty, the grass was a beautiful green that chase the hills all the way to the peaks. This is a far cry different from the flat lands of swamps and gators. Buffalo roam peacefully and big ram horn cross streams with a magnificent stride through the creeks. We final get to our search area with a pit stop at the local store and the store clerk hinted sense we forgot our rifle that bear spray was the best alternative , so we purchased the spray with a lot of doubt in my mind but my wife that has never encountered a charging bear was having the best time of her life making fun of me for being so paranoid in the wood. As we walked the trail she would rattle the bush and yell ” what was that ” I would jump and with a bewildered look I would turn around and she would be laughing up a storm. I believe a marriage if a fight for status quo and evidently she was winning.
    As we headed up the trail I hear more bushes rattle and figured it was her and I wasn’t going to let her get the best of me again but by that time I heard a growl and realized that it wasn’t my wife so when I looked up 100 yards there sat a nice size Brown female bear and clearly no though ran through my mind to see if there was a treasure chest under her. I turned to look at my wife and her emotion did a 180 degrees turn and she was going to make a run for it. Needless to say she didn’t run and we slowly walked back to the car.

    That day I aged a year but what seemed so simple at the time I now hold a memory that will last my lifetime. My wife and I look back and laugh at the moment and realized that is what this chase is all about. Treasure is what you make of it and memories you take with you.

    • Loved your Trust bear spray story William –

      I too have a grizz that is blocking my spot. It’s a male who has a clip board that he writes license plate numbers down on.

  46. 32
    For the past few months the thrill of the chaser has been the story of both my parents and I.
    Ive only been on one adventure myself, unfortunately,but let me tell you, it was one of the funniest and one of the most fun adventures I have been on.
    Why is this?
    Well, let me tell you something about my parents, they’re very eccentric when they find something they enjoy, everything becomes a challenge and a quest and suddenly I’m wondering if maybe we are all beginning to lose it.
    My father was set on one specific location as to where he thought the treasure might be, a couple hours into our outing I come back from hiking around searching to find him underneath a tree. His hair is pretty long, mind you, and his beard for that matter, so when I come around looking for him and see him peaking out from the underside of a tree I can’t help but burst into laughter. Twigs, dirt, and possibly some pebbles found their new home in his hair.
    “Uh, dad, I don think it’s in there. You would’ve found it by now.”
    He just looked up from his little cave, exhausted,but determined to keep searching.
    On our return trek my mother was seeing for sale signs on the trees, needless to say there weren’t any. We were in a hurry to find our water and Gatorade that we had stashed after this occurrence, wary of what she would see next.
    Later on in the evening, I glance back to find both of my parents crawling on their hands and knees looking disheveled, we were all pretty spent, but I didn’t expect to see this.
    “Are you okay?”
    They both look up, and my mom speaks, “We should take a break.”
    I laugh a little more, though it’s hard when I’m still catching my breath.
    The best part of the trip seems to be when the vehicle is in sight. My mother saw it first, because she just had to be in front otherwise, as my father says, she begins to fall over, break a leg, or start screaming about everyone going too fast; and when I look up from my feet, trying to force them to continue moving forward, I see her drop to her knees and bow to the ground.
    “Hallelujah!” It was partially an exaggeration, but it explains the relief of accomplishing reaching the vehicle.
    My father and I started chuckling pretty hard as we dragged ourselves to the jeep, sharing my mothers relief to finally be back, our treasure was making it out alive!

  47. 33
    Weighing Options or How My Son Was Almost Eaten.

    Jul 27th, a cold morning on the creek. The ford (below the home of Brown) was about twenty feet across and the depth was difficult to discern. I guessed it to be about three to four feet deep. I began weighing our options. In the bad category – if we got stuck it would be the end our quest. A foreboding truck sat abandoned 50 feet from the crossing, evidence of a failed attempt? There was one more nagging reason not to cross….. I repressed it at the time, and for now, I’ll withhold it.

    On the good side, the side that can only be evaluated by someone enjoying TTOTC, – above the waterfall ahead I know of only one point a person can stand below 10,200 feet and see the blaze. I know this very point puts Forrest in the middle again and embodies three of Forrest’s diversions, fly fishing, bronze work and history. Lastly, I know the poem led me here. Well….. next thing I knew we hit the water Jeep first.

    There was only a brief moment of panic as water rushed over the hood – yep, three to four feet deep -but before I could exhale we were on the other side. With steam pouring from under the hood and a check engine light, we drove another three hundred yards to the home of Brown. From here our meekless quest began.

    Without boring you with descriptions of wondrous scenery, and keeping the story short – four miles, three glaciers, a half mile of loose scree, and eleven hours later we reemerged from the majestic wood. Tired and weary we approached the ford and what I had repressed earlier was now weighing heavily on me. For the last few hours I had been chewing on it – literally…. Melting Snow! Now the creek was four to five feet deep and moving with much greater force and attitude.

    A quick weighing of our options determined we would spend the night and ford the creek in the morning. With this idea in mind we began nesting in the jeep. After a half hour of padding and re-padding, stuffing and re-stuffing my oldest son determined his nest would never do, and with an hour and a half of sunlight left, he departed for camp. We had seen no sign of bears, or any animals for that matter, so not much weighed against this idea. Well… unbeknownst to us, Fish and Game had their own ideas weighing about 600 pounds. Fortunately, my son happened upon the scene just in time. Halfway down the road Rangers were releasing two grizzlies. Thank Thor he was not ten minutes later, he – my son not Thor – may have been the first meal those bears had in days.

    In spite of a poor night sleep – %$#@!^& seatbelt buckle – we had a great trip. The next morning the Jeep had no problem crossing the ford, and the scenery was spectacular. Thanks Forrest!

    P.S. If you ever have a contest for best solve let me know.

  48. 31
    A New Leaf:
    I’d been working the Forrest Fenn treasure hunt for 3 years. Admittedly there were times in which I became a curmudgeon, like when my kids wanted to stop for the bathroom, but I kept driving another 182 miles. Or the time my wife had a caffeine headache and I wouldn’t pull over for coffee until we reached the search destination.
    This time was going to be different! I had the perfect spot, after all how smart can this Forrest guy be anyway? So I said “Get in the van for a fun new search adventure.” They just looked in disbelief. “Did you just say, fun new adventure?”
    “Yes,” I said in a questioning tone.
    “Every time we head out to the newest and best spot since the last newest and best spot, all you do is drive straight there, no stopping for bathroom breaks, coffee, food etc..”
    I quickly interrupted because I knew the list was only going to continue with previously broken promises.
    “This time is going to be different, Ive turned a new leaf.” I said. They all stared intently at me and said, “No rushing this time?”
    “OK, I promise.” I said.
    Their mood softened, we loaded into the van and we were off.
    We traveled the highway only 10 miles when my kids saw an elderly gentlemen with a flat tire. My youngest son said, “Dad, Do we have time to stop?”
    “Why of coarse we can stop kids, I’ve turned a new leaf!”
    The kids all cheered and my wife smiled.
    I hopped out and changed the flat for the man. He was very appreciative and said, thank you. He informed me he had an expedited time table and there was no time for small talk. He quickly shuffled to his drivers seat. I called out as he walked away, “Any time I can be of assistance I’de help you again!”
    When I returned to the van, my kids were proud of me. I told them we should stop at the next rest area and get mom a coffee.
    This turning a new leaf was really something to chew on, yes definitely food for thought.
    Well I must admit being considerate to others certainly slowed my ETA, but made the journey more pleasant.
    When we finally arrived at the remote location, my kids noticed the same car we had helped with the flat tire earlier.
    Just then we saw the elderly gentleman shuffling out of the woods carrying a heavy backpack. We approached in disbelief. The man asked if I would carry his 42lb backpack to his vehicle and place it in his trunk. In total astonishment I looked straight up to the heavens with my mouth wide open, a leaf slowly floated downward from the canopy above and landed right in my mouth. My wife laughed and said, “At least you got your face time with forrest!” That made me smile, and the stem stuck out between my lips. 😉

  49. 34
    A Husband, A Treasure, A River, and A Truck

    My husband and I awoke early on a Saturday and snuck out of the house before the kiddos awoke. We had told them we would be going, but didn’t want to wake them. It was time for treasure hunting. I usually go alone, but this time I *knew* where the treasure was for sure and needed my burro … I mean husband … to carry it back for me.

    We drove to the Pecos Wilderness and watched as the sun rose over the mountains. What a glorious morning … cool, no rain, quiet. We arrived at my secret spot and began our trek towards the Pecos. The river was running swiftly and sparkled in the sunlight. We walked along quietly looking for my “blaze.” I soon became lost in the beauty of the Pecos and its land.

    I told John that Forrest wouldn’t have walked this far. We must have passed the “blaze.” We continued on. At times, the path became hidden, but we forged on. Other times, we sat beneath a tree, rested, and enjoyed the life-giving water. I told John we would continue to where the Pecos converged with another stream and then go on to the Tererro General Store. John was beginning to think I had no idea where I was.

    After hiking about 1 ½ hours, we ran into two fisherman at a gorgeous spot with huge boulders. We asked how much further it was to the store. They guided us back to the path along the stream. I told John that I was starting to get tired and that I didn’t know if I could make it back to the car. He said, “Well, you have to.” I said, “There are other ways.” He just looked at me. We continued on through another canyon and found our way to the General Store. I told John I would find us a ride back to our car. He said, “I have never asked for a ride and I’m not going to start now! I said, “Fine, I’ll see you back at the car.” He followed me to the store.

    I smiled a big ole smile and asked with a nice Kentucky twang, “Is there anyone in here, who might be able to give me a ride back to my car? My body is too dang tired to get me back there.” I had several offers and accepted one from a nice man. Well, John wasn’t about to allow me to drive in a truck with someone he didn’t know and hopped in as well. It turned out the man was the owner of the Tererro General Store and he told us many tales as we drove through the wilderness back to our car. I learned more about the Pecos Wilderness on that short truck ride, than what I’ve read in books!

    I also promised John that I would never tell anyone we got a ride from someone. 🙂

    • Love it Moonshadow! Sounds like John is quite a ” treasure”. I remember a few years back when I took my husband and dog on a wild goose chase down a very steep canyon to a patch of river I was certain had a huge cache of gold waiting for us. We got about 1/4 of the way down and my mate said he wasn’t going any further–it was way too steep. Despite his attempts to convince me otherwise I continued down the rocky, treacherous canyon. About 1/2 way to the bottom my dog stopped, sat down, and wouldn’t budge another inch. I called her and despite my pleas, she refused to follow me. That sweetheart of a dog would do anything for me and she knew that I would eventually realize she only had my best interest at heart so she stood her ground. I reluctantly relented and we slowly crawled our way out of the canyon.

      • Thanks Raven! Sometimes our husband and dogs know what’s best for us even if we don’t agree!

  50. 35

    I’d hemmed and hawed about telling my remote viewing club friends about my Fenning adventures for months. You see, we get together one Saturday a month and practice seeing things remotely and then discuss them along with other experiments with matter and mind.

    The first meeting they ever invited me to I bent a spoon in half within 5 seconds of the word go. I was so proud of myself but then I watched in amazement as people struggled to use their minds to bend a simple spoon. After a while a majority of people bent their spoons and I felt I was in good company as strange as it seemed.

    Another exercise we have done is pulling up a picture on people’s cell phones and guessing about the scenery. It’s astounding how accurate these observations are, which is why I never wanted to tell them about the treasure hunt.

    Well, one day I decided to get over my reservations and tell them about the hunt. Everyone was interested and several suggested having this as our next meeting topic. I was asked to bring a picture of the chest with no words attached.

    So I showed up with a picture, and everyone crowded around as it was placed on the wood table. The lighting was low and for a moment it felt like we were all in middle school playing the Ouija board. Some giggles but mostly game faces on.

    The facilitator Lucy told everyone to close their eyes and begin to allow messages through as to the location of the chest. It was only silent for less than a minute when the oldest woman in the group laughed and said, “you’re never alone!” It broke my concentration and I tried to ponder the significance. You could feel the room energy building up just like popcorn in the microwave right before you get all of the pops but before the popcorn burns.

    “Warm water,” said the swim coach. “Heavy loads,” said the construction worker. “Home of Browns,” said the real state agent. “I can be brave,” said the actor.

    Everyone but myself had contributed. I thought maybe I didn’t have what it takes. I sheepishly asked, “Did anyone see the blaze?” No one confirmed my thought.

    Lucy led us into the discussion part of our remote viewing exercise. Did anyone resonate with others observations? The faces were all frozen as if holding back information. The room fell silent as no one spoke a word.

    “Did you hear about the highway construction this upcoming weekend?” asked the delivery driver. A collective sigh of relief occurred as everyone agreed it was too advanced of a session for us. We just didn’t have enough training to actually find the treasure with remote viewing.

    What’s our topic next time? A mixed chime of excuses arose from the air. It was clear no one could make it next month. Most of them cited travel plans, to where I do not know.

  51. 36
    No Place for the Meek

    A retired librarian, my life is, by most standards, rather dull and unexciting. So when my son called and insisted that I accompany him on a treasure hunt to New Mexico, I was shocked. I hadn’t been on a plane in over forty years, am completely out of shape, and honestly, more than a little apprehensive. But how
    many sons want their sixty-five year old mother to accompany them anywhere?

    We headed our rental car to the John Dunn Bridge. I was nonplussed at what the maps listed as roads! In Indiana we would have referred to some as mud ruts. My son had explained about how important this bridge had been at one time. I knew we were headed to the Black Rock Springs; what I didn’t know was that it was a fairly good distance down some pretty rough terrain. As soon as we got past the easy part of the trail, I balked! “Look, I can’t do this! I have severely arthritic knees, bad feet, am 70 pounds overweight, and am completely out of shape!” “You go on and I will just sit and take in this beautiful canyon.” My son was adamant that I could do it: he would help me and we would take it slow. After
    balking only a few more times at particularly difficult areas for me, we neared the springs. At this point Son informed me that the last time he was here, there was an old naked man in the spring. Oh, Great! Just what I needed!

    Luckily, we were alone. Since I can’t jump because of my knees, it took me a good ten minutes to figure out how to get into the springs. (We had come prepared and were wearing bathing suits!) We enjoyed the warmth of the springs and the beauty of the Rio Grande for some time; kayakers were drifting down
    the river and the sun was glorious. Son left to explore a cave above the spring and thankfully did not ask me to accompany him. As I was reveling in this awesome natural experience, I heard voices and looked up to see a young couple approaching. I don’t know who was more surprised! It took me approximately
    10 seconds to get out and get a towel around me! I gathered our things and made a quick retreat. I don’t know if they stayed or not. I do know I had never moved that quickly before!

    We only had three days and searched several locations around Taos. I was happily shocked to see what appeared to be an Alpine village in Red River, thrilled to see the glorious topography of New Mexico, scared to drive some of the mountain roads, and absolutely thankful to have shared this wonderful
    experience with a loving son. Did we find the treasure? Yes, in my mind, I think we did. Thanks, Forrest!

  52. 37
    Okay … let’s get one thing straight. I’m a city girl. I love to dress up, wear short skirts, makeup, and jewelry. I don’t camp, I don’t like bugs, and I don’t like to get dirty. So, when I heard about this treasure hunt I was interested in the shiny things, but not so much the going out in the wilderness thing. But, the only way to get the gleaming things was to go out in the scary wilderness. Hmmm …. Well, those luminous things won out and I knew I would be going way outside my comfort zone.

    Now, I’m not completely opposed to the outdoors. I do walk my dogs every day – around the same loop in my neighborhood. So, deciding to go to Manby Hot Springs, by myself, was complete terror for me! Have you driven down that crazy dirt road ? The one with all the potholes? Roads aren’t supposed to be like that! And, there were no signs saying which way to go. Luckily, I ran into (well, not literally) a man walking his dog and he pointed me in the right direction. Finally, upon arriving, I found the start of the trail.

    I looked over the side into the gorge and said, “I am NOT going down there. No, I am not going down there … not for any darn treasure … with gold … and pretty necklaces … and antique pieces … okay … I’ll go down.” I start walking down in my cute jean skirt, blue top and yellow sunhat. How do people walk down these supposed “trails” that are filled with giant boulders, cactus, and dirt? I thought the trail would be paved and smooth.

    It looked to be at least 5 miles to the bottom. I tried not to think about it and kept up my mantra … “jewelry … jewelry …“ Finally, I made it to the river. Hmmm … I couldn’t find the service people anywhere. I thought these hot springs were for soaking … and where do they keep the towels and the showers? And, what are these silly rocks that are forming three circles? I looked all around … nothing … just a river, canyon, and rocks. I sat down on a rock to think. As I was thinking, I saw an old man and his dog coming down the trail. I watched as he came closer, passed me and went to the biggest rock circle. All of a sudden, he completely stripped! OMG! I’ve never seen such a wrinkly, old, naked man before! He sat in the water and smiled at me and waved someone over. I looked behind me. No one else was there. OMG!

    Well, for goodness sake. I am city girl. I promptly got up and started walking back up that trail in my cute jean shirt, blue top, and yellow hat thinking … “Why couldn’t it have been Simon Baker or George Clooney … or …..”

    • I wonder if the old naked guy is the same one Sally P’s son (post above) spoke about or better yet, maybe Dal is getting out there more than we know. These stories are a real treat–Thanks Dal for doing this.

      • Being Sally P’s son, I can answer the inquiry above – probably not as it was a different springs – the guy I saw was 70+ years old, His name was Paul D**** – he goes there all the time while his wife goes to the casino 🙂

        I HAVE however, seen a local Taos guy naked in Manby Springs as well – we had an uncomfortable conversation and I departed… that guy was pretty old as well – gray hair, etc. But it wasn’t Paul D 🙂

  53. Dal,

    Sorry for so many questions…if I post an abbreviated search story here (less than 500 words) for the contest, may I still send you the full story with pictures to post after August 10th? Thanks.

  54. 7

    I met Frank last October at Forrest’s book-signing at the Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe. He was a seemingly nice fellow, had traveled from Phoenix to attend the book-signing, and was fairly new to the search…as was I, compared to Dal. We chatted a bit and had our pictures taken with Forrest…just before departing, he wondered if I’d like to go on a search or two with him the following summer somewhere in New Mexico. I agreed…

    Fast forward to mid-July…Frank arrived in Santa Fe where he’d reserved a place for his “base”, and I had agreed to meet him there early each morning. The past several weeks had been fun, scheming and planning our search areas based on one or both of our solutions to the poem’s clues via emails and occasional phone calls. We agreed on the “basics”: “in there”, WWWH, HOB, heavy-loads water high. Still, since I live here and had done multiple searches between last fall and now, I felt a sense of responsibility…

    Day one started off promising even though we were going into a section of Wilderness I was not familiar with…but, hey, I had my “good map” and brand new GPS to guide us. Found Pedernal…easy. Had to use my “good map” to find the first waterfall…pretty easy. Canyon down…easy. HOB…easy. Next was Echo Falls…”no human trail in close proximity”…shouldn’t be a problem…had GPS which I should have learned how to use PRIOR. We stumbled upon a US Forrest Service employee…this wasn’t her area so she didn’t know where it was either. Dejected, we went home.

    Day two had to be better…I was taking Frank to the Valles Caldera, an area I was familiar with and felt confident regarding our solutions to the clues. Our first stop was the visitor’s center, to buy our day-hiking permits so we could hike to Alamo Bog, a perfect WWWH, then down Alamo Canyon, etc. NOT! No such thing as a day-permit to Alamo Bog, or most of the Caldera; at best, limited permits for fishing or back-country hiking. Jeeze, now what…I talked Frank into hiking back Las Conchas Trail to the end of the canyon, and maybe swinging around backwards to the Bog. He was a good sport and agreed…

    After a couple hours, we reached the end of Las Conchas Canyon. Not only was there no easy way out to Alamo Bog, but heavy dark clouds had rolled in…I told Frank we had to go back. Dejected once again, we began our return. The thunder was increasing …I told Frank we had to hurry…no breaks, I’m thinking, just go fast. We made it to the car in an hour, before the storm…not bad for a 72-year old fellow who had a hip replacement 3 months prior…and, surprisingly, he wants to search WITH ME again next month. Today…Frank was my treasure!

    Cynthia (496 words)

    • Excellent Story Cynthia,
      Even though I am from Pennsylvania I am very familiar with the Caldera and the areas that you and Frank searched.
      Thanks for sharing.

  55. Dal,

    I sent in this same story in Mid July but that earlier version consisted of 1700 words, I am not a writer but I was able to condense my story the best I could. I hope we can sneak this new version in the contest somewhere. Maybe we’ll have a better chance J



    Worth the cold

    We were camping at Madison Junction. It will be a great 7 days as long as I don’t mention the treasure. My wife hates it when I talk about the treasure. I wouldn’t say I was a fanatic, just love the idea of it. Our friends also came camping with us none of which have heard of the treasure before. Their kids 10-11 and 12 would joke with me, coming back from the restroom they would ask if I’ve found the treasure yet. (haha)

    There was something I wanted to see one late afternoon so I had my wife drop me off at the lot near the fairy falls trailhead. My friend also wanted to go on this adventure and so did his kids. I think my buddy brought his kids because he was sick of them playing their video games, even little Chris spent most of his time texting, oblivious to the sights around him.

    By the time we reached the falls I had the kids and my buddy deep into the treasure, after spending an hour or so looking around, we decided to head back. We took the fountain flat trail toward Ojo Caliente. This trail was easy but long. We started to worry because we thought we were close to the end of this trail but a girl we stopped on her bicycle told us we had two more miles to go. We had been gone for about 3 hours now and our wives would for sure be upset. We finally reached Ojo Caliente and then realized we were still 4 miles from Madison Junction. It was 8:30 pm now, we were in good spirits, safe but still had a long walk. What we didn’t know was that our wives had already called 911 and reported us missing to the rangers.

    We lucked out and caught a ride from the girl on the bike. We had her drop us off at the amphitheater at Madison Junction so we could triumphantly walk back to camp. The kids had a lot of stories to tell and very excited to be back , we were gone for 5 hours and it was now officially dark. When we saw our wives they cried, then the yelling began, mike and your stupid treasure, I was getting it from both sides, how could you be so reckless, how could you put these kids in danger, why were you gone so long, then I heard it again, you and your stupid treasure!

  56. Dal,

    Sorry for being a pain- End of story got cut off sorry please re submit


    Worth the cold


         We were camping at Madison Junction. It will be a great 7 days as long as I don’t mention the treasure. My wife hates it when I talk about the treasure. I wouldn’t say I was a fanatic, just love the idea of it.  Our friends also came camping with us none of which have heard of the treasure before. Their kids 10-11 and 12 would joke with me, coming back from the restroom they would ask if I’ve found the treasure yet.  (haha)

          There was something I wanted to see one late afternoon so I had my wife drop me off at the lot near the fairy falls trailhead. My friend also wanted to go on this adventure and so did his kids. I think my buddy brought his kids because he was sick of them playing their video games, even little Chris spent most of his time texting, oblivious to the sights around him.

         By the time we reached the falls I had the kids and my buddy deep into the treasure, after spending an hour or so looking around, we decided to head back. We took the fountain flat trail toward Ojo Caliente. This trail was easy but long. We started to worry because we thought we were close to the end of this trail but a girl we stopped on her bicycle told us we had two more miles to go.  We had been gone for about 3 hours now and our wives would for sure be upset. We finally reached Ojo Caliente and then  realized we were still 4 miles from Madison Junction. It was 8:30 pm now, we were in good spirits, safe but still had a long walk. What we didn’t know was that our wives had already called 911 and reported us missing to the rangers.

         We lucked out and caught a ride from the girl on the bike. We had her drop us off at the amphitheater at Madison Junction so we could triumphantly walk back to camp. The kids had a lot of  stories to tell and very excited to be back , we were gone for 5 hours and it was now officially dark. When we saw our wives they cried, then the yelling began, mike and your stupid treasure, I was getting it from both sides, how could you be so reckless, how could you put these kids in danger, why were you gone so long, then I heard it again, you and your stupid treasure!

        Unfortunately we had to talk to the authorities, Just don’t mention any treasure I said. When things settled down we sat by the campfire, I was again told by our wives what we did was stupid, when all of the sudden, the youngest Chris shouted out, that it was the best time he has ever had anywhere, anytime and that he wanted to search for treasure again tomorrow- I could see the smile on his parents faces that for this little boy it was worth the cold. It was not a video game or a cell phone but the adventure, the wonder, the what if, it was the thrill of the chase for this little boy. It is the reason why we should all stop and dangle our feet in the Firehole or turn over a rock once in a while and for a minute I was out of trouble…but only for a minute.

  57. Only 5 days left to enter your 500 word funny search story without pics or videos. You could win Forrest’s very cool fetish necklace. Be the first on your block!!!

  58. 14
    Some may feel a “westerner” has an advantage over a “flatlander”, when it comes to “The Chase”.
    But what we lack in experience, we more than make up for it, in the “imagination” department.
    Having never been Fly Fishing, we had “gleaned” waders might be helpful. We didn’t have any.
    But, that wasn’t going to keep us from “trying”.
    Across, the river, was what we were sure, “secreted” the TC.
    So, when nightfall came and all the “real” Fly Fisherman left the area, we approached our pull off, full of high expectations. Now, we hadn’t actually seen anyone “fishing” in this particular spot. It was just the “shortest” distance, across the river.
    Three of us, in this tiny, economy, rental car.
    But, “prepared”, we had come.
    We had heavy duty, large, black garbage bags & duct tape, our version of “waders”.
    One of us, over 6’, in the front seat, had to actually try to “unfold” himself, to get the garbage bags on his legs. Never mind, his knees, were already, indenting the dashboard. We stayed in the car, lest another Fly Fisherman drive by. Then, he had to lift his legs, with the garbage bags, high enough, in this tiny car, to wrap the duct tape around the tops of the bags, at his thighs.
    And, of course, there were still two other people, one with a steering wheel, in front of them, also trying to don their garbage bags & having to share the duct tape. At one point, we realized we may run out of duct tape, before we all actually had our garbage bags, “secured”.
    Being a “flatlander”, I had brought my trusty “beach” shoes, that can be kept on, while in the water.
    Because we were getting “low” on duct tape, I deferred to the others & tied my garbage bags to my belt loops. Being shorter, does have its advantages.
    Once we had all gotten “dressed”, me with my beach shoes “over” my garbage bags, the other two with the garbage bags over their shoes, we “sneak” to the river.
    Near the shore, of course, the river was shallower. But, there were tons of “rocks”, slippery rocks.
    We all kind of held each other up, as we slowly started “feeling” our way, out to where the water was “deeper”, on up to about 2’ deep.
    I “thought” my beach shoes, would grip the rocks, instead, they were slipping on the rocks.
    It was a real challenge to stay, upright.
    But, we pushed on, in the dark, in the frigid, rushing, mighty, river.
    And then, down I went. My garbage bags, filled like balloons, with the frigid, rushing water.
    Now, I struggled with the weight of the water, that had filled my garbage bags, just to stand upright.
    Luckily, it wasn’t far to drive back to our cabin, where we had to sneak back in, lest any of our neighbors see us, so I could try to get warmed up.
    Tomorrow’s a new day!

    • Garbage bags and duct tape do not work as waders, just as baggies and duct tape do not work for condoms. Dare I ask what flatland are you from?

    • LOL Michelle, necessity is the mother of invention and sometimes injuries to our dignity. 🙂 Loved the story !

      • Hello, Deb. If injuries to one’s dignity are all a person has to worry about then I’d say they’re doing fine. Things could be worse.

        I’m reminded of the young man who went into the drugstore to buy his first box of condoms. He set the box on the counter and the clerk says, “That will be $5.24.”

        “But the box says $4.99,” the young man argues.

        “Yeah, $4.99 plus 25 cents for tax,” the clerk explains.

        “TACKS!?! I thought they stayed on by themselves!”


        And, Michelle, I hope you flatlanders brought a flashlight as you were crossing the river in the dark. Forrest said you better do that…and I certainly hope you didn’t get your sandwich soggy.

  59. (499 words per Microsoft Word, WHEW!!)

    The “Spill” of the Chase

    My problem is I’ve had funny things happen to me in each search.

    As Forrest might ask, “Which do you think is funniest ?” :

    • When my brother-in-law and I slept on the floor from 2am-5am of the Albuquerque Airport waiting for the rental car branch to open after a flight delay, drove to Santa Fe and “freshened up” in a Burger King bathroom just in time to meet Forrest Fenn…

    • When I bedded down with a searcher from England because the hotels in Red River closed at 8pm as it was “off-season”…

    • When I “prevaricated” to the gentleman who had rentals on the other side of Scull Bridge and talked him into giving me the gate combination to “review for future vacations”…

    • When I ate Native NM cuisine and didn’t realize their definition of “hot” meant “slap-your-momma” kinda hot…

    • When I took a hitchhiker to UNM from the airport “in hopes of good karma”…

    • When I ran into a naked man at Blackrock Springs

    • When I was chased off private property by hunters

    Every searcher has stories…

    My “spill” involved the brilliant idea to rent a brand new red Chevrolet Camaro in November 2013 while searching the Chama River area. Being from Indiana, you often have frozen ground in November, and the Camaro was calling my name… So, off I go in the REAR-WHEEL DRIVE Camaro down the Forest Roads surrounding the Chama River. The roads were treacherous, but the Camaro was handling well.

    I reached an area, however, where a washout had occurred of the road in front of me and I wasn’t about to go get stuck, so I started to turn around when my wheels started spinning in wet sand… I couldn’t get out… I was 3 miles in the desert, alone. Luckily I was able to get “1 bar” of cell service, call Budget and find a tow truck to come out. Problem was, I couldn’t describe where I was. I was a “blue dot” on a map… I ended up texting the tow truck driver a photo of Google Maps and my “blue dot” and started walking to the closest intersection. As my cell phone died, the tow truck driver said “Set a couple of bushes on fire so I can find you”… I was already a mile from my car and another 2 miles to the closest intersection with no lighter; My Boy Scout headmaster would have been ashamed…

    As the sun sets early in the mountains, it got cold quick. I was well dressed, but quickly realized I could be something’s meal. A mountain deer was hopping along a short distance away going my direction. He kept me going, though I realized he was quicker than me, and I would have been a fattier meal than him. Juan, the tow truck driver, arrived shortly commenting I was the 3rd searcher that week to be towed… Only after a bottle of water and warm fireplace later, I laughed…

  60. 47
    Where is my hammock?

    No matter the situation you can always find the humor…

    On one of my searches I was prepared for the possibilty of an overnight stay and along with my other gear I was carrying along with me a blue water proof 300 LBS capacity nylon hammock and a matching sleeping bag. As night started to set in I decided to make use of the hammock and found two trees perfect feet apart to tie it up and sleep in for the night. I layed out the sleeping bag on top, tucked my boots and snowshoes underneath as if putting them under a bed, and layed my backpack down beside me. With my flashlight in hand I layed down for a nights rest. I quickly started questioning the 300 LBS capacity hammock as it started to cacoon me. I was wrapped up like a banana with my arms on my chest hugging the flashlight. At times during the night I heard rustling and thought that if it was a bear than he would have to peel me out or eat the hammock too. Drifting to sleep, I could not help but smile as I imagined Yogi Bear telling Boo-Boo to get the hot sauce for the hanging bear burrito. The next morning I made my way out, but the ropes were frozen and I couldn’t get the hammock down. The curiosity of sticking my tongue out on the rope to see if it would actually stick crossed my mind. Than I remembered the movie The Christmas Story and didn’t want to be that kid! So leaving well enough alone I packed up the rest of my gear and headed on my way.
    I didn’t give much thought to that hammock until a couple weeks later out searching again with a fellow searcher. Taking a different route than last time, we came to a clearing where you can see everything; running water from the creeks, mountains in the distance, and the trees on sides of mountains. As he’s looking out he stops and asks, “Was your hammock blue? Cause I think I just found it.” I looked up and there it was 8 feet up still tied to the trees like shoes hanging by the strings across a telephone wire, out of place and hard to get to. Why was the hammock 8 feet up? Because that’s how much the snow had melted. Amazing what snowshoes allow you to do! It’s become a joke now whenever we see it. I’ve tried to sell it a couple times too! Telling the potential buyer pick-up only. If you’re out searching in my area and find yourself in need of a place to scurry up from a bear, there just might be a place for you to hang out for awhile and hope Yogi forgot the hot sauce.

    • Nice story! I’ve always wondered about using a hammock in the woods especially after an encounter I had a few years ago when my husband, a friend, and I went hiking into the mountains for a few days. The first night we were out, two bear cubs came into our camp in the middle of night as we slept on the open ground. The baby bears made a racket snooping around and woke my husband and I up as our friend remained sound asleep a few feet away. Anyway, the cubs started sniffing around our friend who was still asleep, so I leaned up on one elbow and softly started calling our friends name. He didn’t wake up but my husband who was close by said “watch out, mama is right behind you”. I looked over my shoulder and there is a huge bear just about two feet away looking my way. I layed my head down on the ground and mama lumbers over to me and started sniffing my head and neck with her cold, wet, nose. I couldn’t help but let out little whimper when she gave out a loud snort right in my ear. About that moment my brain felt it to be an opportune moment to remind me that I had used a shampoo in my hair the day before that was so natural that it used honey as one of its ingredients. Oh, god I thought, we are doomed. Fortunately for me, mama had other plans. The mama bear and two babies sniffed all around us, head to toe, and then proceeded to try and get to our cache of food that we had hanging high up in a tree a short distance away. Mama could only tap the bag of food as she stood on her tippy toes and with her arm fully extended. The food was about 9-10 feet up.

  61. 48
    Last year, I had taken my oldest son to search and we found this really interesting owl blaze and I figured out on the plane ride home where it actually was buried (sound familiar?). So I convinced my wife and youngest son to go on an adventure of a life time. The plan was very simple, we were there just to retrieve the treasure chest. After five days in Taos and no treasure, my family revolted and asked me never to say the words “Forrest Fenn” ever again and made me promise to permanently retire from searching.

    After about 6 months, I felt that taking a little peek at a blog while she was at work couldn’t harm anything; I just had to ensure that when she was home, she received the full attention she deserved. A simple plan right?

    Well a little blog reading proved that nothing much had changed except Forrest Fenn released his new book, too far to walk, which received discussion on two topics: how far is too far to walk and the new treasure map that didn’t include Canada. I felt insulted! How could Mr. Fenn just wipe an entire nation, my nation, out of the search?

    One day I discovered an awesome creek that had a waterfall that flowed into the Rio Grande River near Pilar, New Mexico, named Agua Caliente. The Spanish translation was “hot water” or “warm waters.” I remember thinking to myself, “had I found the Holy Grail of the first clues?”

    Soon something awesome happened, it all came together, I believed that I had constructed the ultimate solution but there is no way I could search for it since I promised my wife never to mention Forrest Fenn again. I was contemplating how to deal with this conundrum when I realized something very important. So important in fact, that it could affect the very fibre that weaves our family existence. I still had one child left that has not experience the thrill of the chase! My son Alex was at university when we first searched and he was working when we went the second time. I decided to plead to her sense of family fairness and explained that she couldn’t just exclude one child from this adventure. She briefly paused, indicating that I had her undivided attention, so I went for the jugular and used my ace in the hole argument, “and besides he is really lucky”. Somehow Alex wins seemingly everything, but to be honest I think his luck is just some freaky statistical phenomenon, but it is what she believes is all that matters. It was this reluctant acknowledgement of his luck that finally convinced her and the next thing I knew I was on a flight to meet my lucky son in Santa Fe.

    On the drive up to Pilar, NM, we had a good discussion about school, girls and life in general. Once we arrived, we confirmed the location where the Agua Caliente Creek worked its way into the Rio Grande, which is the Canyon I would take down stream to the Embudo Rail Station. The station has been converted to a brewery and I feel this brewery is the home of Brown Ale. Beer has never been discussed before as a link to the home of Brown but Forrest did say you “might want to bring along a six pack to help celebrate the thrill of a breath taking discovery”.

    I enthusiastically explain to Alex the history of this railroad station and how Alex’s great grandfather was once a railroad station master. This conversation brought back fond memories and I hoped to convey the importance of this nostalgic moment with my son. He did not seem to be as excited as I was, but we really weren’t here to reminisce; we were here to find that treasure. I explained to him that we now need to use our imagination. We have to imagine that the road leading back to the north along the Rio Grande was actually the original old Chili Line railroad tracks. Further, we have to imagine going back in time when the steam engine was used. There once was an old steam engine named Canon Diablo that operated out of this station. What I found interesting is that Diablo is Spanish for devil which is no place for the meek.

    Next we imagine hitching a ride on the Canon Diablo train and we follow the old Chili (worth the cold) line, north bound along the old railway grade past the old wooden water tower which is now a gravel road. Our imaginary train draws our heavy load of ore about a mile when we turn nigh and we look back like an owl and recognize the junction of the road and the railroad station as an “F”. I yell out, “this must be the blaze!” Our excitement escalates as we sense we are getting really close. We look down and our collective jaws drop. It can’t be, this is what I have always envisioned as his special place. After a brief moment of just staring in awe, we approach like zealots towards this amazing cave as it beckons to us. It is a manmade cave carved in sandstone and is one of the famous “Ra Paulette” caves which were highlighted on the Academy Award nominated “Cave Digger.” As we near the cave, I further explain to Alex that the man who made these caves does it all by himself, it takes several years to complete one of these caves and all he uses is a shovel and a trowel to create these amazing and artistic sandstone caves.

    We are surprised that no one is around and that the door is unlocked, so we walk in and gaze around. This place is absolutely astonishing, we stare in disbelief as to how just one person could sculpt such extraordinary art by hand. I become at one with the power of this place and I immediately understand this is what Forrest meant by his special place. To die in something like this would be absolutely amazing- wait did I just say that?! Well, you get my point. We climb the stairs and find a custom made bathtub made of ceramic tiles. This is no ordinary tub; this tub is a mosaic tile tub that consists entirely of rainbow colors. When I look down underneath the tub to the first floor I am drawn to the main hard wooden floor with a darker circle right under the tub. Say it isn’t so! The treasure must be “in the wood,” the wooden floor under that dark circle. Sure a circle makes perfect sense, an “X” would be too obvious but the T.S. Elliot circular reference is a perfect hint. I don’t even take the time to think how he managed to place it under there as I grab the ice axe and I raise it above my head. Alex cries out “ No don’t do it!” and before he could finish I struck the floor chipping out a large piece. I start to swing frantically as I seemingly transformed into Jack Nicholson in the movie “The Shining”. Small pieces of wood were flying everywhere and Alex said I looked like one of those wood chippers used in the move “Fargo.” I finally break through and I hear a metal on metal sound as my axe stuck the dirt. We desperately remove the dirt from around the object. We suddenly freeze in awe for a brief moment. We cannot believe our eyes; this is it! I gently pulled the round egg like object out of the uterus like soil. This jewel encrusted egg was no ordinary egg … it was an alien egg! “Wolf …Wolf … Wolf” . I can hear a distant God like voice, fuzzy at first, becoming louder and clearer. “Wolf wake up, you are having a nightmare” my wife was shaking me and I realize that this was all a horrible dream. “What were you dreaming about,” she asked? “Nothing, nothing at all, can’t remember, you know how dreams are …,” I respond very nervously.

    I lay back in my bed and stare at the ceiling and give a huge sigh of relief and I am grateful that I woke up just prior to staring into that beam of light and getting my face melted off, like that Nazi Gestapo agent in the Raiders of the Lost Arc. I wonder what was happening to me; why am I having such strange dreams and why are they all about Forrest Fenn? Then I give a little smirk as I realize that I am back living the thrill of the chase.

    The Wolf

    • Well done! I have a big smile on my face long after finishing the read of your story. Best of luck to you–I bet your wife will warm up to this chase if you win the prize.

      • Thanks Raven! lol One can only hope since I dug myself a pretty deep hole!!!!
        The Wolf

    • That’s a pretty awesome story and your solve or dream is unlike any other I’ve heard. Great story Wolf!

      • Thanks Ed, some of my best thinking comes when I am asleep. Now if I can only figure out how to work while sleeping I will be set!
        The Wolf

  62. I could tell a story that takes the cake, Red Velvet, but will save for a rainy day when we feel we can laugh again about it.

  63. 45
    Charmay and (Michael McGarrity) and Me

    At the Collected Works bookstore Michael McGarrity is giving a talk on his new book “Backlands.” It’s a small, intimate group of people gathered and he opens with “who has read my latest book?” Almost every hand goes up except mine and I think about raising my hand to join the crowd but resist. I am sure Michael notices that I am pretty much the lone holdout but how could that possibly matter? He’ll never see me again …

    After Michael’s talk, we cross the street to the San Francisco Bar and Grill for dinner. There are hardly any people in the restaurant but, strangely, we are seated in a booth that backs up to the only other party in the place. Halfway through their famous hamburger (add green chile and cheddar cheese but hold the onion, lettuce, tomato and pickle), I hear about eighteen inches from my ear “Oh, Charmay!”

    I thought “it couldn’t be!” but turned my head slightly and recognized Charmay from the TFTW pictures. I made really big eyes at my wife and nodded my head in that direction – I got a blank stare. So I leaned in and whispered “its Charmay.” Another blank stare. So I tried it louder( but still at a whisper level) “ITS CHARMAY!” Blank stare again. Fine. Never mind. Whatever. Hasn’t everyone memorized the all the Forrest Fenn books? And Robert Redford’s Outlaw Trail?

    Then Michael McGarrity enters the restaurant and seems to head straight for our table but swerves at the last second and sits with Charmay and the several other people in the both behind us.

    Holy Cow (Bessie)! Right behind me are two of Forrest’s friends who have seen the chest! There has to be a way to get some really good intel out of this situation. But soon Charmay leaves and Michael stands up… but instead of leaving, he pulls a chair from a nearby table and sits at the end of our booth! He has recognized us and asks what we thought of the Collected Works talk and soon the other people at the table are bantering back and forth on his previous books and how the new book fits into the series. I stay quiet and start to dream up Search questions to ask him, waiting for a break in the flow. Maybe I’ll ask what wonderful objects he saw in the chest …

    Then Michael pauses and looks over at me but before I can say anything, he asks something like (and I forget the exact phrase) “so, you haven’t read any of my books?” My mind goes blank in embarrassment and all my pre-thought out questions flitter away. I can’t even think of the obvious response “because I spent the last year reading and rereading TTOTC.” So I mumble the clever “I don’t know” and Michael turns back to obviously better read members of the table and the banana is gone.


  64. 44
    I Married Forrest Fenn

    Forrest Fenn doesn’t know this and has not formally even met me, but I think I married him by mistake. That is, I first married another cute, younger guy named Russ, and he was wonderful and all, but as soon as we moved to New Mexico last summer I told Russ casually that I heard that this guy named Forrest Fenn had written a book and hidden a treasure. Russ did not seem too impressed initially and even skipped the book talk at Collected Works with Forrest Fenn, Michael McGarrity, and Douglas Preston. Fine, that was when Russ was still Russ.

    Shortly after that I think it nagged in my Russ’s “guy-wired” brain that some guy named Forrest had hidden a treasure somewhere in the Western U.S.! Russ wandered one day off the plaza and bought himself a copy of TTOTC. Innocent enough, right? Lots of people buy that book. No big deal.

    Meanwhile as Russ began reading the book, I had visions of exploring the Southwest and backpacking with Russ, casually meandering wherever we wanted to go. I thought, okay, we can day trip, camp out casually, and see some nature. One day I said to Russ as I had been studying local hiking trails: “I just found this great place we can hike this weekend!” (To which Russ typically said, oh that sounds great, honey!) Instead Russ said: “I have a better idea … I know WHERE Forrest Fenn’s treasure is!” What?! Yowza, we’re going to be rich, let’s go!! Those were innocent times.

    Soon, however, this theme took on grand proportions. Russ was consumed by the book, the puzzle, the difficulty of the task, and as many people are hooked, he also began to live, breathe, eat, and sleep Forrest Fenn. The moment I realized that I was, in fact, possibly becoming far more married to a guy named Forrest Fenn than to the man I formally recognized as Russ, was when Russ said, for the 10th time or so: “I know exactly where it is?! Let’s go!” Hmmm, I thought. What does “exactly” mean anyway? And who IS this man who has come and hijacked the dreams, vision, and attention of my husband?! That darn Forrest. (Secretly FF became a new swear word in my head as I began to curse and dread each new twist and turn that Russ took in knowing just exactly, yes exactly (NOT), where the treasure is… NOT.)

    Soon I was backpacking for my first time miles into wilderness areas carrying bear spray and pondering signs at the trailhead warning of grizzly bear sightings. One time we even camped out hours away from civilization with a stash of Pine Sol and mothballs surrounding our tent because Russ had researched what scientific experiments have demonstrated actually repels the big brown critters.
    And that, my friends, was the precise moment I knew that Russ, my first husband, had become Forrest Fenn, my second husband. That darned Forrest!


  65. 49
    So four months ago I’m on facebook and I discover my biological dad that I haven’t seen in over Fifty years, and his four daughters and one son… all grown but younger half siblings that I’ve never met before! I reconnect with them and I’m overjoyed to find that they are warm and welcoming. My dad invites my sister and my wife and I to come down from Utah to stay with them in Sante Fe for a week, and to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary and meet the family. I’m loving this and life is great!

    The itinerary includes family breakfasts & dinner parties, visiting art galleries, swimming, attending church to hear my brother’s and sister’s band, visiting and hanging out with family, oh and going with my brother on a treasure hunt for real gold with clues to its location furnished by my dad and deciphered from a poem! How exciting! My wife and I just finished a 20-mile hike on Mt. Timpanogos in Utah for the-fun-of-it without any prospect of finding gold, so yeah, I’m in, right?

    So everything is going great; and the day of the hike, I find that we will be visiting 5 hot springs and traveling about 200 miles. Pretty stiff for a one-day shot at finding the treasure, so our clues from the poem had better be good, huh? After a cursory reading of this, we’re pretty sure that the treasure can be found down-stream from a hot spring, and is sitting in an outhouse that might have been parched. The author has a sense of humor — house of Brown, up a creek with no paddle, heavy loads & high waters — lol, what else could it be, right?

    So my brother and my wife and I head out and I’m jokingly offering to hold their feet while they bob for treasure, I mean they ought to have no problem going in head first for something of this value… even with their mouths wide open, you think? 😉 Anyway, we’re having fun, but by mid-afternoon we still haven’t found this thing… our analysis of the clues isn’t as sharp as we thought.

    Then we stop at a shining landmark… it’s a waterfall! We get out of my bro’s truck and decide to compare this to the poem. It’s down the Canyon from a hot spring, not too far, but too far to walk. It’s a house of Brown. There’s no paddling up that creek. The only problem is that someone has to “put in” and endure the cold, and I hate the cold and I’m embarrassingly white as well. However, by popular vote, I get elected. Luckily I’m wearing short pants and only have to shed my shirt and shoes to begin my exploratory venture. So with loving family happily urging me on I slip into the stream and start heading for the waterfall.

    As luck would have it, a crowd of curious onlookers form, and several women approach my wife and brother and ask, “is he looking for the treasure?” My brother responds, “How did you know?” and the women smile and explain that their husbands have already thoroughly searched that spot when it had much lower water levels. Naturally, neither my wife nor brother mentioned this to me, but just keep smiling and urging me on. After all, I’ll learn the bitter truth after I’ve pulled my cold, white, freshly-wrinkled body out of the water, and then we can all have a good laugh together. 😉

    No we didn’t find the gold that day, but we did take home a lasting treasure. And even though I hadn’t previously known of Forrest Fenn, I feel I know him a little better now; and — along with many others — I think I understand more of what he really relishes in the thrill of his chase.

    • I really love stories like yours where searchers are reunited with family members and they find treasures even without finding the chest. Nicely done!

  66. Life is a maze full of misguided turns,
    The more you live the more you learn.
    The longer it takes to choose the right way,
    The better the chance is that you’ll go astray.

    The paths all vary from whence they begin,
    And they all lead to nowhere we’ve ever been.
    There’s no right way to get there, but when you arrive
    You will finally discover the meaning of life.

    The twists and turns of the paths you take
    Carve the life that your memories make.
    Living well is not a straight line.
    Of course your path will be different than mine.

    But we share our paths through the stories we tell
    To those who would listen, and share theirs as well.
    Sometimes they do cross, and may run together
    And we find someone else that makes our lives better.

    The time always comes that a person takes stock,
    And realizes forever is just too far to walk.
    No matter where we begin, or what we may say,
    All of our paths end just the same way.

    So follow your dreams, and hear your heart sing.
    But choose your paths wisely and mind what you bring.
    Because life is to short to ponder too long,
    Try to study the music and you might miss the song.

  67. Thanks guys….all of the contributors on this blog are special! This will sound ridiculous, but you all are kinda like my surrogate family!

    • Family is where you find it. Hopefully you can read your poem at the Oct conference 🙂

  68. Crazy …right. Lots of fun especially when you turn on the news and witness all of the terrible things taking place in the world. At least we’ll all know the good hiding spots if ever that becomes necessary…….Hope not!

  69. Here is my story entry. I’m holding to Dal’s rules because rules for a contest are RULES. Thanks Dal for what you’re doing.

    What a Mess!

    We started the TH in Montana, Monday 8/4 in drizzling rain, 2:15 pm. FNG=ForecastNotGood. Our goal for camp was the upper trail where “the creek” crossed or abouts. Grizzly Country.
    I told the guys (my 2 sons), for the last 6 months, that it was a 3 mile hike… (Well, in a straight line). They’re in their 20s and in way better shape than me). About 1-1/2 miles in at a steep switchback we stopped to rest, again. Topo maps lie by the way. Seriously.
    Might as well tell you I couldn’t decide whether the guys were laughing or concerned about how red my face and neck was getting. I’m 50. The fact that I had Kruel on wasn’t helping. “Dad, you’re seriously RED. Just sit down and take that jacket off!” So I did. Plopped down right on the side of the path and in some “mess”. Didn’t know it at the time.
    On the way up we had cell service… taking pics and texting my wife to keep her informed about us, each time telling her this might be the last contact for 3 days. Absolutely beautiful, each moment, whichever way we looked. My guys have NEVER been to this part of the country and especially not the wilderness. Even though they didn’t say much the look on their faces became a special moment for me, they were glad they had come along.
    At the trail switch sign, through the flats and over a ridge… there was a herd of roaming cows. What? Anyway, forward we moved through another fence line. More cows. I said, “man it stinks !” “Naw Dad, that’s the mess on your butt and the backpack” my eldest said coldly and honestly. Oh great! I have a backpack full for 3 day rotation all “smeared up”. That’s not going away soon!
    Finally, GPS spot for camp, rain has stopped enough for setup, building the fire pit and eating. Everywhere we wanted to set camp… patties. Map trails are called livestock/games trails. Rain and drizzle most of the night. Miserable, smelly.
    Up at 6:30, built fire to dry, eat and bathe in the cold creek. Broke camp about 8:30, headed out downstream following the soggy game trails south. Found the blaze. Multiple pics. Played around a bit after the revelation. Ate and here they came. Yet another herd wanting their spot (This isn’t their spot, this in Forrest’ special area). Should have known, game and cow excrement everywhere again. Now I’m a Texan and use to cow patties and other such stuff, but this here in Montana never dries out it seems…
    Headed downstream, dodging when able, to my cold treasure spot. I was heading into the water. From the ridge line my sons were waving their arms saying, “Noooooo!” Then I heard with chaffing chuckle, “DAD, what are you doing? Are you crazy, treasure hunting or washing off the poo?”
    Now it’s your guess.

    • James, laughter is good medicine when everything stinks. Enjoyed your story and pray your group’s project is successful in blessing others. Do you plan to continue searching?

  70. The story contest ends at Noon tomorrow. So you have only a few hours left to enter. See the rules at the top of the page. See the link to the prize…

  71. 42
    OK! OK! I’ll get my story told- just so ya all
    stop bugging me to give my solve away –

    As I have gone alone in there ——- So I went all alone – sad

    and with my tre a sures bold ——- So, as sure as heck, I took a tree with me , right in front of everybody

    I can keep my secret where I can’t keep a secret fur nothin – so did’nt even try

    And hint of riches new and old So I called out Rich. noone came; then called out – old Rich and new Rich = but nobody came.

    Begin it where WWWH So I started on the computer

    And take it in the can yon down Where is my can of beer – oh yeah – down the hatch

    Not far, but too far to walk Who wants to walk when you can ride?

    Put in below the home of Brown That was easy – a fish

    From there it’s no place for the meek It’s not meek drinkin all that beer

    The end is ever drawing nigh Does that mean my hangover is goin away

    There’ll be no paddle up you r creek I won’t be paddled for drinkin too much?

    Just heavy loads andd water high Oh man – whats tat about

    If you been wise and found the blaze — wise eyes – blazing saddles – oh yeah were ridin not walkin

    Look quickly down, your quest to cease – What is my quest – I think I forgot – but what ever it is – it’s gonna stop

    But Tarry scant with marvel gaze Look hard – better get the hick, I mean heck outta here

    Just take the chest and go in peace Thar’s no peace – he must have been meanin a party

    So why is it that I must go and leave my trove for all to seek – What? I didn’t think I was goin anywhere and noones lookin fer me – yet

    i’ve done itred and now im week Im alway tired and week or so late

    so hear me all and listen good listening is not something I do well – hear you – you been yakin so much it’s hard

    your e fort will be worth the col.d Theres gona be a fort sooooon with no heat

    If your brave and in the wood Who wants to go into a piece of wood – and who would need to be brave – to do something so stupid

    I give your title to the gold Awh heck – and here we go – in the end the gold wins

  72. 41
    In July my wife Tracey and I went to visit my sister Karen and her husband Bill in Colorado, and to check my spot while out west. During the first few days the four of us went to Red Rocks, Garden Of The Gods, Paint Mines and Rocky Mountain National Park. What wonderful places to see, and this is the farthest west I have ever been. I’m 59 and never saw an aspen tree until this trip. They are beautiful trees, I love them. My wife has seen them before and sis says in the fall they turn a copper brown color.

    Prior to entering R.M.N.P. we picked up some munchies and drinks. When we reached the upper regions of the park I noticed our un-opened bag of carmel Chex Mix had inflated like a mylar party balloon ready to burst. We waited till later to open it.

    At one of our stops to take photos Tracey had her eye on a shot of an adjacent mountain but without all the foreground, so she began walking to get the foreground behind her. Apparently she missed the sign stating stay on the walkways to prevent damage to the fragile tundra. Karen and Bill stayed on the walkway and I was slightly delayed but soon arrived to see my wife breaking the rules, and that’s not like her at all. Tracey is deaf and just kept walking without looking back so I went to get her before the Rangers saw her damaging the tundra. We headed back to the walkway and waiting for us there are two Rangers and I’m thinking we’re in trouble. They were nice about it and simply reminded us to stay on the walkways. The rest of the trip was great. If Bill had not pointed it out to me, I never would have seen the cell towers disguised as trees. Nice touch Colorado.

    Then THE day arrived. The day I would look for and hopefully come back with the chest. Tracey went too. We had to drive a while but finally arrived near the spot. After a 0.6 mile walk (littered with the burroughs/tunnels of some critter which made walking difficult because of the sudden sinking footfalls) we arrived at the spot. I immediately searched the GPS co-ordinance spot… nothing. I continued searching the Blaze area clearing many tumbleweeds… nothing. I began looking underneath pieces of wood near the Blaze, some could be rolled, some I pried up to look under. My lever was a log about the size of an over-sized baseball bat and while prying up one log the lever tip broke off and the remaining portion hit me on the forehead between the eyes. Except for the mark and the bump I was ok and continued to search. After thoroughly searching the spot I came to the conclusion that someone got it before me and didn’t tell. Oh, there is the slim chance that I was wrong and it wasn’t here at all. Peter

  73. 40
    My confidence was high my first trip and with breathless excitement I trekked across the frozen crust of snow in the early March dawn. My pack was heavy with ‘gear’. Soon the sun was blazing and it quickly warmed the winter air. I began to break through the crust and discovered that snow depths were 2-3 feet on the north-facing slopes. I imagined I was on a K2 expedition. Post-holing to my knees, I gasped for the thin mountain air, stopping to rest every few feet.

    Several hours later I arrived on top of a barren wind-swept mesa. It looked nothing like I imagined, based on my countless hours of peering at Google Earth imagery. Where I thought there was a hidden geothermal spring I found a frozen stock pond. Where there should have been deposits of petrified wood, amazing fossils, and a cave, I found frozen cow pies. That feeling of thrill and pride in my genius-solve began to turn into the realization of my own silly naïveté.

    Even though I had gravity working for me on the return I worked up a fierce sweat. I tried walking on top of bushes, but that really didn’t keep me from sinking deep. Then I did a face plant. The cold crust on my face and torso felt surprisingly wonderful and refreshing. I rolled onto my side and just lay there, my feet uphill, resting. Perhaps I was lying on the Chest, I thought … the silence of the place enveloped me, and I began to feel sleepy and strangely happy. Then I realized that I must avoid hypothermia, keep moving and get back to my truck.

    Driving out, and a thousand feet lower, a movement off to my right caught my eye. Running urgently toward me at full speed, was a large pronghorn. Then he stopped, turned sideways and began to paw at the ground. I felt that all of the forces of the Universe had combined to work through this beautiful animal and let me know that this was where the Chest was buried. I brought my truck to a sudden halt. Wasting no time I got out, slid down the embankment on my can, and ran across the sagebrush. In a state of heightened glee and confidence I hurdled a beautiful brown conglomerate boulder, skipped over a dry arroyo, and topped the horizon where the sun hit me in the face. I looked quickly down and noticed that the antelope had gone in peace. I realized then that my treasure was not just my family, my health, this beautiful country, but also that I can laugh at myself. Then I remembered a speech Steve Jobs gave to a bunch of Harvard graduates “Stay hungry, stay foolish”, he advised. I guess I’m O.K. after all, I reasoned. As the sun dipped out of sight my thoughts drifted back to the poem… ‘but, what does it mean to “So hear me all and listen good”?’

  74. Not sure I can do it justice in 500 words or less. I’ll post the full (verbose) version here. Then I’ll send along a whittled-down version to make the 500 word limit, shortly.

    If a Bare Poops in the Woods, and Nobody hears it, did it Happen?

    There is an irrefutable and inexorable lesson Mother Nature teaches: you must be selective about who you take with you on your adventures, if you hope to have positive experiences in the outdoors. If you forget this lesson, you’ll get to learn it again.

    So, after many months of Google-hunting, and blog-lurking, an in-law family get- together in Southern Colorado, provided me with an excuse to get into actual treasure-hunting territory, I was very excited!

    As my wife and I were loading my day-pack and gear into the vehicle, the 10 year old neighbor kid shows up bedecked in a plastic Ninja-Turtles backpack, and what looked like pajama-bottoms, announcing: “I’m ready to find the treasure!” “Oh yeah, I mentioned it to him yesterday, he thought it would be fun to come along on our adventure,” my wife whispered, as she slipped around the other side of the car.

    Now, I know that Forrest has hoped that this search might encourage folks to get off the couch and out into nature together, and I really do enjoy spending time with kids; I’m the favorite uncle. However, from what little I’d observed of this young fellow, video games, television, eating Doritos and red licorice, and whining about it were his four greatest strengths, and no one had heretofore observed the remainder of his “top ten.”

    I caught up to my wife, and tried to explain that hiking in the canyon would be pretty strenuous, and that the search could be quite tedious for a child with the attention span of a fruit fly. (well, that’s not exactly how I phrased it.) She assured me that he would do “just fine.” …It became clear that this was not a battle worth pursuing. And who knows, maybe it would be good learning experience for the boy, I lied to myself. (oh yes, there would be some LEARNING, all right!)

    On the drive, young Stephen explained how his pajamas were the most comfortable thing he had to wear so that he would not “chaff” his legs, while I munched on the bag of fresh plums that his mother had sent along with him. “It’s important to stay hydrated.”

    After checking a couple of “wild hunches” in neighboring canyons, and MacDonald’s for the wee one; “I don’t like your sandwiches,” we finally arrived at the location of my “real solve”, rather later than I had hoped, but thrilled to finally be in the chase! I assumed that the little ache that had started in my stomach would pass as I began hiking; I guess I did eat quite a few of those plums. (oh yes, something was going to PASS alright…)

    We waved to the Forest Service guy as we walked past his little ranger’s hut, on the way to the trailhead. I had a sweatshirt tied around my waist, camera around my neck, and the daypack loaded with everybody’s stuff. (I wanted to make this as easy and pleasant as possible for my crew.)

    We had only seen one other couple on the trail as we climbed gently through the pines and aspens of this beautiful canyon. I had been able to identify a couple of the clues that I had been hoping to find, and Stephen had been surprisingly cooperative for the better part of an hour!

    I knew that the trail was about to grow steeper, so we took a short break. My stomach was feeling well enough that I even ventured one more of those juicy plums.

    Before long, our young companion began to grow restless as the climbing began to grow more challenging. As I hiked, the camera, suspended from the strap around my neck, would swing out from my chest with every step. Steven found that by providing an extra flick of his wrist he could make the camera swing much higher. After it almost bounced off my face several times, I anchored the camera by tying the strap onto my belt with some webbing, ending the game.

    With the main vehicle of his amusement eliminated, and the trail growing ever more strenuous, our young Stephen seemed determined to prove to my wife that it had been short-sighted inviting him along in the first place. Another quarter-hour was all that was required to settle it in her mind. He had been complaining vociferously, then finally announced that he was too tired, and refused to go any further, “I don’t care about that stupid treasure, anyway!”

    My wife agreed to walk him back down to the car. They would try to find MacDonald’s Playland or something, and I would phone them on the way down as soon as I could get reception, and we would meet at the ranger’s hut in a few hours. And I didn’t even use any of the following words: I, Told, You, or So.

    Even though my stomachache had returned, I felt excited about making better time on a quiet, alpine trail. My enthusiasm began to wan, however, as my stomach grew more painful, and began to grumble. Then, rather quickly, I had a sense (like some women have a certain intuition about things; even without seeing something, they just know…) that a Port-O-John one hundred yards away, was still gonna be at least a long field goal or two from being close enough.

    It is funny how, when in a tense situation, while our bodies are furiously working to reach their goal, our minds, which we are sometimes told typically only work at three percent of their capacity, can be pursuing various avenues. Mine was remembering that a plum was really just the mom or dad of the notoriously liberating prune; and, it was cursing those dastardly gold-hunting Spaniards who had treated old Montezuma so shabily.

    I looked around for a nearby tree for some cover. I began my careful duck-walk toward the small stand of aspens about thirty feet off the winding trail, as I began to get a little head-start on my belt.

    When I hurriedly tried to slide the belt out, I found that the strap that I had anchored the camera with prevented my effort. It felt like the time when you were swimming in that pond as a kid, and a branch from a submerged log hooked on the back pocket of your swim trunks… I got a little anxious!

    My “let’s consider some things” brain says, “ well, it is getting to be nearly dusk, and we’ve only seen one other set of hikers so far, what’s the chance there will be any more, any time soon?” I agree, and so, like a coyote sqeezing under the bottom string of bobwire, I slipped one of the camera lanyard straps over my head, slid out of my backpack and sweatshirt, and dropped my …apparel to an appropriate altitude.

    Almost simultaneously, to my absolute horror, my ears were picking up the one sound above all, that I did not wish to hear: human voices. *#@$%! What my considering brain may have overlooked is the possibility that late afternoon might actually be a perfectly apropos time frame for day hikers to descend that trail before the path grew dark.

    So, without too much detail, perhaps I can provide you my coordinates: There I am, and although it is not even dusk yet, the full moon is out. I have heavy clothing and hiking accoutrements tangled (like manacles) about my ankles, digestive, ummm …urgency at LEVEL NINE, and Life’s Most Embarrassing Moment about to walk around that bend in the trail!

    I (now) thank all the Norse gods and Native American dieties that I had decided to wear my running shoes rather than my hiking boots that morning, so that I was able to… carefully yank my feet out of those shoes and shackles and leave it all in a jumble beside the path. Have you ever tried to sprint in a duck-walk with your knees together? It’s tricky!

    I scrambled behind those trees with about a second and a half to spare before a couple of rather fit-looking middle-aged women and a pre-teen girl rounded the bend in the trail.

    I hunkered down low behind the tree-trunks, praying that they would quickly pass by. However, of course they stopped when they saw my tangled heap. I could hear just about half of what they were saying as they scanned the area, looking concerned. I took a few peeks at them, but mostly kept my head down and out of sight.

    I saw one of the ladies pick up the pants (and the, …uh, skivvies) and shot the other one a funny look that, from a distance, looked somewhere between amused and disturbed, before burying my head in my forearms again, vaguely aware that various (biting and non-biting) flying insects were taking an increased interest in me.

    They began to rather hurriedly gather everything up; I heard one say something about taking it to the ranger’s hut. (“no, thank you very much for your concern Ma’am, but pleeease, just leave it there! …My ESP didn’t work.)

    Now, I did indeed seriously consider broaching the issue of personal property rights and related matters, but when I found myself wearing nothing but a tee shirt and socks, hiding in a thicket, at nearly dusk beside a thinly traveled hiking trail, I just seemed to find myself struggling to find the most appropriate sentence structure, verb tenses, and phrasing with which to communicate with these unfamiliar womenfolk. And then there was the whole… digestive…situation. I really was having trouble imagining a Win-Win outcome for the four of us.

    Obviously, after they had passed out of view it dawned on me that with my back pack they had carried off my little roll of toilet paper; oh, and my cell phone. And despite all of this, I guess I also need to thank all those Norse gods that the thicket I got myself stranded in was aspens, and not pines…ouch!

    Well, I wasn’t going to walk down that trail adorned as I was! It took me about ten minutes to figure out that I could fashion a sort of a “modesty shield”/duck-blind by tying several aspen branches together with one of my socks, to at least provide a bit of cover. (Now I understand why my father recommended always wearing two pair of socks when hiking.)

    By the time I was …um, tidied-up and outfitted, (and the mosquitoes had lightened my load by about a quart,) dusk had really begun to set in. I don’t remember ever feeling so grateful for a dark hiking trail before! I wasn’t sure what I’d find down at the trailhead. Would there be a group of forest rangers looking for a lost hiker, or a posse of police looking for a pervert?

    I began limping down the mountain about thirty feet off of the trail, with one eye on the trail, and the other trying to avoid introducing my sock-feet to pine cones, sharp rocks, burrs, and elk scat.

    I only saw two more sets of hikers on my way down. I am very glad that that second hiker’s dog was willing to bark at me from the trail, and did not feel it necessary to visit with me as I lay belly down in mountain laurel.

    It was almost two hours later that I finally caught sight of the small light from the ranger’s hut. I wasn’t sure what I might find. As I cautiously crept closer I could see the pack and equipment leaning up against the door. I guess the ranger had already closed up shop. Bless you, Odin!

    I made a quick dash, grabbed my gear, and got myself reassembled behind a bush, before making the phone call that got me out of there; and I was only missing a single item! If I make it back there for another hunt for the treasure, I’ll keep my eyes open for that missing pair of skivies.

  75. 39
    If a Bare Poops in the Woods, and Nobody hears it, did it Happen?-2

    With late start and bag of fresh plums I drove toward my treasure–hunt, assuming the little ache that had started in my stomach would pass as I began hiking. Had I eaten too many?

    Passing the ranger’s hut, at the trailhead, sweatshirt around waist, camera around neck, and a full daypack, I had near canyon solitude. My stomach felt better, so I ventured one more juicy plum.

    I tied my camera strap to my belt to keep it from bouncing around as I walked.

    Then my stomach grew painful, and began to grumble again. Rather quickly, I had a sense that a Port-O-John 100 yards away, was still gonna be at least a long field goal from being close enough. Note to self: I don’t care if they’re small, six plums is TOO many!

    As I urgently tried to release my belt, the knotted strap wouldn’t let me out; I got desperate! So, like a coyote squeezing under bobwire, I slipped out of the camera straps, backpack, and sweatshirt, dropping my …apparel to an appropriate altitude, at trail-side.

    Immediately, I hear approaching human voices.; *#@$%! So there I am, and although not even dusk yet, the full moon is out. I have clothing and hiking accoutrements tangled (like manacles) around my ankles, digestive, uh …urgency at LEVEL NINE, and Life’s Most Embarrassing Moment about to walk around that bend in the trail.

    I frantically yanked my feet out of my shoes and left everything in a jumble beside the path. Ever tried to sprint with your knees together? It’s tricky!
    Scrambling thirty feet behind those trees with a moment spare before three women rounded the bend. While hunkered down behind young aspens, they paused at my gear, looking around, perplexed.

    One of them picks up the pants (and.., skivvies) and shoots the others a look somewhere between amused and disturbed. They quickly collected everything, and one mentioned taking it to the ranger.

    Now, I thought about saying something regarding personal property rights, but I was wearing nothing but a tee shirt and socks, hiding in a thicket;… and found myself struggling to find the most appropriate words to communicate with these gentle-womenfolk. And then there was the whole …digestive …situation…

    In my pack was my emergency toilet paper, car keys, and cell phone; %*@#! I tied several aspen branches together with one of my socks, to at least provide a bit of cover. I called it my “modesty shield.” By the time I was …um, tidied-up and outfitted, (and the mosquitoes had lightened my weight by about a quart,) dusk had arrived.

    I descended the mountain, thirty feet off-trail, in sock-feet, wary of hikers, side-stepping sharp rocks and elk scat.

    Finally back to the ranger’s hut. The equipment was leaning up against the door of the unattended hut. I got myself reassembled behind a bush, only missing a single item! If I make it back there for another treasure hunt, I’ll keep my eyes open for those missing skivvies.

  76. 38
    It was a good day for the hunt. We had spent an interesting night at a local motel whose amenities bordered on the unusual to say the least. The day before my party of 14 had checked in to be greeted by an empty desk and a note that stated “gone to Rodeo call this number” So we did and before long a tough looking woman arrived to get us settled. The rates were a little different than what were advertised and my stepmother and hostess started to square off in what would surely become a full on brawl if the rodeo lady had her way. Sensing we might be spending the night in Raton if we didn’t agree to the terms I assured the receptionist that terms and accomodations were just peachy keen and could we get our keys to the rooms. My father could not get the key to work on his room so the lady was called in. She tried to get the key to work but was unsuccessfull. She stated, “There’s another way” and started to open the window adjacent to the door. My father who uses a cane said, “I hope you don’t expect me to crawl through the window” and she replied, “No, I expect your grandson to.” My son hopped through no problem and viola the door was opened. The lady smiled. Service with a smile, I like that. “Now”, She said, “I’m going to be honest with you, one of the other two rooms doesn’t have airconditioning but, ” raising her hand to fend off the protests that were welling up in our throats, “they are adjoining rooms and you only have to open the door between the rooms and quick as you please you have two airconditioned rooms.” The lady smiled again. That smile was starting to lose its appeal. Just as she stated one of the rooms did in fact have airconditioning, it was a portable unit whose hose was duct taped to the window. Sometime in late afternoon, the duct tape came off and the hose fell to the floor. As any conscientous lodger would do I went to the office to see if it could be fixed. Again our hostess with her ever charming personality had a solution. She slammed a roll of duct tape on the counter and asked if one of my boys could tape it or did she have to come down and do it herself. Needless to say one of my boys taped the hose to the window. And so passed our first night there.

    Ah yes, it was a good day for the hunt. The day was bright and full of promise as our party minus my father set off on road 204 past the Chase ranch to the gate separating it from Philmont. We opened the gate to the watching eyes of many boyscouts and made our way past them to Elliott Barker. We drove slowly and the kids suddenly saw something shiny in the meadow grass. “A plane” They shouted and we stopped the vehicle with everyone spilling out and kids racing to the spot. I walked up to the twisted metal just in time to hear my nephew tell everyone that he was pretty sure it was a fuselage to a single engine cesna. Suppressing smiles, the adults said nothing until the kids had gone out of earshot and then I stated, I’m pretty sure its some rusted piece of metal to an old stock tank. but since imagination is more important than knowledge it didn’t seem prudent to correct my nephew. I remembered how excited we all were when we thought it was a plane. At the edge of Elliott Barker we parked the car and passed through the gate into the Valle Vidal. Except it wasn’t, just yet. We suddenly found ourselves on Ted Turner’s land at the Rich cabins used by Philmont. Scouts gathered around us as I asked if this trail bordered the Valle. The scout ranger, obviously from back east pronounced it “Vaul” and asked if we had come up through “Bahker” He was pretty nice though and let us pass through and we trudged up middle ponil canyon amidst wildflowers abounding everywhere. At 36 degrees, 41 minutes a huge trunk of a burnt out tree stood but no treasure. It seemed we were nearing the mouth of middle Ponil canyon and I was just so sure that mountains I knew rimmed the Valle were going to jump out at us any second but that never happend. The walls of the canyon were too high. Rain drenched us twice and I fell on my butt and slid down in the mud. A party of scouts weathered out the downpoor with us under some trees all of us standing together without a word spoken listening to the rain and wood cracking sounds that echoed down the canyon. For the rest of walk I was especially attentive to my nephew, not wanting to curb his enthusiasm, and listened to all his ideas intently as any good auntie would. Well an exhausted and treasureless troop of wet searchers finally made it back to our motel that evening.

    On the last day, I was preparing my shower and had turned the hot water on when all of a sudden it just went off. The cold water was still on but nothing coming out of the hot water faucet. Turning the water off and muttering that the manager probably had a switch in the office that she flipped when she felt it was time for guests to check out. The next second we could hear the voice of the manager as she walked by the room telling guests she had turned the hot water off and probably wouldn’t be back on til the afternoon. (Having water problems, she said but good news the toilets would now flush) What she didn’t know was that I was used to taking cold showers back at home. Every time I ran out of propane, we would suffer until next payday or longer depending on what my other immediate bills were. So, I just took a cold shower. No problem. Then one of my sisters decided she would take a cold shower too. When her hair was all soaped up, the cold water suddenly turned off. She came out of the shower going ” There’s no water at all, how am I going to rinse my hair?” We called the office and told the manager about it. After expressing surprise that someone was showering because there was no hot water, she agreed to turn the water on for five minutes but that was it. She also agreed to letting us stay a little past check out time but looked very put out about it. I told my dad to remind me not to recommend this place to anyone. But, you know what, the bikers staying at the motel with us seemed to love the manager. She was a biker too. We could tell by the Harley she had parked next to the office and the black leather chaps she was wearing when she was strolling past the rooms telling everyone about the water problem. The whole situation was pretty ridiculous and we’ve been laughing about it since we left.

    On the way to Taos, we stopped at the Cimmarron canyon at the bridge near the entrance to Tolby creek and my dad and nephew stood together looking up at the dam to Eagle Nest Lake. On their way back to the cars, my father passed me and I said, “Having a nice grandfather, grandson moment?”. He told me, “Yes, I asked him how he liked the trip and the treasure hunt and he replied that it was ok but he felt that the research could have been a little more thorough.”

    “Whaaat?!!” “Why that little…..” Everyone busted out laughing as I glowered at fuselage boy standing a ways off and out of earshot who hadn’t done a lick of research himself. As the laughter started to sink into me I became infected and started laughing too. After all, kids say the darndest things and he was right, until the treasure is found the research can always be a little more thorough.

    My sister recently went through this area again and saw our motel closed and boarded up with the section that we stayed in collapsed. Sad but not terribly surprising. I’m just glad it didn’t happened two years ago.

  77. The storytelling contest is now closed to entries and comments are closed here.
    Goofy has created a voting page where everyone will be allowed to vote only once.
    The stories will be posted on the voting page and you will be able to vote for your favorite.

    That page will go up later today.
    Between now and then we will be going over the entries to make sure we have them all listed. I don’t want to make a mistake and leave someone’s entry out.

    The voting page will be up for a few days so you will have plenty of time to read the stories and vote for your favorite.


Comments are closed.