Dear Mr Fenn,
This morning there are tiny patches of melting snow surrounding the tulips in my front yard in Casper, Wyoming. It is a visual mix of what the calendar claims is spring, yet we are still haunted by the chill of winter. Our home is bustling with the morning noise of our eight homeschooled children and I know that in this moment, I am truly blessed.
We are a traveling family. Our summer weekends are spent on the back roads of Wyoming exploring and letting the children play when we find a spot that beckons us to stop and just be. We have found some of our favorite “places” by not having a destination in mind and just going where the beauty and unexplored roads take us.
In June 2014 we loaded up our family into our 10 passenger van for the drive to Yellowstone with the intent to search for your treasure. We nicknamed the treasure “the bird” in case anyone heard us on the trails talking about it. When we arrived at where I thought we needed to start our trek, we found ourselves distracted by the fun in watching our kids scamper over fallen trees, picking up pretty rocks, and “hunting” for treasure in their own way. My husband and two of our boys ended up in an area completely different than we had come to search. Their excitement I heard in their voices from the crackles of our walkie talkies as they explored was enough to let the distraction simply be. The rest of my children and I played in a meadow while we waited for the return of daddy and their brothers. We blew bubbles and chased them where the wind blew, we flew a kite high into a cotton candy cloud sky next to the Firehole River, and we enjoyed the warm sunshine on our faces. Daddy and the boys came back to us empty handed, but full of stories and with memories made from crossing the freezing river with their pants rolled up high while holding tight to daddy’s hands.
We never did search for the blaze where I believe is where the clue “Put in below the home of Brown” refers to, as the Brown Trout. That’s okay though; it means we have another treasure hunting adventure in our future and one that I can’t wait to begin!
Our tables are strewn with books about mountain men, fly fishing, Yellowstone maps, and dictionaries. Our kids are full of ideas and it is amazing to see how they interpret your poem and seek out answers to the clues. Our heads are full of wonderful history lessons and information that make our journeys around Wyoming even more enriched. I know we will travel again back to Yellowstone this summer with dreams in our heads of what it would be like to find your treasure. I also know that even if we don’t find the treasure you left to be found that we will create more family memories which truly are what makes our family, our family.
Thank you for the fun and the extra adventure in our adventures. We are grateful.