SUBMITTED SEPTEMBER 2017
I wrote you once after I had first read your book, The Thrill of the Chase (probably 4 or 5 years ago) and I mentioned how I was thinking maybe your treasure was in Wind River Canyon but that it most likely wasn’t and I was just ready to return to the place I grew up for a visit. I believe I was living in Hamilton MT when I sent that email.
A couple of years ago I I took a road trip from Denver to Glacier Park with no intent on finding your treasure but to let my imagination run and see if cruising through the Rockies (my forever home) would inspire some new perceptive on your words. I had an amazing time, but I didn’t even bother trying to figure the clues out – I just enjoyed myself. Since that trip I have been on my quest to summit all of Colorado’s 14ers and I have to say I haven’t spent anytime deciphering your poem…until this last journey….
I just finished my first long distance thru-hike, The Colorado Trail. 486.4 miles hiked in the last 6 weeks. It was the most spectacular gift I have ever given myself. The first 100 miles felt brutal but with every step I got stronger, faster, and could hike 20 + miles a day with no problem by mile 200 (the human body is an impressive machine). I reached mile 396.6 standing at 12,657ft elevation on the Continental Divide looking down towards the headwaters of Elk Creek and seeing the reminiscence of an old mining cabin perched in the valley below – and I thought to myself, I wonder if Forrest has ever ridden his horse or hiked from Stoney Pass to Molas Pass, because if he hasn’t I think he would fall in love – just as I am right now.
So now here I sit two days after finishing the trail, reading your poem for the first time in a long while. Both of your books and Flywater lay on the table beside me and I thought I should email you some pictures of my adventure and thank you for inspiring me to stay out there in the wild – exploring and creating my own treasures of memory. I hope this letter finds you well!