Winter’s Warning…

 

SUBMITTED October 11th, 2018
by Forrest

 

It’s 4 degrees above freezing in Denver and West Yellowstone is under snow. So it’s time to stop searching the northern Rocky Mountains for another season. It was fireplace time for me yesterday morning in Santa Fe, but it warmed nicely by afternoon. This note is just a reminder to everyone that the winter mountains can be terribly unforgiving for those get caught out or go unprepared. If you are still searching please stay weather and mud aware. f

 

 

 

 

Forrest Gets Mail – 18

hi Forrest, ran across an old article, about the death of
Lt. Col. John H.I. Morse Sr., the article mentioned
your call sign, was that chosen by you or the
military and what was it for
thanks M
( Article is HERE )

———————-

Mary, thanks for the email about L/C John Morse and Litter 81. To answer your question:

Litter was the call sign of the 308th Fighter Squadron at Tuy Hoa, South Vietnam. The 8 indicated that it was the 8th  combat mission of the day for that squadron. The 1 meant that I was leading the flight of F-100s. My wingmen were Litter 82, 3, and 4. Anyone hearing those call signs on the radio knew where the planes were from and could easily find out who was flying them.

The aircraft I ejected from on that day (20 Dec, 1968) was an F-100D, #647. The maintenance  crew called it the “Hanger Queen,” because it was nearly always broken.
Thanks for the info about L/C Morse. I met him just that one time when his helicopter hoisted me out of the jungle in Laos. You don’t forget guys like that. it would be nice to know where Charlie Morse is now. I would like to talk with him. f

 

 

 

New Mapping Tool…

SUBMITTED September, 2018
by JOE

 

My intrigue with the Fenn treasure began earlier this year. As soon as I read about it, my wife and I were hooked. As much as I wanted to know where the treasure was, it seemed like such an impossible feat trying to put all of the clues from the poem (as well as from Forrest himself) together into pin-pointing a location.

I did some research and found out there wasn’t really anything available to accomplish this. I’m employed as a Software Engineer and decided to take this project on myself. I began by implementing the items I knew were definite clues…. things like the possible states, elevation, and vegetation. Forrest also stated he only walked “less than a few miles”  and that searchers have been within 500 and 200 feet of the treasure.

As you can see from the map, I created a Google Maps search tool as well as a “Features” search. The Google Maps option is for searching specific areas, and the Feature tool is used for searching things more specific to the poem or hunches you may have (ie.: Brown, warm water, ect.).

With the layer selector on the left of the map, you’re able to choose one or more layers based on elevation, vegetation, and my “Trails” and “Roads” methods. Each selected tool has it’s own color in the map when checked.

As far as the layers go, here’s some basic explanations:
Elevation: (Almost) Everything between 5,000-10,200 ft. in elevation. I excluded Tribal lands from the beginning since I didn’t believe Forrest would hide it there, let alone encourage searchers to trespass. I thought it’d be pretty disrespectful.

Vegetation: I added a 500 ft. buffer to everywhere there was Sage and Pine (and Pinyon in one of the options since people have opinions about it), and found out where there intersected inside the correct elevation.

Trails method: I took every trail that USGS had a record of, added a 500 ft. buffer on each side of it, and then removed a 300 ft. buffer on each side internally, and clipped out the areas that didn’t match the vegetation/elevation layers. So you are left with a 200 ft. sliver on each side (giving the 500/200ft search area).

Roads method: I added a 3 mile buffer to every road in the “Treasure” states and clipped out the areas that didn’t fit the vegetation/elevation layers.

I worked hard on this map but also had a lot of fun with it. Most of the work was finding the data from USGS, parsing out the relevant information, combining and clipping the data from other sources, and finally making it easy to use as a tool. In the beginning I was just hammering my personal development laptop trying processing all the data. I would put ice packs in zip-lock bags under it so it wouldn’t thermal throttle when I would run my scripts that would sometimes take days. I ended up picking up a used rackmount server with dual Xeon CPUs and upgraded it to have 72GB of RAM. It’s been running non-stop for a few months now with different experiments I want to try.

Earlier this month my wife and I packed up our kids and headed on our own hunt based on information we gathered on possible locations from the map. Although we didn’t find the treasure, we found some wonderful off the beaten path areas that we wouldn’t have known existed without this map. We continue our search using the map and look forward to finding more search areas for next time!

My goal with creating this is having a reliable tool that every searcher can use. I plan to implement a social crowd-sourcing solves feature, and a few other neat features in the next few weeks (check the FAQ on the homepage for more info).

Feel free to email me any questions at:
Joe at ipson dot me
or if you’re feeling generous, Buy Me a Coffee
https://buymeacoff.ee/lexigram

Good luck on your search!

https://intothefor.rest

 

 

 

 

Search Prepared…

 

SUBMITTED MAY, 2018
by Forrest

 

Summer is settling in and the Rocky Mountains are beginning to warm up some. The weeds are doing very well in my yard, and the humming bird feeders just outside my kitchen window are busy.

Santa Fe is full of treasure hunters and the Collective Works book store is selling about 35 copies of my books each day.

In the north, Montana, Wyoming, and northern Colorado, snow still covers the ground in many places, and the nights are very cold. Since most schools are out for 3 months, families are headed for the Rockies. Maybe it’s time again to review a few essentials when entering the mountains:

Take a buddy or two with you when you search.

Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.

Take plenty of warm clothes, water, food, a GPS, survival gear, and a cell phone. There is no substitute for planning, and please don’t go anywhere an 80-year-old man couldn’t go twice in one afternoon. Good luck, and please stay safe. f

Not in Yellowstone…


SUBMITTED May, 2018
by dal

 

Journalist and traveler Issac Cole kept a podcast titled “On The Road With Charlie

Charlie is Issacs dog who travels with him and rides shotgun in his truck. His podcast is about traveling the roads and meeting Americans while tracing John Steinbeck’s route in “Travels With Charlie”. Issac’s podcast is an interesting journal and tantalizing journey, well worth the effort of listening.

In 2017 Issac interviewed Forrest. When that interview was published in May of 2017 it chased many folks away from looking for the chest in the Yellowstone area because although Forrest claims to have spent about 19 of his first 20 summers hanging out in that park and nearby, Forrest mentions in the interview that he has not been back to Yellowstone since 1950.

If this is true, Forrest could not have hidden the chest around Yellowstone, since it was hidden well after 1950. So why bother going there to look for it?

The question seems reasonable. The logic impeccable.

But there’s a problem…

Forrest visited West Yellowstone and Yellowstone National Park many times between 1950 and 2010.

This is not something I made up…It is fact. And it begs the question; why did Forrest say he hasn’t been there since 1950, when he certainly has?

I think I know what happened…but lets start at the top..

Below is a transcription of the relevant podcast section of Issac Cole’s interview with Forrest:

————————————–

FENN: I was a professional fishing guide when I was 13 years old. 

COLE: In Texas? 

FENN: No, in Yellowstone. West Yellowstone, Montana and I could… I ran a tackle shop all by myself. The guy that owned it was drunk all the time, so one summer I ran the tackle shop. I could make a gross of flies in a day and wait on customers at the same time. But you know, I tied catgut leaders, tapered leaders, I made split bamboo fly rods. I had a name for every fish in that country up there: Mary and Phyllis and Johnny and I knew where all the holes were. 

I’m an outdoors person. It wasn’t so much fishing, it was being there. I remember when I could hardly wait to get on the river, and catch a big old brown trout. I’d get out there, get out of my car and look  around and walk over and sit under a tree for an hour and watch the Osprey catch fish, and watch the Eagles try to take it away from the Osprey. God has a summer place up there you know?

COLE: I haven’t fished up in West Yellowstone but I grew up going to uh, a cousin of mine owns Campflre Lodge.

FENN: What’s the name of it? 

COLE: Campflre Lodge. It has a little restaurant there and log cabins and it’s right on the Madison. 

FENN: That’s after my time. 

COLE: Yeah, probably.

FENN: Because I spent 19 of my first 20 summers, three months, in Yellowstone or West Yellowstone but the last time I was up there was 1950.


Issac missed asking the follow-up question that he should have asked. Certainly understandable since Issac was not particularly fixated on the hunt for Forrest’s treasure nor was he knowledgeable of Forrest’s background. Issac really didn’t have the framework to understand that what Forrest just said was going to be a big issue for many searchers for many years…

The question we wish Issac had asked Forrest at that point was:
“Excuse me Forrest but did you just say you have never been back to Yellowstone or West Yellowstone since the summer of 1950?”

Unfortunately no such follow-up was asked and no clarification about that statement has been made by Forrest.

So then, why do I say that Forrest has, in fact been back to West Yellowstone and Yellowstone after 1950? Where is my evidence?

I will share a few pieces of evidence that I have with you.

First is the construction of the Dude Motel in West Yellowstone.

Forrest, his brother Skippy and friend and brother-in-law Donnie Joe built the Dude Motel which is still on Boundary Street in West Yellowstone. They also built a tavern behind the motel, but the tavern is no longer there. Forrest wrote a story in his book,  Too Far To Walk, about building the motel. I don’t believe he mentions the year it was built in his story which appears in Chapter 19 of the book. But Forrest answered an email from a searcher in 2011 and we published the relevant part of that email here on the blog. In that email Forrest states that they built the motel in about 1962.

Second is Crayton’s recollection from somewhat later.
Crayton is Forrest’s nephew. Remember that Forrest’s mom and dad ran a motor-court called Fennhaven Cabins in West Yellowstone in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. When they sold the motor-court they bought an airstream and still spent their summers up there. Crayton has vivid memories of Forrest and family spending time in West Yellowstone in the summers to visit his mom and dad and do a little fishing and relaxing. Crayton’s best memories of those visits are from around the end of the 60’s to the early 70’s.

Third is a photo Forrest showed me in August of 2011.
I can’t show it too you because I don’t have it. I was visiting Forrest in Santa Fe and we were sitting on his back porch sipping cold drinks and looking at some photos from his collection. One he showed me and talked about was taken just a couple years earlier. It was of Forrest and Peggy and another couple standing at Forrest’s favorite bathing hole, Ojo Caliente, on the Firehole River. The photo was taken from the bridge that crosses the river and looking down at the folks as they posed for the pic. Forrest and Peggy in the photo looked exactly as they did in real life on that day. Because of their age in the photo it could not have been more than a few years old.

So, why did Forrest say that he had not been back to Yellowstone since 1950?

I don’t think that’s what he said. I think that’s what we heard him say…which is often the case. It’s my opinion that listeners sometimes have different interpretations of what Forrest meant than what he intended. I think this is one of those cases…

I think the words Forrest spoke are clear-

“…I spent 19 of my first 20 summers, three months, in Yellowstone or West Yellowstone but the last time I was up there was 1950.”

But Forrest is not referring to the actual last time he was up there…He is referring to the last time he was up there for an entire summer (three months).

And that is probably an honest fact…

From 1950 to 1970 he was in the Air Force and never had three months off in a summer. After 1970 his life just continued to be busy and he never took three months off again to spend in Yellowstone…

Most people can say the same thing. Few of us…after high school…except teachers, retirees and some college students…ever had three months off in the summer to go play…

So, in my opinion and based on the info stated above (and more)…Forrest just meant to say something that he didn’t. He had one phrase in mind and he spoke another. The interviewer didn’t know enough about the situation to follow-up on it.

But, if you don’t want to waste your time searching around Yellowstone…no problem. There are plenty of great places to waste time looking at the splendid beauty of the countryside…eagles, osprey, buffalo, bear, trout, ants, beaver, otter….

-dal

 

 

 

 

 

Forrest Gets Mail – 17

Mr. Fenn,
My students have a question for you. Since you have spent much time in the west around Yellowstone, do you have any personal experiences with cattle ranching and cattle drives?

Franklin

Franklin,
Many years ago, my good friend J. Evetts Haley (the writer), invited me to help him brand calves on his ranch in the panhandle of Texas. It was 103 degrees in August and they built a big fire to heat the branding irons. There was no cooling breeze. After the cowboys roped a calf, it was my job to run up and throw the poor thing on its side. I think every one of those critters kicked me in the nose. After the branding, the calf jumped up and ran off, and I had to do it all over again. That day was so hot and sweaty I lost 6 pounds. All of my aspirations for being a rancher were used up that day and I never wanted to see a branding iron again. Please tell your students to study hard so they don’t have to grow up to be a cowboy. f

Winter is Here…

 

SUBMITTED NOVEMBER, 2017
by Forrest

 

Snow covers the north end of the Rocky Mountains so it’s time to shut it down for this season. New Mexico and parts of Colorado are still snow free and temps in the 60s. Good hunting, but please don’t search in the snow or mud. And remember, the temps are down in the low 20s in places. f

Has it Been Found?..

SUBMITTED JULY, 2017

 

In July of 2017 Perry Stone pushed out a video on YouTube claiming he had found Forrest Fenn’s treasure hiding spot…not the treasure mind you…just the spot where the treasure was hidden. The chest was not there. So of course Mr. Stone believes that the chest had been found and removed.

These are not unusual claims. I would say there have been a few dozen such claims that I am aware of since Forrest hid Indulgence. A minority have become videos that still float around on YouTube giving the impression that the chest has been found and the chase is finished.

It seems these folks have a difficult time admitting that their solution was wrong and led them to a place where the treasure chest is NOT, instead of where it is. So, rather than admit defeat they often decide that they were correct, but someone else got to the location before them and removed the chest. What is so interesting to me about these claims is that as far as I can tell no two of them are in the same location.

Today, Forrest was asked by a reporter in Denver if Mr. Stone’s claim was true. This is Forrest’s generous response:

I enjoyed Mr. Stone’s well-presented video. He is a far thinker and has a knack for analyzing. There are half a dozen other videos that were made similarly. The treasure remains where I hid it about 7 years ago. It is interesting that the film makers are so positive while leading their viewers to where the treasure chest never was. I compliment all of them and am reminded that it’s all about the thrill of the chase. f

By the way you can view Mr. Stone’s video here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ5fWkYb708&amp

Safety First…

 

SUBMITTED JUNE, 2017
by Forrest

 

When I said the treasure was not hidden in Utah or Idaho it was my plan not to narrow the search area further. But in the light of a recent accident, and in the interest of safety, I feel it necessary to alter that plan.

The treasure chest is not under water, nor is it near the Rio Grande River. It is not necessary to move large rocks or climb up or down a steep precipice, and it is not under a man-made object.

Please remember that I was about 80 when I made two trips from my vehicle to where I hid the treasure.

Please be cautious and don’t take risks.

My guess is that in the last 7 years more than 250,000 people have searched for the treasure without suffering any serious injuries. I invite you to add your name to that list. The search is supposed to be fun. f

 

Forrest Gets Relative Mail…

Dear Forrest,
I am writing you tonight wanting to thank you. I have just recently discovered your story about the hidden treasure and it brings me a sense of adventure and motivation. I love everything about it. The best thing though is its bringing together a once torn apart relationship with me and my mother back together again . So thank you for that .

We recently had a birthday celebration for my nephew and she attended for the first time in a long time . We hadn’t talked very much over the years due to decisions and choices she choose to take when I was in my youth. Grudges and bad feeling and really just being stubborn I never made any attempt to reach out and make our relationship better. So sitting around the party I brought up your story and I promise for the next four hours we talked about what it would be like taking a trip and searching and the things we would see along the way and how much our lives would be so different if we were to ever find the treasure.

In those brief hours talking about it for a moment I had forgotten all the bad things she had done the bad things I had said and it was just us again mom and son no worries in the world . We talked about it throughout the night and even into the next morning when she called me . I feel your story has gave us a starting over point in life with our relationship and I just want to thank you for that Mr. Fenn.
 
Even if we never get to take a chance to search for your treasure you have helped me find mine again so thank you again.
 
Stay young my friend,   Jack