Forrest Gets Mail – 22

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This email came in today and I am posting it here with permission from the writer. How do you help someone who says they don’t need help, when you know they do? f

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Dear Forrest,

I want to thank you for just being you. I am a single mom of 5 kids and I raised all my kids the hard way pay check to pay check. I never had money to send my kids to the activities that kids do baseball soccer football cheerleading that kind of stuff that you got to pay a lot of money for. So anyway I instead found ways to to keep my kids entertained. And that was bottle digging and the dig is easy but doing the research of a town to find where a privy to dig up the privy to find a bottles doing the history was the thrill for me and it taught my kids a lot of stuff about Maps and history of the town they lived in. I took them in the woods to teach them to mushroom hunt for morels. We all went camping fishing in our little town. I would maybe have 5 bucks for gas and we would go drive around Missouri and look for creeks to walk in to look for arrowheads or get fish put them in our homemade fish tank, And so this is how you help me my kids all grew up they are all out on their own all 5 and they are all doing good with life. No drugs no serious drinking you know they’re just normal kids all five. I don’t know how I got so lucky cuz some moms out there are dealing with having to raise their grandbaby cuz the kids are on drugs, sad. Well after all kids left I was alone I spent my whole life taking care of my kids and when the last one left I felt so alone. I was like making plans to just weather away and die because I had no kids to take care of anymore. And then you came along and your story. Well I am still a little too poor to afford your book but one day I will be able to and I’ll get to read your book I’m excited about that one day. Well I got to see a lot of it. Your book off of you tube…And your treasure hunt got me back into looking up history learning about the Indians and the brown trout how beautiful Yellowstone is I don’t get to see it in person but I do get to see it through other people’s cameras the GoPros whatever they use to film stuff. It got me out of feeling sorry for myself and getting back to living. And what you said about you can shut one door and open other, So once again I am living and that is why I felt the need to write you and thank you. I do love the Thrill of the chase I didn’t get to read your book but just the thrill of the chase of looking up history in finding something that’s never been found. I do know about your poem that you have no x letter in your poem and. X marks the spot..That is really neat. Your kewl. Take care and thanks for being you.

Thunderose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forrest Gets Mail – 21

canada map vector

A dear friend sent me an email today to announce the birth of a grandchild. She sounded like she had just won the lotto.
Here is part of that email. Maybe there will be a rush of treasure hunters across our northern border. What do you think? f


Forrest, guess what…here in Canada someone heard your poem/treasure story and they formed a company that hid 3 treasures in 3 cities and wrote a poem for each city/treasure. One in Vancouver, British Columbia, one in Edmonton, Alberta and one in Calgary, Alberta. Each treasure chest is worth approximately $100,000. They had several writers/poets who wrote the clues for each of the three poems. They are selling the poems for each city, $25 each or $45 each with bonus clues. They were hoping that the sales for the poems would offset the initial treasures combined total of $300,000 in gold and silver Canadian coins. The poems were released on June 1, 2019. As of June 2 the Edmonton treasure had been discovered.

I’d say they might should have just asked for your poem/clue writing abilities in order to elude their treasures searchers a touch longer. At least it got people out of there house for a day, perhaps the other two cities will be slightly more challenging but I believe neither will outlast yours!!

Have a wonderful day,
Nelika

 

 

 

 

Forrest Gets Mail – 20

fgmbl

Mr. Fenn,
I have thoroughly enjoyed the treasures of your stories, and thank you for sharing them. I am blind, and my friends tell me that Ray Charles and I “look alike”. I am pretty suspicious of their use of those words.
My computer can read me your book as I turn the pages, but only the text. I can not see any of the photos or non-text items. Does this hurt my chances of solving your poem in any way?
If I should happen to come up with some sort of solution, I have people that can take me. I may even pretend to solve it just have an excuse to smell the waters you mention and feel the grasses and rocks under my feet.
I am already richer for having experienced your guided tour of your travels through life.
Thank you,
Fred
———————————
Well Fred, because you can’t look at a map you certainly are at a disadvantage. I know where the treasure is hidden, but if I were blind even I couldn’t go to that spot. Sorry. Thanks for listening to my book. f

 

 

 

 

Forrest Gets Mail – 19

“The virtue lies in the struggle, not in the prize.”
Richard Monckton Milnes

The treasure chest is still out there waiting to be found. It is not easy to
find, but the fortunate bi-products of searching seem to come from all
directions. f
——————————

Dear Mr Fenn,
I have found your treasure. Not the treasure that you hid but the treasure I
found is worth much much more. Let me explain, many years ago I was going
through some tough times; struggling through college, 3 jobs and barely
making it. I made a tough decision back then to give up a baby for adoption
to a lovely couple. The time flew by, as it always does, and 18 years later
I received a message on Facebook from a young man stating that I’m his
biological father and that he would like to meet me. After having a lifetime
of doubts as to if I did the right thing by giving up my child for adoption,
he turned out to be an amazing young man. We finally met and it was
wonderful. One evening he called and mentioned your hidden treasure. We
talked about it quite a bit. We finally made the trip out west and spent an
entire week getting to know each other and looking for the treasure. Every
night we would talk about how we would spend the money if we found it. It
was the best week of my life. We found the treasure mr Fenn. Only it wasn’t
the one you hid. This one is worth far more than anything in your chest.
It’s getting to spend the rest of my life with my son. We are planning
another week now to go and look for your treasure again and I can’t wait.
Thank you Mr Fenn.

Sincerely
David L

 

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