Losing Your Marbles on the Madison…

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I’ve been walking the moody Madison River both inside and outside Yellowstone National Park for a few years now. It’s a fun place to hike, particularly since the Madison is such a pristine river for so much of its 183 mile journey to the Missouri River. It’s hard to find pristine river that’s easily hiked in this country but if your aching to walk along one…try the Madison…but avoid the hazardous sections and the stretches that wind through private property.

I have not walked all 183 miles…In fact I’ve only walked a little over a seventh of the river, or those portions where I believe Forrest’s poem leads me. I generally start where the poem suggests I should “put in” and then start searching for other key features of the poem. Most I find without problem. But that blaze has been a constant sticking point for me…

So I come back a few times each year when I get the chance and try something slightly different, a place less worn, a path less traveled, a slightly different direction.…and walk more. Sometimes right along the river and sometimes a few hundred feet outside of it. But I’m not aimlessly ambling along. I am searching…scanning the scenic landscape far and near for an elusive clue in the poem…not that I know exactly what it is that I am looking for…I try to keep my mind open to anything that fits…use my imagination…(which Forrest says I don’t have).

It’s not as if I don’t find things…interesting things…puzzling things…

One spring day I stopped at a bend in the river to watch a school of small trout racing around in circles near the bank. Eye candy! I stepped away from the bank to take my camera off my shoulder and a spot of red caught my eye in the sandy bank above the stream. Just a small glint of red. Maybe a fishing lure, I thought. So I got down on my hands and knees in the warm, soft earth and started digging away with my fingers where the color showed. 

marbles

It wasn’t a dry fly or any other kind of fishing lure. It was the small arc of what turned out to be 4 pretty old marbles. A shooter, two biggies and an aggie. They had been there awhile. Impossible to say how long a while. But in my mind I decided they were 80 or more years old. Maybe Forrest and Donnie Joe stopped here to play some marbles in the sand while they were out exploring. Maybe they took a nap in the warm sun and when they woke-up they forgot about their marbles and headed back to the highway and their bikes for the ride home.

Or

Maybe a Crow stole them from some playground in town and carried them, one at a time, out here and hid them.

Or

Maybe they were in the back of a horse drawn wagon that an early tourist took from Virginia City to the park…before the highways…and the marbles fell out. Glass marbles were first made in America just before 1900. I believe the formal game of marbles is a British invention..but kids were probably playing some form of a marble like game with roundish stones for centuries before colored glass marbles and formal rules.

On another trip I found this small arrow point a few miles from where I found the marbles. It looks like part of the tang on the right side broke off at the notch. Maybe while being made or maybe while it was being used. I could not find any other pieces like this one in the immediate area so it does not seem likely that the site was a place where points were manufactured so I will guess that it was shot…maybe lost…or possibly discarded…

point

Close to a campground I found this 1985 Mexican 1 Peso coin. Not valuable but fun to find.

dollar

I ran into this deer antler shed in a thick lodgepole pine area while stalking wildflowers in Forrest’s old stomping ground near the Madison. Not a very majestic shed…but it had been on the forest floor for some time and the acid soil dissolved the softer parts of the antler leaving it grainy and interesting…Usually these things are devoured by porcupines or mice before they have a chance to lay around for a few seasons and get grainy. So this was a nice find.

antler

And finally…the oddest of all…This is a Japanese fishing net float. Aside from being found in Japan they wash up on the beaches of the Pacific northwest coast after storms, making the trek across the ocean…unbroken. This one was trapped in a backwater, cut-off from the main stream of the Madison…covered in a thick green goop. Big floats are about the size of a basketball and are prized by collectors and seafood restaurant interior designers. This one is about the size of a baseball and still has the netting around it. But it begs the question…how did it get into the Madison River some 5,500 miles from Japan and at least 15 miles from the nearest seafood restaurant? It couldn’t be old or the netting would be rotted. I think it’s authentic…Japanese…but I am certainly no expert…fun find.

float

At one time we held a contest for the most unusual “found object” someone recovered while out on a hike. Some pretty interesting things were carried back with searchers…LOOK HERE

-dal

 

 

 

 

 

Copper Art…

I thought you might like to know about this—-

Dan and Frances Hedblom are searchers and also a husband and wife artistic team who work almost exclusively with copper, coaxing stunning textures and colors out of otherwise dullish plain brown sheets. The results are beautiful and appear in fine galleries across the country.

The Hedbloms work out of their studio in Minnesota. Much of their work is inspired by the dramatic north shore of Lake Superior. You can find out more about them and see stunning pieces they have created HERE.

In celebration of Forrest and The Thrill of the Chase the Hedbloms have created a limited edition piece called “Where Warm Waters Halt”.

There are only 80 of these individually hand crafted pieces. Each is 17inches tall and 8inches wide. Dan says that they wanted to capture the mountains, forests and streams of The Thrill of the Chase. In my opinion they have certainly done that. I think these are gorgeous. Each piece is signed and numbered on the back and comes with a certificate of authenticity. You can see more photos of this limited edition piece on their website HERE.

You can purchase one of these limited editions from their eBay store, which is HERE.

They are available for $100 plus $20 for shipping. Since there were only 80 made and I know they have already sold some…My guess is that they won’t have much trouble finding owners for the few remaining so if you’re looking for something beautiful, unusual and also about the Chase…you should probably order one quickly…

-dal

 

Happy 88th Forrest……


Forrest Fenn will be celebrating his 88th birthday on Wednesday, August 22…

Thanks for being here Forrest. I am in awe of your accomplishments and sincerely appreciate your treasure hunt…it has provided opportunities and joy for hundreds of thousands of searchers…including me!!

Prairie Flower has been promoting a forest for Forrest campaign for the past two years…
She has a new compilation video of the growing forest…HERE

 

 

 

 

Happy 86 Forrest…

Frontcard

From Iron Will …..  Click on image to open

From Ramona

From Ramona

Happy Birthday from 23kachinas

Happy Birthday from 23kachinas

Mr Fenn, Wishing you blue bird skies for your birthday and everyday. And may all things in your focus be harmonious. KG

Mr Fenn,
Wishing you blue bird skies for your birthday and everyday.
And may all things in your focus be harmonious.
KG

From PDenver

From PDenver

IMG_7195

From dal-

From JDiggins

From JDiggins

From WiseOne

From WiseOne

From BW

From BW

From Jonesy1

From Jonesy1

cmr

From CMR

NEXT PAGE OF CARDS

Happy 85th Forrest….

AUGUST 22, 2015

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FORREST

Cynthia Meachum made this wonderful greeting just for Forrest.
Add your greeting to Forrest in a comment below.

 

The Fenn’s in camp about 80 years ago…
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Happy Birthday Forrest

Forrest is 83 today, August 22nd.

He hasn’t changed much…same fair-haired boy…same cowlick…what do you think?

Forrest and Skippy in their backyard, Temple, TX, 1932.

Forrest and Skippy in their backyard, Temple, TX, 1932.

Forrest and Cody's ancestor just hangin around in Forrest's office, Santa Fe, NM, 2013

Forrest and Cody’s ancestor just hangin around in Forrest’s office, Santa Fe, NM, 2013