The Man Who Wasn’t There…

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Toledo skyline

NOVEMBER 2018
by dal…

 

I hadn’t intended on searching in Utah. Please let me state, for the record, that I knew the chest wouldn’t be there but I didn’t want to let Ike down.

I first met Ike about 46 years ago in the control room at a Toledo TV station. I last saw Ike about 40 years ago. He had recently turned 55. We were at a table in Brenda’s Body Shop, a strip joint not far from the station. It was a mirror clad bar with a rotating reflective ball attached to the sparkly, star studded black ceiling, There were three small stages scattered around the floor. Brenda served pretty good sandwiches, played loud country music and employed a squadron of sweet gals trying to make a living using what god gave them. A good place for a lunch break if you worked the 4p to sign-off shift like me, Ike and an eclectic collection of downtown Toledo night shift workers.

In 1972 running a TV station took one enormous amount of electricity and a bizarrely skilled swarm of human beings…lots of them. There was no such thing as automation…color TV was in it’s young years and even broadcast quality video tape recorders were a relative novelty. TV technology was fascinating and growing like a Labradoddle on steroids. 

At that point in my life I aspired to direct live soap operas in NYC. General Hospital, As the World Turns, that kind of thing. Everyone’s got to have a dream. Live melodrama and all the bizarre accoutrements and technical challenges that accompanied such a lunatic concept appealed to me. In the mean time I was directing news, talk shows, commercials, kids shows, religious shows, political programs and what ever other humdrum fodder made up the daily program schedule on every mid-sized TV station in every urban, blue collar town across the USA. I dreamed of bigger venues, not knowing how ill-suited I was to prosper in them.

On my first day in the Toledo studio, Buddy, the program manager escorted me to the control room door and then got way-layed by a question from someone in the hallway. I waited politely for a few moments but when the discussion lingered I cheekily walked into the control room on my own to introduce myself. 

Studio control rooms in 1972 were not the comfy, lounge-like, creatiive environments they are today. They were utilitarian, technical, stark. Often narrow, cramped, and as dark as the inside of a submarine recently hit by a depth charge and headed to the bottom.

Studio control rooms were built for rapid accessibility to the guts of the complicated and often esoteric racks of electronics and miles of wires it took to keep a TV station on the air in the 60s and 70s. Accessibility was vitally important since every electronic module was either broken, breaking or being repaired. These control rooms were manned by often eccentric technicians of the pocket protector variety and had an atmosphere more industrial-like than den-like. There were steel gray racks of humming electronic devices that did “who knew what” emitting glowing red shafts of light, lots of heat and a very subtle vibration and hum. The room smelled of warm lead solder and warmer bakelite. The racks of electronics displayed white signs with frightening black skulls, even more frightening exploding lightning bolts and text that read, “Danger, High Voltage”. But to the pocket protector clan, it was home. 

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’69 Saab Sonnet

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Vintage HAM Radio station.

These guys were geeks before geeks were a thing. Many drove shark-like Saabs that were more airplane than car, had HAM radios they built at home and bought Hammond tonewheel electnic organs so they could tear them apart and remake them to meet some arcane sound standard that could make your ears bleed. I had, and still have, the highest respect for them.

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Hammond B3 Organ

I entered the control room, climbed the two steps to the operating level and headed over to the empty chair at the center of the studio control console. This would be the director’s position. To my right was the sound engineer at his knobbed audio board. Turntables, cart machines, a patch panel and an audio tape library of music and sound effects cluttered his space. Nick was wearing brown wing-tips, argyle socks, brown dress pants with inch-and-a-half cuffs, and a white, short-sleeved shirt with plastic pocket protector. Nick was fast asleep, head in hands, elbows on the console. My entering did nothing to disturb him. 

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Vintage broadcast audio console

By 1973 I had been working in TV for several years and I was pretty acquainted with control room life. It was like sailing a yacht across the ocean blue. Moments of absolute adrenaline pushing pandemonium followed by hours of mind numbing placidity. Although management rarely knew what the control room crowd was up to in their moments of calmness, the comfy warmth, the quiet hum of charged tubes, the absence of glaring lights suggested a quick nap.The real surprise was the large hearing aid Nick was wearing.

The sound guy was wearing a hearing aid. 

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A 70s era TV station control room. Video switcher is on the left.

To my left was the video engineer’s position. This is the area that you generally see in any photo of a control room. The massive video switcher with countless rows of warm glowing buttons and a wall of cathode ray tubes emitting images from every device that could make pictures including cameras, film chains, video tape machines, network feeds, field microwave units, character generators, waveform monitors, o-scopes and one monitor with text that said “Technical Difficulty, Please Stand-by”…always at the ready. Ike was the video engineer. He was slouched back in his chair. Feet splayed out in front of him. He was snoring. He had on a pair of dark sunglasses and a white cane with a red tip was hanging on the armrest next to him. 

The video guy was blind.

My position at the console had a few clocks and timers a couple of monitors, lots of desk space for scripts and notes and a big double paned window overlooking Studio “A”. We all had headsets to communicate with one another and the additional collection of geeks in other parts of the building, video tape, film, the announcer, the stage manager, the camera operators….and so on. Right now we were on the NBC network feed so the crew was free until the network show was finished.

I looked at Ike, sleeping…and then at Nick, sleeping. I smiled…I had a plan…this would be a career defining moment that would allow me into their confidence They would be indebted to me. I would prove myself a worker-bee equal rather then a company guy rat. I had to wake Nick and Ike.

I set the big analog timer in front of me for 10 seconds and let it go off. Very loud buzz. Ike and Nick both jerked in their chairs and looked, first at what was on-air, then at me…pretty much a glower. 

“HI.” I said.

Silence. Glower.

“Buddy is right outside the door and he should be in here anytime.” I said, showing my ace in the hole.

Nick grabbed his hearing aid off his head and shoved it in a drawer while Ike took off his sunglasses and hung his cane where it wouldn’t be seen.

Silence but no glower.

Nick said, “I’m Nick”, and held out his hand.

“Dal” I said, wondering if Nick could hear me.

“Ike”, said Ike.

Then he picked up a white paper cup next to the switcher and spit some of his chew into it.

He held it up and said, “Can’t smoke in here, You smoke?”

“No”, I said.

“Good”, he said and put his cup back down on the console, folded his arms across his chest and turned to watch what was on-air.

End of introductions.

For days I was thoroughly distracted by the hearing aid and cane…

I never saw those appliances again. Even though I saw Ike and Nick daily. It wasn’t til after I actually got to know those two that I decided to ask Ike about it.

“We heard a new director was coming by so Nick and I thought it would be funny if the sound guy wore a hearing aid and I looked like I was blind. So we got those things and put them on and waited. You was late. We fell asleep. We thought it was pretty good  that you didn’t let Buddy catch us.”

So it was. Over the remainder of my time in Toledo Ike and I carved out a pretty good relationship. We worked well together but we also played together sometimes. According to Ike, we hunted rabbits and ducks, although I cannot recall ever doing that. We had sandwiches at Brenda’s, chilli dogs at Tony Packo’s and burgers at Ted’s or Kewpee’s a hundred times.  

Ike stayed at the TV station until he retired. I moved on after a couple of years. I probably worked at a dozen TV stations and production companies across the country between then and now. I lost contact with everything and everyone each time I moved. Then one day a year or so ago, I got curious about Ike. I looked him up. There was a Toledo news story about his WWII exploits that mentioned his work as a spotter-radioman-gunner on a bi-winged aircraft off the USS Witchita. I remember Ike telling stories about those days. He had managed to join the Navy at 15 in 1939…before the war even started. 

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Ike

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The USS Wichita during WWII. Note the biplanes on the catapults at the stern.

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A Curtis SOC “Seagull”, scout plane like the one Ike worked from.

“We’d catapult off the ship, zero to 80mph in 40ft! That could clear your sinuses.”

After some light digging around on the internet I found his home phone number and called.

Ike was 95. Still telling stories and still living in the hand crafted home that he built with his own tools when he came home from the war. But what surprised me most was that he remembered me. His eyesight was shot. The world was a dark blur. He kept falling down and at least once he couldn’t get up and had to lay on the floor a couple days til a neighbor came by. His beautiful wife had died a few months earlier. He missed her deeply.

At some point, on one of our phone calls, Ike asked me what I was up to. I told him I was still working in TV and then told him about Forrest and TTOTC. He was curious and asked me to read the poem to him. I did. When I finished reading it he said, “Again”. So I read it again.

“Again!” he requested excitedly. I read it again.

“Again!” he demanded and again I read it to him.

“What are you hearing?” I asked him.

“So was this Forrest character a radio engineer?” Ike inquired?

“He was trained as a radioman in the Air Force but he lost interest in that line and became a jet pilot. Flew F-100s in Vietnam. Got shot down a couple times.

Silence.

“There’s code in that poem.” Ike stated.

“That’s what a lot of people think.” I said.

“Radioman and then pilot, eh!!”. He said. “You ever hear of North Wash?”

“Nope”. I replied. “I have no idea what that means.”

“It’s in the poem.” He explained. “It says ‘North Wash at 95’”.

“That means nothing to me”. I said.

“Well you look it up because that’s where something important is.” he replied.

“What else do you see in that poem?” I asked.

“There’s more in that thing, that’s for sure. But you figure out North Wash at 95 first.”

“How come I’ve never seen this “code” your seeing? I asked.

“I dunno. Your not the brightest star in the sky. You’re a director for chrissakes. I’m surprised you can read it, let alone decode it.”

“OK, Thanks for the splendid analysis Ike.”

“Well I don’t know why you can’t see it. It’s right there big as day.”

After a few more minutes of talking , we said goodbye. I promised to call him back in awhile, and hung up.

Eventually, I came around to the idea of fooling around with “North Wash at 95”. But I had other things to do before I could think about Ike’s advice. There was my job, the blog and the grass needed a mow and Ezy’s oil needed changing and there were dishes in the sink and a “honey do” list that was growing…so I stalled around for a few weeks before I started in.

I looked at a lot of things when I finally got going on the words. It didn’t really matter what I looked at though because little, if anything, opened up any doors.

I started with the obvious. I looked for 95 mile lake, zip.

I looked for hwy 95 and found one in CO that was about 14miles long heading north out of Denver, also known as Sheridan Boulevard.

I found another through Glenrock, WY that is about 20 miles long.

US 95 traverses the continent North to South but doesn’t touch any state where Forrest’s box is located.

NM 95 is a 14 mile road that runs from Heron Lake State Park to Tierra Amarilla….That’s a possibility!! But Cynthia and Michael and Desertphile have turned over every rock in that country. I’ve looked in that county too but my searches there had nothing to do with a North Wash and after examining the Rio Arriba county map with a magnifying glass I could find nothing named North Wash…Stymied!!

Over the next several weeks I would reluctantly and randomly do a little more searching around in the dozens of map indexes and atlases that I own to see if I could find anything that could be associated with “North Wash at 95”. After that, I forgot about it.

Then in August of this year Kathy and I headed out on a vacation to visit her relatives in Missouri. We went the scenic route through ID, WY, NE, KS, OK, AR and up into Missouri. On the way back we bee-lined to Santa Fe to say “hi” to Forrest and Peggy and then headed northwest to home. Ezy had a breakdown in Cortez, CO and I had to leave her there for a new engine transplant. In October I returned to Cortez to pick up the born-again Ezy. While I was in Cortez I was talking with the nice folks at the Tomahawk Motel where I stayed and they asked how I was going to head home.

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“I don’t know.” I said. “Hadn’t given it much thought really. I’ll take the blue highways I guess. I don’t want to drive Ezy over 60 for the first thousand miles on that new engine.” 

“Well,” the motel owner said. “You should think about taking the Bicentennial Highway through Utah from Blanding up to Hanksville. It’s probably one of the most scenic roads in the country and there won’t be any traffic this time of year.”

“Sounds perfect.” I said. 

“Take it to Lake Powell and then it follows the North Wash pretty much to Hog Canyon….”

Silence

“North Wash?” I queried.

“Yeah.” she said. 

Back to my room for some quick map checking and guess what! The bicentennial Highway is Utah Route 95. North Wash at 95. Look HERE.

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UT-95 from Blanding to Hanksville in Southern Utah.

“But it’s Utah.” I decried…No one heard me.

I had to go home somehow. That was as good a way as any…better than most…

I stopped along the way to grab a few photos and even though I’d never admit this in writing, I stopped a few places where the road and the wash were particularly close and I searched.

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I looked for warm waters halting…I squinted…I touched…I asked Ezy about it…nothing…

I hiked slowly up a few blind canyons. Rocks and creeks and color enough to dazzle my brain. I saw ruins of prehistoric settlers. I saw petroglyphs. I saw magnificent scabbed and canyoned country as jaw dropping as any on this planet.

It’s the most dramatic landscape I’ve ever stared at…red, brown and purple rocks torn from the earth’s guts…raw and belligerent… while others formed by wind and rain were domes and hoodoos and arches. Not a flat piece of landscape in any direction except the winding asphalt of Rt. 95. Who was brave enough to live here?

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I called Ike to tell him I found his place…but he didn’t answer the phone.

I settled for a few calendar images of the magnificent rock and color and continued on my two day journey home.

A couple weeks went by before I would call Ike again. Same old reasons.

I got a note from his neighbor that old Ike had been moved to a nursing home. 

That’s the worst. When they don’t let you live in your own home anymore.

I tried to get hold of Ike but it was fruitless. No one answered in his room. Sleeping I figured. Probably turns the ringer off.

Finally I did get him, “Your dime!” he answered. I laughed. But then the bad news.

He wasn’t Ike anymore. He didn’t know who I was. He didn’t know who he was…

Good god, spare me that phase of life!

I told him I found his place and it was beautiful.

“Thats good.” he said and then hung up.

Note to self: “Don’t procrastinate!”

So I don’t know anything more of Ike’s Code, which is okay because Forrest as much as said there are no codes needed…and it’s not in Utah and…and…and…

But I’m really glad I travelled that way..on Route 95 along North Wash. Really glad…

Thanks Ike…not bad for a blind video engineer.

-dal

Claiming Ezmerelda…

OCTOBER 2018
by dal…

 

Last week I returned to Cortez, CO to pick-up the repaired Ezmerelda. 

A little background-

Shortly before Kathy and I left on a trip to Missouri in August I had Ezmerelda bumped out and painted. She had a couple of minor dings and a few more rust spots after what I now know was 483,000 miles and over 18 years on the road. Mileage was questionable because I replaced the instrument panel/odometer a few years ago and her actual mileage required a few computations based on the mileage of the original odometer plus the mileage I put on the replacement odometer, less the mileage that the previously used odometer actually showed when I got it from a scrapped van in the salvage yard.

She looked great on the trip, shiny and proud and was running like a stealthy cat. After Missouri we came back through Santa Fe to see Forrest and then headed north and west for a new-to-me area where I had a long-shot search I call the Taos Artist Petroglyph Search. Once again I had a place to begin, great canyon down with a decent road to travel on since the hoB was too far to walk…

If the truth be known, I didn’t really have much faith in this search as a likely candidate for the location of Forrest’s hidden chest…but it was in a nice piece of country that I hadn’t really walked around in much, and well….I was using the TTOTC as an excuse to do a little reading and take a nice hike in some “new to me” countryside. Probably the last one of the search season for me.

The terrain where two Taos Artists went on a camping trip and etched their mark on a nearby rock…but could I find the mark?

As always though…once you start some basic research…and have settled on a WWWH location to begin…and a canyon to travel in…things tend to fall into an enticing place. All of a sudden the location wasn’t such a bad choice after all…The whole solution seemed possible. There was a meek trace and a paddleless stream . The water was high, the lure was strong, BUT, once again I had no blaze.

I had determined from reading the story of the two Taos Artist’s what the blaze would be. But I didn’t know where it was within several square miles…and even then I had no idea if it was still in existance. I knew that I was looking for a very specific petroglyph…not ancient but older than me and from the early 20th century.

My petroglyph/blaze was the result of a camping trip taken by two of Forrest’s favorite Taos artists to this scenic area in the 30’s. It was both a sight-seeing and a working trip and they left their mark on a rock face to memorialize their visit. It was this mark that I thought could be the blaze…but could I find it?

Now…I have to admit that I ran across this story about the Taos Artist’s camping trip quite by accident and when I read about their petroglyph I worked it backwards in the poem to see if it was possible that the clues could lead me there…and they could…easily…

This is exactly what I warn others not to do-

Start at the beginning, I say…find where warm waters halt and follow the clues in chronological order to the chest…

DO NOT…I repeat…DO NOT pick a cool location where you think the chest might be and then head there and look…If you do this you will be looking for a needle in a stack of needles…impossible!!! But I did it anyway…

The bad news is that I had knowledge of only a general area where the rock etching could be. I could find no modern reference to it as having been found by others and for all I knew the mark had been erased by weather or grown over by vegetation. Heck, maybe it was whacked off by a road building crew fifty years ago.…or it could have been such a shallow scratch that it is now impossible to find…However, hope springs eternal…and I decided to go looking for it. If still there, that mark could be the calling card for Forrest’s hidden chest. At least that was my sideways hope as Ezy and Kathy and I sped smoothly west from Missouri toward Cortez, CO.

Then it happened…suddenly…on the highway between Durango and Cortez, a long up-hill stretch of insignificance really… but in an instant one of Ezy’s 18 year old valve bearings seized and in the process bent the cam and damaged the crank. It was the end of a beautiful engine that had allowed Ezy and me to explore 486,000 miles of highways and trails. mountains and deserts, canyons and valleys since the year 2000 when I bought her new. 

Although destroyed, the engine still ran and Ezy still moved but with great effort and a frightening rattle and clank that clearly meant the bitter end. We hobbled clumsily the remaining few miles into Cortez and a nearby repair shop where I had to make a decision about scrapping Ezy or having them replace the engine….and I had to figure out how to get Kathy and Dal back home to Lummi Island. The mechanics figured I was crazy for even considering putting a $5K engine into a vehicle not even worth half that amount.

These guys had evidently never felt attached to their vehicles. When I looked at Ezy I saw a friend who took us on hundreds of family camping trips, explorations, adventures, road trips from Michigan to Arizona and Alberta to Texas. I saw wonderful family history and exciting solo memories. I remembered treasure hunts, river crossings, desert journeys, 17 Christmas trees and lots of love. I did not see a simple white box of steel and plastic that could be replaced by money. Ezy was…and still is…a trusted and reliable companion, a family member that was having a bad day.. I consulted with the blog and a comforting number of my fellow searchers thought I should bite the bullet and get her repaired.

There was an economy in repairing her too. A new van would cost a minimum of $38K which meant $700 monthly payments for 5 years….Eeeeek!!! I’ve purchased houses for less and I’d like to retire some day soon. No room for a $700 monthly payment in my approaching retirement scheme.

So Ezy was getting a new engine-

The other problem was getting home…Kathy and I saw no way to spend the next month in Cortez…and we had two weeks worth of collecting stuff at garage sales between Lummi Island and Missouri and Cortez stuffed inside Ezy…we needed a reliable vehicle for a few weeks and it had to be roomy enough to take most of our collected “stuff” back to Washington. Worse…no rental cars were available in all of the Cortez area…Some big event was going on at Mesa Verde and none of the rental car places had anything available for at least a week…

Enter the used car dealer-

I bought a 2005 Ford Expedition for far too much money from a used car dealer in Cortez…I did not buy the car from Fast Eddie…I am at least smart enough not to do business with a used car dealer by the name of Fast Eddie. I bought it from Joe instead. It ran great but only got about 13mpg and cost nearly twice as much to drive home as Ezy…bummer!!!

On the road, in the Ford between Moab and Cortez

Almost exactly a month later Ezy was finished and ready for pick-up. I took another week long vacation from the studio and packed up the Ford with my camera gear and bedroll and headed back to Cortez. That trip is about 1200 miles each way and takes two long days of driving to get there. By the way, although that Ford was made for driving and handled great…it was designed by a saddest  when it comes to sleeping. That Ford is the most uncomfortable thing to take a nap in that I have ever driven. In comparison, Ezy is a dream to catch some zzz’s in. Spread out the bedroll and snooze in the back…If I ever buy another vehicle I will definitely take it for a “nap test” before I buy it.

As I entered Cortez I saw Ezy waiting patiently for me out in front of the shop…I waved as I drove by. First stop was Joe and selling him back that outrageous Ford. I traded it back for considerably less than what I paid for it after one month and 4,000 miles…such is life…I rationalized that I still made out because it cost less than if I had rented a van for a month and drove it 4,000 miles.

Next I retrieved Ezy…no vehicle left behind…I felt really good about seeing her again…I was told to get an oil change at 500 miles and the mechanic bid me well on my trip home…him shaking his head at my decision to put a new engine in her and me delighted that I had gotten rid of the Ford and had Ezy’s steering wheel in my grip again.

Ezy on the trail to adventure…again!!

Heading out-

First order of business was to follow that solution I had to abandon a month ago and head out to look for my memorial blaze…I am writing the Taos Artist Petroglyph Search as you read this and will post it in the next few days.

Ezy admiring the shore on Lummi Island

Thanks fellow searchers…for your collective wisdom to hold onto Ezy…She looks really happy to be home, and she purrs like a cat again. I believe she is happy in our comforting fall rains, on the island. Don’t you think she looks grand???

Oh…and she has 1,415 miles on her brand new, shiny engine.

-dal

 

 

 

 

A Small Scale Solve…

August 31st
I am on my way to YNP. Actually, I am on my way to Missouri via Yellowstone. I wanted to try my hand at a small scale solve…where the theory is that all the clues are actually quite near each other. Working off the idea that others identified the first two clues and then went right past the other seven. I am thinking, of course, that perhaps they went right by the other seven because they assumed the third clue was farther away and while they were headed NFBTFTW they went right by the other seven.

I only have a few hours in the YNP area this leg of the trip so I can’t spend much time there. But I am excited about trying this out. Not that I have a complete solution…I am stuck right now at the same place I am always stuck in my solutions…the blaze…

I left Lummi Island late today…about 2pm and am in Pateros, WA at 7pm on the wide Columbia…River of the West. As I crossed the Cascades I could see smoke in the Methow Valley and when I settled down into the small town of Winthrop on the east side of the range the local fairgrounds were home to what appeared to be hundreds of tents at what has become the Interagency Fire Command Post. A lot of firefighters in the area. I also passed the Heavy Equipment Staging Area for the fire fighters. I did not see any flames but plenty of smoke and I understand the apple and pear orchards that usually prosper from here to Yakima are in frightful condition because all the smoke for such an extended period has shaded the crop. Reports predict that this will be a very bad year for orchardists in the area and could spell the bitter end for some who cannot recover financially from such a loss.

I passed through dozens of little towns with flags waving smartly at half mast saluting Senator John McCain.

Here in Pateros the air is relatively clear and the river looks stately.

Looking across the Columbia from Pateros, WA about 7pm, August 31st, 2018. Not much smoke here.

I stopped by at a local bar for a burger this evening…
I generally like bar food and now that folks can’t smoke in bars they aren’t too bad…and this establishment had a patio surrounded by a tin fence and overgrown Wisteria…a cozy corner to indulge in bar food.

Typically, this weekend hosts a lot of rodeos but the smoke…or threat of smoke, has all but wiped out tourism in this area of the state. Few people from Seattle or Vancouver want to drive 300 miles through a smoky, baking landscape to attend… Maybe next year!

My intent is to post some pics and thoughts every night on my trip as I get closer and let you know how this small scale solution turns out…

Tomorrow I will post my half solution so you can chew on it for awhile and let me know where I went wrong..

-dal


September 1st

Stopped in Post Falls for lunch today. If you find yourself there and you like garlic…and you like Greek food…try out the White House Restaurant. When I say garlic…I mean GARLIC…these folks use it unsparingly…So much so that in the rest rooms they have a jug of mouthwash and small paper cups to use after dinner so your breath doesn’t kill your date. I had the lamb burger…and I have to admit that no vampires attacked me the rest of the day…

White House Restaurant in Post Falls, ID

Here’s my “so far” Small Scale Solution

WWWH – This is the spring at Ojo Caliente, which was Forrest’s favorite river bathing area when he was a kid old enough to ride his bike there. 

Why – Because the first stanza describes this place to me.

AS I HAVE GONE ALONE IN THERE – somewhere Forrest went alone

AND WITH MY TREASURES BOLD – he was naked when he bathed so his family jewels were not covered. And he was alone.

I CAN KEEP MY SECRET WHERE – He wrote the story “River Bathing is Best” about his visits to Ojo Caliente but it  was not published in TTOTC where other hints were published. Instead he kept the story on his web site (where it is still located) and published it in TFTW. I also believe this was a story he wrote for the West Yellowstone paper where it was first published. Because it wasn’t directly mentioned in TTOTC it could be described as a “secret” hint or clue.

AND HINT OF TREASURES NEW AND OLD – Inside the chest is new gold and old gold…new treasures and old treasures. This simply describes the chest and it’s contents very broadly.

BEGIN IT WWW HALT – The Ojo Caliente spring which halts in a small lake.

TAKE IT IN THE CANYON DOWN – The water has formed a miniature canyon as it runs out of the spring toward the Firehole River. 

NOT FAR, BUT TOO FAR TO WALK – How far to walk and for whom?…To an ant a mud puddle is an ocean.

Look HERE

And HERE

So follow the canyon like you are an ant…

PUT IN BELOW THE HOME OF BROWN – My home of brown is Ojo Caliente…it exudes a brown mineral that coats the rocks where it’s water flows. You can read more about the mechanics of these thermal events HERE

Below this HOB could mean a number of things but to me, for the purposes of this solution, I am going to be looking directly across the Firehole in Fountain Flats. A place known for wandering bison and elk and the occasional griz. There are many trails in the area but there are also large areas that are trailless. It is permissible to walk around in Fountain Flats. I have done it many times. It is an enchanted place for me. The combination of thermal geography and scalded and alkali terrain contribute to the strange landscape…and when you consider that you are treading in the cone of one of the worlds most volatile super volcanos…well…it’s no place for the meek. Sprinkled amid the flats are copses of pine trees, wildflowers, a variety of animals and a unique geography that makes this a fairly unusual area…even by YNP standards.

I know what you’re thinking…Is Dal using Ojo Caliente for both WWWH and for HOB? 

Not really…I am actually using the thermal event itself…the geyser where mineralized water comes up from forty miles below the surface as my HOB and for my WWWH I am using the small spring/pond/lake that forms around the geyser.

My HOB

My WWWH

THE END IS EVER DRAWING NIGH – This is always a tough line to grasp and I have to do some experimentation out there but it could mean that the end of Fountain Flats is to the left from my position on the far bank of the Firehole and facing into the flats.

THERE WILL BE NO PADDLE UP YOUR CREEK – There are many small rivulets from far away thermal events that drain the flats and run into the Firehole. I will explore the area for one that suits me…They are generally small…creek like…

They are too small for any kind of boat to paddle..

JUST HEAVY LOADS AND WATER HIGH – These creeks are filled with minerals from the thermal events they drain and at 6,500ft in elevation, they are certainly water high…

So that’s my plan and I am sticking to it!!

I plan to spend some time on Labor Day exploring the area…around OC to see what I can see…

No matter what I will have a good time walking around out there…I love that place…


September 2nd

Just north of the park tonight. On the lovely Madison. Might toss a Woolley Worm or Bearded Damsel around before it gets dark. Will head into Ojo Caliente area tomorrow.

No smoke up here but I understand they have had a lot of smoke and fires in the past days. The fire crews recently moved on to drier pastures.

I will drop Kathy off in West Yellowstone where she will search for “end of season” sales while I gaze at Ojo Caliente…”Men Who Stare at Geysers”…lol

Not my cabin


September 3rd

I spent the afternoon running through my solution…and adding to it as a few clues revealed themselves, while others remained hidden…In short…no, I did not find the box but as predicted, I had a great afternoon…weather could not have been better. Tomorrow I will post a more completed solution and some good photos showing why this is potentially a good location if someone can develop it more fully…based on what I found out there.

I also met up with Spallies and Diggin Gypsy and her husband John in West Yellowstone. We had dinner together and talked about Forrest and moose and laughed a lot…a good time was had by all…

A peaceful location complete with blaze, water high and heavy loads. No place for the meek yet not a dangerous location. A child could walk here with a little help from an adult.

Photo above is from Fountain Flats…This was along the creek I couldn’t paddle, with water high and even heavy loads….Additionally..it seemed like an excellent place for Forrest to lay in the grass under the shade of those trees, listen to the creek, watch the animals, smell the pines and relax after a hard day of bathing and fishing…By the way…no human trail in close proximity…remote but less than a 30minute walk from where he could have parked. So easy a child could get here…and surely not a dangerous location.


Tuesday, September 4th

Dal’s Revised Small Scale Solution 

Based on being in the area and following the clues as they unfolded.

The first stanza did not change from my original interpretation. I believe the first stanza gives me info about WWWH so that I can identify it.

In this case it is describing Ojo Caliente in Yellowstone National Park as written about by Forrest in both TFTW and on his blog in a story titled “River Bathing is Best”.

https://www.oldsantafetradingco.com/blog/river-bathing-is-best

The sign to Ojo Caliente from the Freight Road Trail on Fountain Flats

Ojo Caliente Spring and Geyser. The Geyser is the bubbly patch on the near side of the pond. It gets higher but I got tired of waiting.

To me there are all kinds of problems with OC as a place where warm waters halt…but I selected it because it seems to be an oft accepted WWWH location touted by many…and because it was one of the very first WWWH places identified…and because it has a history that goes back at least as far as when Forrest said that folks had identified the first two clues…and finally because I wanted to try out a small scale solution.

We know that WWWH is the first clue because Forrest said that. This means the first stanza is unlikely to be a clue…so what is it? For the purposes of this solution I have used it as a four line hint. It helps us find where the place to begin is located. The second stanza simply begins by telling us to start at the WWWH place. But it fails to give us any information that will help us identify where that place is located. In this solution the first stanza provides us with all the information we need to identify the location of WWWH…the place where we should start our journey. The first stanza is Forrest’s voice telling us about his experience while bathing at Ojo Caliente.

Ojo Caliente is made up of three elements:

1. A Geyser of hot water that is pumped out of the magma heated earth 

2. A spring or small pond formed where the hot water from the Geyser is held and cools a bit before heading downhill 

3. A channel where water travels from the holding pond to the Firehole River. 

From the spring we are told to take our journey in the canyon down…

Here is a pic of the channel…directly downstream from the spring at Ojo Caliente.

It’s a canyon. Pretend you’re an ant

The water leaves the spring and has more or less carved a channel in the mineral material nearby as it rushes to the Firehole River. This channel is about 30ft long. It starts at the spring and ends at the river. Many might argue about whether I can legitimately call this channel a canyon or simply a channel or something else. I won’t quibble. I have my doubts too…But the important thing here is to think like Forrest…not like Dal…and to Forrest…The person who said “To an ant a mud puddle is an ocean”…this might very well be a canyon. Additionally, I believe we are supposed to use our imagination…I mean look at that photo…That certainly has the characteristics of a canyon to me.

Not far but too far to walk… Here lies the first conundrum. How far is to far too walk…and to whom is it to far? Well..since our canyon is on a diminutive scale, perhaps our “to far” distance is also on a diminutive scale…maybe…but here’s another idea…If you tried to walk in that canyon of overly warm water it would be too slippery and to warm to get very far. You might get one step but by the second step you’d be sliding and your feet would be scalded. And look at that steep slope in the photo above…you’d be on your keister in no time if you put feet in that canyon…it is clearly too far to walk…because the water is too warm and the canyon is to slippery to walk…you might make it a short way but not the entire length. My imagination might be working overtime…but that’s all I’ve got…and Forrest accused me, on this very blog, of not having any imagination…

So practically any distance at all in that canyon is too far to walk…40ft would be impossible..in my opinion…

Put in below the home of Brown…I actually have a home of brown…I actually even have brown..ok…not a caps brown…but ..but…but…

Look at the pic below…

That’s pretty brown

That brown ooze is either bacteria or a mineral that comes out of the geyser…so the geyser is the home of that brown stuff…

Okay, okay…you don’t like that home of Brown…ok…try this one…

The Firehole River…It is definitely a home for Brown trout.

So if you put in BELOW the home of Brown…you could be putting in on the south side of the river..South is below on a map..North is at the top and South is at the bottom…

South is down

This is what the canyon down looks like from the other side of the Firehole river from Ojo Caliente…the South side…

The below side…the place to put in…

And no…you don’t have to swim across the river to get to the other side…because there is an excellent and convenient bridge across the river right next to Ojo Caliente…

Walk across on that bridge and along the river to the place below the home of Brown…

From there it’s no place for the meek…this is the caldera of a super volcano for crying out loud. If you are afraid of loud noises or being blown to smithereens this is no place for you.

The end is ever drawing neigh…to get to the treasure walk to the left along the river.

Til you get to the creek that you can’t paddle up…like this one in the pic below…

Fairy Creek which runs into the Firehole River a hundred feet or so from Ojo Caliente

This is Fairy Creek. It enters the river just a hundred feet or so from Ojo Caliente. At over 7,000ft it’s certainly water high and as you can see it has heavy loads of log and rock debris as well as minerals from various hot springs along it’s route.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze…lots of blazes on tree trunks from bison using them as back scratchers…but even for the sake of this solution I cannot believe that Forrest intended a mark on a live tree to be visible for a few hundred years…The blaze needs to be something more timeless like a stone carving or a rock cairn or a large white stripe of quartz in a basalt rock face…something that will stand out and be there for centuries.

I walk up the creek and keep my eyes open. Here is a marvel gaze of the area from up on a hill. The creek winds in and out of open places and various copses of trees.

The view from  a hill down onto an open area along Fairy Creek

There are many natural rock piles in the area. They often look like this.

Could a rock pile be a blaze?

And they have interesting and exciting cubby’s for hiding 10x10x5 bronze chests.

But which rock pile? There are hundreds of them.

None that I could see were any more likely than the next…no “F” anywhere…no large quartz rock standing out…no ancient petroglyphs…

So…that’s how the solution ended…same as most end for me…no blaze…stumped…

But it was fun…I had a ball…In all..the walk from where I parked to Ojo Caliente and then Fairy Creek and then the area with potential blazes…about a half hour…about a mile and a half. Very even terrain…unless you decide you must climb a hill to look at the view…

It took me longer because I was figuring things out..and taking pictures, climbing hills and having fun…

Here’s a Google satmap of the area.

I think I’m through with small scale solutions…


Tuesday September 18th

Visting Forrest

Our trip to MO went well and Kathy and I turned Ezmerelda west and headed for Santa Fe. On Monday I visited with Forrest. Willie was the first to greet me.

Forrest already had two guests when I arrived. Alex, a writer for the German edition of Playboy Magazine and Jason, a searcher who, with Sacha, will be taking Alex out on a search this week. I guess we’ll all have to read the German edition of Playboy to see if they found it.

Alex has some serious journalism under his belt. He excels at profiles. HERE is his web page. I’m looking forward to his story. I need to brush up on my German….

Jason, Alex and Forrest in Forrest’s office as Alex grabs a couple shots of Forrest for the story he is writing.

Jason is a First Sergeant in the Army. That makes him a senior non-commissioned officer with three up and three down and a diamond in the center.

Typically a First Sergeant would be in command of an entire company of infantry. I walked to the other side of the street when I saw those senior NCOs headed in my direction…Jason looks like the kind of guy who could find that chest…I don’t know where he’s looking but I hope it’s the wrong place 🙂 He worries me!!

Forrest was looking good. I think that was the first time I saw him wearing a shirt that wasn’t checkered. Alex interviewed him for a couple of hours while Jason and I listened intently for clues or hints…there weren’t any that I noticed…maybe Jason feels differently. You’ll have to ask…or read the story. I don’t know when it will be coming out.

Before we left Forrest posed with Kathy next to Ezmerelda wearing one of Kathy’s new acquisitions. It reminds me of the lodge hats that Fred and Barney used to wear on The Flintstones.

Forrest and Willie on the front porch saying goodbye to Jason and Alex.

It was great seeing Forrest. Nothing new to report. No bombshells. Just that a good time was had by all.


Thursday September 20th

Heading Home

 

I went by Ezy in the repair shop parking lot this morning. I had not made my decision yet about what to do with her…junk her or have them replace the motor…

Kathy said I should let Ezy wear the buffalo hat and take a pic…

I don’t know…looks like she’s smiling to me…

So I walked into the shop and told them I wanted them to put a new motor in her…

I feel so much better and I believe Ezy does too…

So we moved the last of the mountain of stuff Kathy collected at Yard Sales in Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri from Ezy to our brand new (to me), 2005 Ford Expedition…it was the only vehicle we could find that was big enough to haul all the stuff we had inside Ezy…and we left Cortez for Mesa Verde National Park…

What a place…800 years of settlement by folks who made houses and communities starting in pits about 550AD to the  amazing cliff dwellers around 1200AD and beyond…then…they simply disappeared…vanished!!…Pretty cool trick…

The park protects nearly 5000 archaeological sites. It was home to thousands of folks who planted corn, raised families and built communities all over the Mesa. The educational exhibits did a phenomenal job of increasing my understanding of how those folks lived.

The Mesa Loop Drive is a lovely self guided driving tour with interpretive signage and a museum and naturalists…excellent job…

Not all the communities at Mesa Verde were cliff dwellings. Below is an archaeological dig on a pit house. One of the oldest types of housing found in the park.

They even have dioramas of several of the pueblos and cliff dwellings that are great fun to lose yourself in…

I wonder if some archaeologist a thousand years from now is going to be looking at the foundation of my house and trying to understand what life must have been like back in the early 2000s?

The views in the park from the top of that Mesa are absolutely staggering…

And let us not forget that one of the prizes for finding the chest is a turquoise and silver bracelet made from beads found by Richard Wetherill one of the original investigators of Mesa Verde…even before it became a national park in 1906. Below is a pic of Richard Wetherill and party at their camp in the park.

The “new to me” Ford is running great. It has more gizmos than I know what to do with. Even air conditioning and adjustable peddle heights for the brake and accelerator…But get this…this thing gets about 12mpg…About half of what Ezy gets. When I get back to Cortez to pick up Ezy I’ll be selling this SUV back to the dealer where I bought it…

But I’m not complaining…I’m happy as a clam that Ezy is getting a new life and I have a reliable vehicle to drive back to Lummi Island…. and holds all our collected wonders 🙂

 

UPDATE
October 21st, 2018

Headed back to Cortez, CO to pick up Ezy. Two solid days of driving each way…
Anxious to see Ezy. I hope she remembers me…

Looking forward to the drive through the aspen color in the foothills. Might stop HERE to see the Pando, the Trembling Giant…say hi…take a few selfies…ask the giant about life, Home of Brown….that kind of thing…

by dal


 

 

 

 

 

 

Grayling Creek 2017: Dal’s Version…

NOVEMBER 2017
by dal…

 

Earlier this year ABC Nightline contacted Forrest, Cynthia and me about a story the network news folks wanted to produce on Forrest’s treasure and the searchers who go after it.

Forrest agreed, Cynthia agreed and so did I. The logistical problem of a story like this for the producers includes the fact that the search covers four mountain states and searchers are widespread in their opinion about which of those states the chest actually resides in. So if you, as a producer are covering this chase with two searchers and an interview with Forrest you could end up sending camera crews and reporters to New Mexico for an interview with Forrest and two other states to cover the search by two searchers. If I decide to look in Montana in fall and Cynthia decides to look in Colorado in spring and Forrest wants to do the interview when his new book comes out…that’s a lot of trips for one 15 minute story. It takes time and money to cover at least three different locations at differing times of the year with a three or 4 person crew each time. The big networks have the resources to take that kind of story in stride. Independent filmmakers would rather film a single searcher and Forrest both in New Mexico and within a few days of one another. One trip, one crew…get ‘er done.

If a producer should be so unlucky as to plan on filming a searcher who thinks the chest is located inside Yellowstone National Park…a whole new level of problems presents itself. For instance, Yellowstone National Park doesn’t want to encourage searchers inside the park and they will send staff to oversee the film crew and searcher, much like a prison guard at Alcatraz. You have to search within a quarter mile of a road…and many more restrictions for searchers being filmed.

On the other hand an independent filmmaker and searcher might just slip into the park unnoticed and “get er done”. As illegal as that might be, the story gets shot and the park is unlikely to notice. BUT…if the producer does get caught it can lead to arrest and fines…even permanent banishment from entering a national park. So folks who know the rules usually choose not to break them. The cost is too severe if things go awry.

The plan was for us to meet the ABC crew on September 18th for filming in or around the park. Esmerelda, Kathy and I left for Yellowstone on September 14th. It was beautiful the day we packed up. I heard some hooting in the woods and knew one of the critters that inhabit our woods was wondering what was going on.

BARRED OWL IN OUR WOODS

Along the way we stopped near Arco, Idaho at Craters of the Moon National Monument for a walk and a look/see. This was a good time to visit. Dead of summer this place can be uncomfortably (miserably) hot and walking around on black lava rock when it’s 96 degrees is not my characterization of “a good time”. But it’s a unique micro environment and terribly interesting.

CRATERS OF THE MOON

I like getting down on my hands and knees to look for small things. I ran directly into this guy:

HORNED LIZARD

I’m not superstitious but I have to tell you…between the Barred Owl and the Horned Lizard I was beginning to feel like we were favored. If this was the way we were starting out, the rest of the trip could be fortunate indeed!

Since starting her search, Cynthia had been looking in New Mexico. She has written some great stories about her searches there and I highly recommend you read them on this very blog. She is a riveting writer and a fantastic searcher. Her stories will entertain and inform you. But, for a variety of reasons Cynthia wanted to search up near Yellowstone. She had never been there before, not even as a tourist and there were things she wanted to check out. So Cynthia, her partner Michelle and their dog Molly packed up and headed north. Tom and Coreda and their dog Ming, who were visiting Cynthia and Michelle also headed  toward the park. That was great. I had not seen Tom and Coreda since Fennboree.

We were a big contingent. Including the 3 crew from Nightline and my wife Kathy, we would be nine people and two bronze-sniffing dogs. That chest was not going to escape this time!

As it turned out, only Cynthia, Molly and myself would be searching on camera. The question was whether we should search together in one place to make it easier on the Nightline crew or should we each search in a different location? AND…should we search inside the park or outside the park? I had ideas for both…where to search???

Another concern was snow. Winter was moving in and nobody wanted to get caught in a snowstorm while searching. It would send the wrong message to other searchers and anyway nobody looks dignified on camera while slipping and sliding around. As Kathy and I drove the loop road in Yellowstone we saw snow in the hills:

SNOW IN THE PARK

ELK IN SNOW

By the next morning the snow was gone. On the 17th of September Cynthia and I met up for some looking around West Yellowstone, finding a few Forrest Fenn memorable locations and planning our search.

BISON IN THE PARK

We decided to search together but outside the park. I was particularly interested in an area around Grayling Creek I had not been able to examine. So we made plans to look there.

Grayling Creek has interested me for several years. The clues can take me to a number of places on that lovely creek and I know Forrest fished here.

I wrote earlier about searching on Grayling Creek in Grayling Creek Part One and Part Two on this blog. They can be found HERE

The creek starts in the park and winds its way west down to Hebgen Lake. It is one of many creeks I was investigating along the line of “There’ll be no paddle up your creek”

So here are the major points of the solution we were following:

WWWH = Madison Junction

Canyon Down = Madison Canyon

HOB = Baker’s Hole Campground

WAIT!!! Stop there…Why is Baker’s Hole the Home of Brown…?

That might be the worst fishing hole on the Madison. I’ve never seen anyone lift a fish from that spot. So it can’t be because of Brown trout.

Wellllll….We were using some old information that has been around this blog and others for many years. Namely that Baker’s Hole has not always been known by that name. You can see this for yourself on a 1912 Map of Gallatin County which is easily found on the internet.

Click HERE to go to the 1912 map.

You can see on that map where Baker’s Hole is today was once known as Brown’s Camp. Not too far below Baker’s Hole is Hebgen Lake…Hebgen Lake has a number of Creeks flowing into it and I have been checking them out as potential “No paddle up you creek” type places. By the way that map was also drawn by Fred Brown. I have not been able to find out if he was the Brown of Brown’s Camp…Maybe someone smarter than me can look into that…

In earlier years I had looked at the lower portion of Grayling downstream of the old Culligan Ranch to the lake. I have also looked upstream at the stretch between the Culligan Ranch and the waterfall. Much of this stretch is on private land and I had obtained permission before venturing in. Now, Cynthia and I were hoping to search the stretch between Hwy 191 downstream to somewhere above the waterfall. Our emphasis would be on the high elevation meadow along the north side of Grayling Creek. This stretch is completely on public land.

GRAYLING CREEK

In particular there is a large open meadow on level ground where animals (In my mind) would congregate for grazing and watering. It looked to be a pretty place…somewhere maybe Forrest might choose to be his final resting place.  Isolated, but not remote.

We met the ABC crew on the evening of the 17th around a campfire at Cynthia’s cabin, down the road from the park. The crew staged Cynthia and me at a picnic table looking over maps and discussing our search plans for the next day. It was here that they interviewed us prior to the search.

PLANNING THE NEXT DAY’S SEARCH

The next morning the crew and Cynthia met at my cabin in West Yellowstone. From there we headed up 191 about five miles to where Grayling Creek goes under the highway. The day was overcast but still and comfortable. Perfect hiking weather. Cynthia and I watched as the crew prepped their film gear and armed us with wireless microphones. Then we headed out, five humans and one ambitious dog.

Cynthia always searches with her dog Molly, who seems to really enjoy snuffling around in the sage and wildflowers. She also has no problem wading in hypothermic trout streams.

MOLLY

MOLLY & CYNTHIA WALKING THE CREEK

The weather was spectacular and the meadow was beautiful. A perfect place to come and enjoy animals, the smells of pine, peace, and a beautiful trout stream. I had high hopes…EXCEPT…what Blaze????

THE MEADOW

This is almost always my dilemma. I get to a spot but cannot identify the next clue…in this case, the mysterious blaze. If I had been by myself I would have explored the place and then left…blazeless.

But Cynthia saw it right away. She was not coy about it at all. “There is the blaze”, she shouted, and five humans and one dog marched quickly toward her large, bold blaze, high on a cliff at the end of the meadow.

THE BLAZE IN THE DISTANCE HIGH ON A CLIFF FACE

As we were parading toward the blaze Cynthia stopped to investigate a willow thicket mid-meadow. To our surprise, inside was a partly camouflaged and very recently killed deer. Frighteningly fresh. That morning perhaps. It made what’s left of the hair on my head bristle. I knew exactly what we were looking at. I had seen a hidden type of cache like this  about forty years ago while filming a documentary with the Craighead brothers.

The Craigheads were considered the crowned princes of Grizzly bear research and in the process of filming with them over several days they had taken me to a number of bear “locations” during the fall and winter. In addition to a bear den we had also visited a bear food cache. It looked uncomfortably like what we were now staring at. What I didn’t know and what concerned me most was where the owner was. The bear could be very close by. If the griz saw us messing with his food there would be hell to pay. I stepped back from the cache. I quickly glanced around 360 degrees. My nervous system was on high alert. I thought that if I were a bear I would have headed to high ground to keep an eye out for anything approaching my food.

The best we could hope for was a napping bear. I did not want to alarm anyone. We were having too much fun. I moved away from the cache and quietly mentioned tp Cynthia what I figured we were looking at. No bear revealed itself. I held tightly onto my thoughts and moved toward the blaze while keeping my eyes peeled for anything large and furry.

CYNTHIA’S WILLOW THICKET IN THE BACKGROUND

As we crossed the meadow to the blaze and ventured into Lodgepole Pine thickets near the creek I yelled out “HEY BEAR!”, just so we wouldn’t surprise any napping or foraging grizzly.

Finally, we stood underneath the blaze and looked quickly down. Cynthia saw the perfect hiding spot for Indulgence. A boulder that had peeled off the rock cliff hundreds, or perhaps thousands of years ago. It was trenched under at one end. Possibly as a shelter for some previous dweller…a badger or weasel or coyote. Molly was interested in the hiding place too. It was an exciting moment. Cynthia encouraged Molly to get into that den…Molly sniffing and getting excited…Cynthia and the crew adrenalized with the possibilities in front of us…me swiveling my head watching for bears…

A GOOD HIDEY PLACE

After both Molly and Cynthia had explored the den and found nothing of significance we gave the area a thorough walk through, looking for any other possible hidey spots or smaller blazes while the crew filmed our every consideration. We noticed that there were no trails in the area and we saw no others in our luscious meadow the whole day. Not even a fisher on Grayling Creek. It seemed like such a perfect place. I thought about spreading my tarp here and spending the night anyway.

CREW FILMING

CREW FOLLOWING

After spending a further hour scouring the edges and creekside…nothing was discovered and we reluctantly headed back to the highway and our vehicles.

I have to say that I really enjoyed searching with Cynthia. She is very respectful of the landscape and very appreciative of a beautiful meadow and trout stream. We had a great time. Cynthia is enthusiastic, agile and walks fast…so be warned if you have the opportunity to keep up with her…and Molly is a hoot…Always quiet and always observing as much as possible whatever is around her. Great hiking buddies.

dal-

You can read Cynthia’s version of this search HERE

The end result of the crew’s work are two stories on the ABC site. One story is video and the other is written. The written story is HERE

The video story can be found HERE

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Two…

scrapbook

NOVEMBER 2014

 

Age

114

Of course she wasn’t 29 but I don’t dare mention that. You know how women are about their age. That ad ran on November the 16th sometime during the 20th century, and that’s all I’m going to say, except that the phone started ringing and she didn’t know she knew so many strangers.

112

Peggy

If you want to know her age you can ask Peggy, but if you do I suggest you come wearing a bullet proof vest and carrying a bible.

A few relatives know that I’m ___years older than my wife so I can’t talk about that either because anyone who’s good at math could figure it out. But I’ll give you a hint; all of my friends tell me I don’t look 49.

IMG_1005

Forrest-2014

Some men are a little secretive about their age also – like Dal, so I would never embarrass him by saying. But he’s 20 + 9 – 7 x 3 + 13 – 6 + 8 + 8. If his wife works the arithmetic and tells him his age he’ll probably deny it. But he is however old he is.

dal

dal

Maybe I’m just mad because political correctness won’t let me say what I’m thinking.  Guess I’ll just go fishing. f