You’re In Luck…

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JUne 2012

ON JUNE 1st, 2014 DAL ADDED THE FOLLOWING:
this cache has been removed/stolen I will place a new one soon.

 

I spent several days in sunny New Mexico and several days in rainy Montana looking for the treasure. You’ll be happy to know that I didn’t find it.

But I left a game I thought we could all play. Regular readers of this blog will remember that last summer KOB-TV reporter Gadi Schwartz duct taped a candy bar to a sign near where he was looking for the treasure not far from West Yellowstone, Montana. This spring I found the remains. The candy bar was gone…probably swiped by a chocolate loving bear. But the duct tape was there. I met-up with Gadi for breakfast one morning last week and we  compared notes about where we thought the treasure might be and why. Gadi mentioned that it might be fun to make a game out of leaving things for fellow searchers to find. In that regard I assembled a cache and left it in West Yellowstone near a Fenn landmark. So the object of this game is similar to the geocaching game that is popular right now.

It’s pretty simple. Someone hides a box or bag with some goodies in it and then publishes the directions for finding it along with the latitude and longitude for those with a portable GPS. When you find the cache you are allowed to take something and you are supposed to leave something. In this way the goodies in the cache keep changing. There is usually a log in the cache where folks who find it can leave their name and home town as well as list what they took and what they left.

Our game is pretty much the same. I have assembled a group of inexpensive little goodies and stashed them in a small, plastic food storage box. I hid the box. But it’s a lot easier to find than Forrest’s treasure chest. So if you go looking for Forrest’s treasure in or around West Yellowstone I hope you’ll take a few minutes to also look for the cache that I have named the “Dude Cache”.

This is so easy that kids should have a good time finding it. Once you find it, take something, leave something, enter your names and hometown on the log and then put it back where you found it for the next person….and…if you can…take a cool photo that includes both the cache and yourself and email it to me along with a story about searching for the treasure or the cache or both and I’ll put the stories and pics in this blog. It will be fun to see how the cache changes and how many people find it.

Okay…so this is what I put inside the cache:

1-Lummi Island Refrigerator Magnet. Very rare, unless you live on Lummi Island.

1-Chunk of Obsidian suitable for your Yellowstone Rock Collection.

1-Nut or Seedpod from the Bishop’s Close Botanical Garden in Portland OR. It was growing on a tree there. I don’t know what it is. Looks like nutmeg or a walnut but I am certain it’s not. I put it in my glove compartment when I visited the garden this spring so I could look up what kind of tree it was growing on…then I forgot about it.

1-Vintage marble found at the end of the Riverside Trail where the “barns” used to be located. Maybe it was Forrest’s.

1-Small, Yellowstone National Park pin.

2-Fishing Flies guaranteed to be appetizing to Brown Trout in the Madison River. One is a hopper and the other is made to look like some sort of spring hatch. These have hooks so please don’t stab yourself when you reach into the box.

Where it’s located…

You will have to find the Dude Motel in West Yellowstone. By the way, Forrest, his brother Skippy and their friend Donnie built this motel about 1962. Forrest picked the name. They don’t own it any more. Forrest related a great story that took place during a National Governor’s Conference one year. Ronald Reagan, then Governor of California, was staying at the Dude. He lost his key and had to go out back to the alley and break in through the bathroom window. Can you imagine Ronald Reagan crawling into his motel room through the bathroom window? Those were much simpler times I guess…

The Dude Motel is located on the corner of Boundary Street and Madison Avenue in West Yellowstone, Montana. From the motel walk across Boundary Street to the sign that reads “Riverside Trail”. From that sign take 67 adult paces up the trail. This should take you to another sign that displays some information about the trail. From that sign take a left turn and move about 15 adult paces into the woods over some fallen logs and limbs. Look down and to your left and you should see the clear & blue container on the ground, behind a log.

When you are through with it please put it back in the same place so others can find it. Please don’t place any food in the container. That would just attract bears who would steal the whole box and no one would ever find it. Bears are no good at game rules.

For the Geocaching purists out there…forget all the previous clues and head to the following coordinates:

N 44deg 39.625

W 111deg 05.789

You should be standing on it.

Okay…lets see what happens… Have Fun!!

dal…

Meeting Forrest….

Forrest & Dal (Note how I am trying to stand upslope so as to appear somewhat equal in height)

I’ve been asked more than a few times since I started this blog, how I met Forrest. Well, the truth of the matter is that although I was introduced to Forrest some sixteen or so years ago I didn’t actually meet him until just over a month ago….

I’m a documentary filmmaker by trade. Telling stories on film and video has been my occupation since the Marine Corps made an administrative error casting me into the real-life role of motion picture cameraman. It was a simple human error that probably saved my bacon.

After four years of shooting government film all over the Pacific I headed to college and began working for a series of TV stations, film units and production companies. I started my own video production company in the mid ’80s. I am probably one of the few jarheads who can actually say that I learned a practical trade in the Marine Corps. One that I continue practicing to this day.

In 1986 I was producing Science News stories for CNN as a freelancer. One of the stories I shot was about a team of divers who were hoping to recover a safe from the wreck of the SS Governor in some fairly treacherous water off Washington State’s coast. The story was about the technology of saturation diving these folks were utilizing to search the sunken ship. Later I followed this team filming their adventures on other underwater explorations including searching for a WWII era B-17 aircraft that disappeared in 1947 in Labrador, a Yukon Gold Rush era ship carrying a large shipment of gold that sank in Alaska and a WWII Japanese submarine carrying a shipment of gold that was torpedoed in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Still later, I joined their team and worked for several years in Uruguay  locating and then diving on ancient wrecks from Spain, Britain and South America. We salvaged thousands of artifacts including beautiful bronze canons, delicate crystalware, jars, navigational instruments, coins and more until a political realignment in Uruguay made it impossible for the project to continue. The Operations Manager for this expedition was a fellow named Crayton.  As a team we all lived together in a rented house in Montevideo and on days when we were not working the wrecks or pulling maintenance on our equipment we often traded stories. Crayton told wonderful stories of his Uncle who lived in Santa Fe and led a fascinating life that wowed even the most jaded team members. This was my introduction to Forrest…

Crayton in his swimsuit...I guess adventuring runs in the family.

As I am sure you’ll agree, Forrest is a fascinating character. So, from time to time I would check on what new thing Forrest was up to by Googling his name or getting an update from Crayton. Such was the case about a year ago when I heard about Forrest’s latest book and the hidden treasure chest.

It was November of 2010 when I started making my plans to go look for the treasure. My search area was likely covered in snow so I decided to wait until spring to head out. I made my first trip out in May of 2011. When I got home, treasure-less, I decided to email Forrest and tell him of my adventure. I had really enjoyed the hunt and saw places I never expected to see on the expedition.  I also saw a problem looming. I knew there was a good possibility that Crayton might have mentioned my name to Forrest over the years that we had worked together. I figured that if Forrest knew I was searching and recognized my name he might assume that I was getting inside information from Crayton. I wasn’t but Forrest might not know that. Things began to feel gummy around the edges.

So I created a new email account and took on the name of Mike. This concern of course was all in my head because as Forrest has repeatedly stated “No one knows where the treasure is hidden except me.”  In fact, Forrest has specifically said that his friends and family are all welcome to search for the treasure because only Forrest knows where its at.

But at the time none of this registered. So I wrote to Forrest as “Mike”. Forrest wrote back and encouraged me to look more. I made a second trip out in June and again came back treasure-less. On the way home I was already laying plans for my third trip in August. I was certain I knew where it was before I even got home and wrote Forrest telling him where I was going to look and sent along some evidence that this was the right place. He said that if I was near Santa Fe when I came back in August I should let him know and he’d buy me a cool lemonade because its hot out there. I knew that although there was the possibility he was familiar with my name, there was no chance he knew what I looked like so it would be possible for me to meet up with him and remain Mike. I was excited about the possibility of finally getting to meet the legendary Forrest after 15 years of hearing great tales about him.

Then the unexpected happened. Forrest wrote back that a TV news guy (Gadi Schwartz from KOB-TV) wanted to hang out with a hunter and would it be okay if he followed me around when I returned. Yikes!!! Does this mean Forrest thinks I’ll find it? Am I that close? Or does he suspect I am not really Mike and he’s trying to smoke me out? Or is my spot so far away that its no problem for the news guy and the rest of the known world to see my useless spot? If I say I don’t want to have Gadi along will it screw up my email relationship with Forrest?…turmoil. I hate turmoil.

There were all sorts of reasons to stay Mike and all sorts of reasons to fess-up and continue the search as Dal. I was stuck but decided to move the question to the background because I didn’t have to worry about it until I met Gadi in New Mexico.

Just before leaving on my third trip to New Mexico I wrote Gadi and we arranged to meet at a specific time near my search location. I thought about what to do with this “Mike” issue all the way down there. For 30 hours my head was consumed about “Mike vs Dal”. I was careful not to give Gadi my license plate number or even the state I was from. He did not have my cell because that would tell him both my real name and my area code. I brought along a pair of license plates from Michigan and planned to put them on my truck if I decided to meet him as Mike. This whole “Mike” thing was getting ridiculously complicated. I began to feel like I was in an episode of “Weeds”. Crap was piling on faster than I could shovel it off. I decided to wait and see what Gadi was like before I committed to Dal or Mike.

I got to my spot a little early and quickly discovered that it was not as good as it had appeared on paper and Google Earth. I had a couple of back-up spots in mind and headed out to one. The next spot looked better than the first so I decided to take Gadi there. He showed up at the appointed early hour and turned out to be a darn nice guy. We went to a cafe for a cup of coffee and I told him who I was and why I had become Mike. He thought that was a pretty good side bar to his story. He went back and forth about whether he should call me Dal or Mike in his story. I shoved the decision off on him and busied myself with looking for the treasure.

We had a great time. Gadi is a good hunter and fine hiking companion. Of course we didn’t find it. But we had a helluva time looking. As Gadi was climbing in his car to head back down to Santa Fe he decided that I should be Dal in his story. I agreed but asked that he give me time to talk to Forrest about this. I didn’t want Forrest to find out I was lying to him from watching a story on TV. I felt I should tell him myself.

I emailed Forrest and told him that I’d like to take him up on his offer of a lemonade. We agreed on a time and met at the Collected Works Bookstore in downtown Santa Fe.  After we got drinks and sat down near a display table that was stacked with Forrest’s books I admitted who I really was and told him the story of why I had concealed my name. Forrest just laughed, shook his head and said it was fine if I wanted to consult with Crayton because Crayton would have no idea where it is. No one does, except Forrest.

From the bookstore Forrest invited me to his office. A few minutes later I was marveling at his vast collection of  incredible artifacts. His office is like the museum of the Southwest and being there with Forrest is like being in the Smithsonian with Joseph Henry. He has stories and tales and he’s just easy to be with. The collection of all kinds of items in his office is frankly, breathtaking. I Took some photos, shot a little video of him in his lab cleaning animal bones from San Lazaro Pueblo. Tried to weasel a clue or two out of him and left grateful for the opportunity to visit.

Forrest in his lab..the artifacts here are from his San Lazaro pueblo

Since then we have emailed both during my searches and when I am at home. I’ve stopped trying to pump him for clues. Sometimes he’ll give out what sounds like a clue but upon scrutiny, is not. One of my favorites is in the Margi Goldsmith interview. “it’s more than 300 miles southwest of Toledo”, he said.

Sounds like a clue doesn’t it? But which Toledo is he referring to?  And does that rule out anything to the west of Toledo?

He’s like a magician but instead of white rabbits he can use words to create an illusion. He is a genuine wordsmith.

dal…aka Mike…

Forrest in the News….

On Monday and Tuesday KOB-TV ran a two part news story on Forrest and the treasure hunt. Gadi Schwartz was the reporter and he has put together a very nice resource page for treasure hunters HERE.

For some reason they seem to have taken down part one of the story.  So I’ve posted the videos on my website. The links are below:

Part one is a great interview with Forrest..pay close attention..you may learn something important.

PART ONE

Part two is Gadi and a crusty, old seasoned treasure hunter out looking for the gold.

PART TWO