To The Gold…

February, 2019

By John (Crazy Fox)

 

First of all, let me state that the following is all just my opinion on where to find the treasure.  Also, I want to say that my solve was only made possible by all the brave people out there who are willing to share ideas.  So thank you all.  Thanks to Dal for hosting this site and a very special thank you to the man himself, who got me hooked on his fishing line, Forrest Fenn.

I enjoy watching nature documentaries and recently watched a documentary about the four seasons of Yellowstone.  Spring, summer, fall and winter.  Winter is especially tough in Yellowstone and the great bison struggle to survive the cold, harsh environment.  But then spring comes and life is renewed and the cycle continues.  I think this transition from winter to spring is important in understanding the poem.

Begin it where warm waters halt.  From the documentary, I learned that everything freezes in Yellowstone except the Firehole River.  The Firehole River runs north where it meets the Madison River.  The warm waters of the Firehole River run into the Madison River where the waters freeze (or halt).  Waters is plural because the Firehole splits right before it meets the Madison.  We don’t need to know a specific pin-point location, but more of a general area of where to start this search.  So, where the Firehole River meets the Madison River is my warm waters halt.

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Since the waters freeze, this indicates that we are in wintertime at the beginning of the poem.  Wintertime is symbolic of death and spring is symbolic of new life.  Death and new life are reoccurring themes in my search for the treasure.  Think of a forest fire…the pine trees burn and are destroyed but the pine cones are heated up enough to reseed the forest and start life anew.

Note: I’m not very articulate, so for clarity I’m trying to keep this story short and as simple as possible. 

And take it in the canyon down.  To me, it simply means follow the downstream flow of the Madison River, west through the canyon.  I think Begin it where warm waters halt and take it in the canyon down is probably the first clue, but I never really tried to count clues and I’m not doing so in this story.  If anything, I think all the lines are clues.

Not far, but too far to walk.  In my opinion, this just means we’re driving now because it’s simply too far to walk.  But how far do we go? Not very far, but we have to continue west on the highway until we know where to “put in” (or park).  There has to be something that let’s us know how far to go.

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Put in below the home of Brown.  If we’re heading west on the highway, the Madison River will be on your left hand side (or south of the higway). 

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All of the examples in The Thrill of the Chase (TTOTC) refer to brown as a color.  I’ve heard people suggest that Brown Trout is what the brown is referencing.  I think this makes a whole lot of sense, since Forrest is an avid fly-fisherman and was a fishing guide in his younger days and the Madison is world-famous for its Brown Trout.  We are in our car traveling west and we are north (or above) the home of Brown (the Madison River).  So, we keep going until we are below (or south) of the river.

Remember the story about Forrest flying above Philadelphia and he stuck his thumb in front of his eye covering the whole area?  As we come through the canyon, there will be a valley on your left that kind of looks like a thumb.  At the northwest corner of the valley there is an overpass where the highway crosses over the river and there is a horseshoe-shaped parking area right after the overpass.  If we park there, we are now at the home of Brown because we are now south (or below) the river.  If people figured out the first two clues but not the home of Brown, then I could see how they would easily go right past this quietly forgotten area. 

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Okay, before we proceed let’s take a look at the double omegas, because we passed those along the way.  Omega means the end and…death.  Two omegas equal two deaths.  In the chapter My War For Me in TTOTC, Forrest writes about Operation Arc Light when he was shot down and the bombs dropped in rapid succession after he had parachuted down.  He says “I experienced what was perhaps the most terrifying event of my life”.  And “the noise blasted me to my core”.  “The roar was so traumatic I felt that if it happened again I might not survive”.  And “I am convinced that thousands of animals, human and otherwise, were killed in Vietnam by sound alone”.  When Forrest got cancer he was given only a 20% chance to live.  Thank God Forrest didn’t actually die either time, but I’m sure he felt like he was going to die these two times in his life.  So for me, the two omegas represent these two events in his life when he thought it was the end for him.  Symbolic deaths if you will.  We have two omegas so we have two ends.  What is the end of the end…a new beginning?

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Okay, let’s go back to the home of Brown and figure out no place for the meek.

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In TTOTC, the chapter No Place For Biddies, the biddies say “he’d run away from home but he’s not allowed to cross the street”.  Forrest didn’t say anything out loud to the biddies because he was meek.  But instead said to himself, “I could cross the dumb street anytime I wanted to”.  So, from the home of Brown we cross the highway on foot, into the wooded area.  But how can it be in a place like this valley?  The place is so exposed and people and park rangers would see you in there and you’d get in trouble if caught.  Is that why we need a flashlight?  Are we supposed to sneak in there at night or something?

The end is ever drawing nigh;  The end of winter is drawing near in our poem and I think Forrest used the semicolon to signify the transition from winter to spring.  Also, nigh meaning to the left, gives us the direction that we will head toward the river and creek on our left.

There’ll be no paddle up your creek.  To me, it means we are not going up the creek.  This next part is where imagination is really more important than knowledge.  In the strange Scrapbook 116, Forrest posts about images that he can see in his shower tiles.  This effect is known as pareidolia.  An example would be the famous face on Mars that people think they see.  I have found pareidolia images as well in this valley.  I see a bird, a duck, a mountain lion’s face, but the ones I want to focus on are the phone, the alligator and the leaping frog (front view) with paddle feet.  The frog reminds me of the frog Forrest placed in the chest with the large “paddle” feet.  I’ve drawn these pareidolia images so they’re easier to see.  The first one is the easiest to see…the phone.

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Now, see if you can spot these in the landscape of the valley.

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Pic15The alligator has one of the frog’s paddle feet clenched in his jaw.  Hence, no paddle up your creek.  Hope that made sense.

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So, no paddle up your creek, JUST across the river.  If we’re standing on the bank, looking across the river, we see the phone on the other side.  Does Forrest really want us to cross the river?  When I actually thought the chest was hidden in here, I read the lines So hear me all and listen good, Your effort will be worth the cold.  HEAR ME ALL?!!!…on this giant phone!!!  So that gives us the crossing point…where the river is narrowest by the phone’s receiver.  Your effort will be worth the cold…meaning the cold water.  I think there’s more than one meaning to lines in the poem and I’m not going to go into all of them.  Just heavy loads and water high.  If it’s springtime now in our poem, the heavy loads are the snow-pack and the water high is the spring runoff.

Forrest talked about the time when he was in Laos and had to decide whether to try to walk out or call for help.  He decided that it wouldn’t be fair to Peggy if he took months to walk out, so he made the call for help.  To me, the giant phone symbolizes this call for help and he was then saved.  I’m not very articulate but hopefully you’re picking up on the meaning I’m trying to convey.  It’s springtime in the poem now, a chance for renewal of life.

So we’ve been wise and crossed over the river at the right spot and now we’re looking for the blaze, or the correct path.  If we are wise like an owl and see things from above then we can see the blaze.  It’s right next to the phone.  It’s the white, fallen dead tree (symbol of the first “death”).  Now we just need to find the second symbol of death and the two signs of life.  I know you’re probably thinking, how could this possibly be the blaze?  It’s not permanent.  It won’t be there in 100 or 1000 years.  I feel that Forrest wants this treasure found sooner rather than later.

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Look quickly down.  Follow the blaze down and it points toward a triangular sandy area.  That triangle is an arrowhead (just like the first arrowhead Forrest found as a small child).  This is the arrowhead that has struck the alligator, saving the frog, giving him new life.

But tarry scant with marvel gaze, just take the chest and go in peace.  If we sneaked into this area then tarry scant would mean don’t dawdle, just take the chest and get the heck out of there before your caught.  But I’ve already stated that I don’t believe the chest is there.  So there must be a deeper or alternate meaning to tarry scant.  Tarry as in tar or something resembling black.  In Tea With Olga (TTOTC) when Olga told Forrest she had cancer, they drank black tea.  I believe the black tea symbolized cancer (or death) and the green tea was symbolic of her new life (after death).  Forrest came back from death after beating cancer, so the double omegas represented the two “deaths” in Forrest’s life, now we’re looking for the green symbols of life.  On the arrowhead, it appears there are two green trees, I  truly believe this is the area where Forrest wanted to rest his bones.  His “bones” are represented by the second fallen tree (on the arrowhead by the trees) and is symbolic of his second “death” by cancer.

Forrest said we would have to use a magnifying glass to read what was inside the bottle.

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I found this sign by the double omegas and it’s hard to read and I had to zoom in all the way.  I believe it says…Naturally reseeded by wildfire in 1988.  1988…the same year Forrest was diagnosed with cancer.  I believe this is at least part of the reason why Forrest has said something to the effect of being umbilically tied to this spot.  The wildfire and reseeding is just one more example of death and new life.

Now let’s take a closer look at the comments Forrest made about searchers being within 500 feet and 200 feet of the treasure.

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If we take a look at the double omegas (the viewing areas), we see that one of the pullouts is 500 feet wide and the other one is 200 feet wide.  I think this is where the searchers have been.  The treasure is all right in front of us.  There’s no hidden chest filled with gold to find in this area.  The beauty of this special area is our treasure.

Don’t go where a 79/80 year old man wouldn’t go.

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One more thing…actually two.  There has to be an “X” marks the spot, right?

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If we measure out 200 feet from the “bones” (see first picture above), the red area is the banana.  Can you see it?  Grab every banana you can!

I’ve found our golden frog safe and alive, peeking his head out of the woods and hiding out from the black, shadowy figure holding a large flashlight (more pareidolia images).  If you want to find him in Google Earth, start at the “bones” and measure out 500 feet in the direction of the arrowhead point.

So if we draw lines from the banana and the golden frog the lines intersect at the “bones”.  X marks the spot!

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed.  Like I said, this is just my opinion.  If you think the chest is still out there, then good luck in your searches.  I’ve been typing this up while having the flu and fever so I’m going to go rest now as I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak.  If I get any comments or questions I’ll try to respond eventually.

-John (CrazyFox)

 

 

 

 

 

Through the Looking-Glass…

January, 2019

By Jonas

 

 

I’ve been fighting with this puzzle for more than a week now. I know that isn’t a long time for some of you in the chase community but I’m a very impatient man and must get rid of the itching an unsolved problem cause. I chose to make this public on HOD since I’m a Swedish resident and do not intend to go and get the treasure and I’m not sure I’ve legally could claim it if I wanted to. Before I present my solution I would like to express my gratitude to Mr Forrest Fenn – thank you sir, it’s been a thrill. Given my solution is right you are surely a genial architect. So here we go (I will try to keep it short).
The equivocal mirror solution.

Since I’ve first saw the poem I was sure the first paragraph is about losing yourself in the world of literature and art. I know Forrest Fenn said the purpose of the chase was to get out in the wild but I think that’s only half of it the other half is about educate yourself. A sort of body and life harmony in life and thereby the mirrored solutions.

I will reference the ”Wildlife reflection” as ”a)” and the ”Mind reflection” as ”b)”.
”Begin it where warm waters halt”

Using basic physics. Water, when heated rises and halt on the surface. First I was interpreting this as ”at the top” but I now know that it is the ”surface”.

a) Surface Creek by the Yellowstone River
b) Two Mile Reservoir outside Santa Fe (from now on this is what gives me the distance)
”And take it in the canyon down,”

a) Follow the Canyon (2 miles straight line)
b) Follow Canyon Rd (2 miles straight line)
”Not far, but to far to walk.”

a) I havet o get to the other side of the river
b) ” If Paris wasn’t so far away” (The Golden Road, L M Montgomery 1913). Paris, Texas is the birthplace of the Brown I am heading to.
”Put in below the home of Brown.”

”And then ‘mome raths’?” said Alice. “If I’m not giving you too much trouble.”
“Well a ‘rath’ is a sort of green pig, but ‘mome’ I’m not certain about. I think it’s sort for ‘from home’–meaning that they’d lost their way, you know.”

(Through The Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll 1871)
a) Lookout Point were Grafton Tyler Brown painted ”View of the Lower Falls, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone” 1890
b) The Irby Brown Gallery in Santa Fe
Jumping past a couple of lines in the poem since they don’t take me any further.

”There’ll be no paddle up your creek,”

a) Alum Creek (3 miles straight line)
””I wonder if it’s where we buried it yet,” Speculated Felix.
”I put a stone over it, just as we did over Pat,” said Cecily”
(The Golden Road, L M Montgomery 1913)

This is where you go if ”you’ve been wise” (Bring a sandwich a flashlight)

b) Santa Fe Public Library, La Fargo Branch (3 miles straight line)
””I read it in a book”, said Alice.”
(Through The Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll 1871)

This is were you go to get wise (Bring a sandwich and a flash lamp –  to burn the midnight oil)
Again, thank’s for the thrill!

-Jonas

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Ninety Seven…

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JANUARY 22nd, 2019

A More Human Side of the Chase

Normally I don’t read long emails, but these three came to me with the flavor of a different personality. Lee, who is from New York, was drawn to the chase by the desire for companionship with a friend who had no rigid expectations. This is their story. f

Dear Mr. Fenn;
I have written you before and I feel like you have become a great friend of mine even though I have not had the pleasure of meeting you.  I hope you won’t mind if, in the future, I address you as Dear Forrest – you have become very dear to me.

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Here is a picture of my best friend in all the world – Tyke.  Tyke and I took the train to search for your treasure in Colorado this summer, and (look at his face), we had the time of our lives.  After we got home, I learned that Tyke had terminal cancer.  As I write this, I’m about to lose my best friend, and I feel lost.  How can I ever thank you enough for getting us on that train and creating a wonderful memory that will last into eternity for us?  Words don’t suffice, but my heart is full.

Happy New Year, my dear Forrest.

Lee


Dear Forrest;
Thanks to you, we had four glorious “Fenn trips” – two were camping, in which we stopped at all sorts of fantastic places (Dodge City, the Daniel Boone National Forest, some reservations, we went to Pagosa Springs and camped out (with my father who is 3 months younger than you and a cancer survivor) in 38 degrees – and no, I did not think that Where Warm Waters Halt was Pagosa Springs!  We just wanted to see it.

I wish I knew you better because I think we have many shared interests.  I am around the same age as your daughters. My baby died on January 2nd.  Now I have to finish the story that we started together.

Lee


Dear Forrest;
I wanted to send you two more pictures of Tyke, to show you what a handsome fellow he was, and what a sweet soul.  He made friends wherever he went because he was so full of love and enthusiasm, and he thought that everyone was his friend.

On our last two trips, we took the train, and he made friends with people in the station, other people in the sleeping car, the conductor!  One girl I met on the train took pictures of Tyke and has them on her refrigerator!

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Lee

 

 

 

The Trembling Giant…

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JANUARY 2019
by dal…

 

Did I mention this earlier? 

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Creepy means different things to different people. To me sushi is creepy. I’m not fond of many raw foods outside of fruits. I pretty much like fish or meat well done enough to fall apart when I threaten it with a fork. This may stem from my mother’s cooking. She was not a great cook and she had some unusual ideas about serving food that seemed perfectly natural to me sixty years ago but in the occasional re-examination of my youth, I wonder what she was thinking. 

For example:

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Peas were always a side-dish. Mom served them in a saucer, bobbing in warm milk. I called them “floaters”. The peas came from a can and were closer to navy gray in color than pea green.

My mother didn’t like to buy breakfast cereal. Instead she would take a few slices of white bread, rip them up to spoon sized chunks, toss into a bowl and smother in milk and lightly sugar.

Friday was mandatory fish day. Usually Mrs Paul’s Frozen Fish Sticks with a side dish of floaters. 

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Wednesday was either hot dogs or ring baloney and they were always boiled and served tasteless with a side dish of floaters and a splat of ketchup.

Spaghetti came out of a can. On good days there was a meatball or two.

We rarely had desserts. A treat was prepared on “special” days when she would make grilled cheese sandwiches (Kraft Velveeta Cheese)…with a side of floaters. My brother loved grilled cheese sandwiches.

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We occasionally had steak. I don’t know what cut they were but our stove had a broiler and the steaks went into that broiler all red and marbled but came out singed brown and smoking…somewhat crispy and certainly tough. The edges of the overdone steak were curled up from the high broiler heat. They resembled shallow, brown pottery sherds.

I bring all this up to make a point. My wife, Kathy is a wonderful cook. When I told her about my pre-teen home dining memories she said those dinners sounded “creepy”. To me it was just “home cooking” and I’m certain I looked forward to mealtime as much as Betty Crocker’s son must have. Overcooked was my mother’s mantra. Kill all living organisms in meat and vegetables before they were served. It’s what I grew up with. It’s what I look forward to…although I prefer a more tender steak than my mother ever seemed to accomplish…sushi is creepy.

So it doesn’t surprise me when I hear people’s reactions to my long standing pursuit to sleep inside a living organism, they tell me “that’s creepy”. I’ve managed a few such sleeping experiences in my life-time. I slept a couple nights more than 100ft up in the canopy of a Coastal Redwood tree, well over 1,500 years old in Northern California, and although I wasn’t actually “in” the organism I did take a nap under a twisted and gnarled 3,500 year old Bristlecone Pine one fine summer day. There have been dozens of other such overnight excursions to and in ancient organisms.

It doesn’t always work out…Timber merchants intended to harvest a forest of enormous Western Red Cedars on the west side of Vancouver Island. I decided to run in before they got to the forest and spend one night in the canopy of a majestic coastal monarch understood to be over a thousand years old. I had stood in awe next to this ancient behemoth a few years earlier. I like trees. They speak to me (creepy). There was nothing I could do to stop the harvest of that tree. I just wanted to spend some final “quality” time up in it’s branches. But the loggers were quick and the magnificent trees were reduced to a trashy tangle of broken branches surrounding stumps the size of small houses when I got there. So I turned out my bedroll on the 10ft high, 16ft diameter stumpish remainder of my tree and said goodbye to an ancient life form.

Not all archaic organisms are trees. But the ones we can precisely measure tend to be trees. We can count the rings to accurately determine a tree’s age. Dendrologists do this. They can even count the rings on a live tree by drilling a small hole in the tree and taking a “core” sample. Then filling up the hole. Hard to do that with a Galapagos Tortoise so we still don’t know how old those things are.

Last fall I heard about “The Trembling Giant” or “The Pando”. This is one of the oldest living, single organisms on earth and…it’s in Utah. I can drive to it in a day plus. They figure this organism is at least 50,000 years old…WHAT???

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How can anything alive in Utah be 50,000 to 80,000 years old???

There have been fires and volcanoes and biblical style floods and disease and water shortages and climate change and die-offs and insect invasions and earthquakes and wood cutters…How could one botanical organism live through all that for 50,000 or more years??

This organism’s strategy is to spread. According to Atlas Obscura, Pando means “I Spread” and has 47,000 stems covering approximately 107 acres and weighs 6,615 tons…a massive organism by anyone’s standard. The tens of thousands of trees are not individuals like you would find in a typical forest, but rather stems of the same 13 million pound organism.  (creepy).

For an enthusiastic botanical specimen admirer such as myself, The Pando…AKA The Trembling Giant is a “must sleep in”…

So off I head…one fine fall day….on my way home from Santa Fe.

The drive is scenic. I stay off the freeways as much as possible and take the side highways and byways…the scenic routes. The smaller the towns, the better for me…at least until lunch time.

The Pando is located in the Fishlake National Forest in south central Utah. It more or less covers land at the south end of Fishlake. It’s not hard to find. See that picture up above. That’s what I expected to find. But my calculations for the location forgot about one crucial measurement….elevation.

The drive through Southern Utah in fall can be spectacular. At about 5,000 feet in elevation I was treated to soul satisfying views like these:

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Canyons, mesas, plateaus, fall foliage, cut roads, comfortable temps…PERFECT!

But then, as I started to head out of the lovely, lush Koosharem Valley, I began to climb in elevation, By the time I reached the Pando I was at 9,000 feet and fall was long gone. Winter had settled in. The temps were in the low to lower 30’s and Pando’s foliage was laying flat on the ground…colorless.

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I should have left two weeks earlier. Timing is everything!

None of this was going to deny me the opportunity to sleep inside the largest single organism on earth…

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That night, curled up in my bedroll, I dreamt I could talk with The Pando. It told me stories that made me laugh about the first people it ever saw and the time when it watched the rainbows fight with the trout over Fishlake. (creepy)

In the frigid morning I was colder than an ice-packed tuna headed to market. I desperately needed to warm up my innards. I stopped at a resort on the lake and had a bowl of hot oatmeal and hotter hot cocoa. It was perfect!!

I also learned that scientists think that The Pando is dying. WHAT??

What could possibly kill a 50,000 to 80,000 year old organism that has lived through dire straits, planetary upheaval and the Nixon presidency? The answer surprised me.

Deer.

Deer are apparently eating all The Pando’s tender young sprouts as they emerge. Leaving no new growth. Nothing to replace the older trees as they die off.

No trees, no leaves…

No leaves, no food for Pando.

It seems like there should be an easy solution to this problem.

Save The Pando…Eat More Venison!

Seriously, venison is tasty. Unless of course you make it the way my mom made it… (creepy).

 

-dal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diggin Gypsy Signs Off…

JANUARY 2019

By Diggin Gypsy

 

I’ve finally  come to the end of my chase  I’ve had a good run. When I started in the summer of 2013 I never knew I would have visited West Yellowstone so many times in my life. I’ve done things I never thought I would do. One was hiking thru huge snow drifts beside the Madison at ghost village, climbing up mountains and sliding back down them on my butt. Dodging grizzlies around Hebgan lake and running from the moose at refuge point.

When me and my sister began the chase my mom and dad had just died it was a way to move on and try not to let death overcome us with sadness . We thrived and became strong adventurers bringing along family members to join in on the fun .

I’ve had the best times of my life searching and have met wonderful friends along the way The chase does take a toll on you though, years of racking your brain. I’ve flooded the ole coot with many emails, especially after a good margarita night. How does he deal with everyone after all the years? I have no clue.  I’m surprised he hasn’t said good riddance to us all.

If I can tell all the new chasers one thing it would be to make the chase not about always finding the treasure.  When you’re searching and it isn’t where you think,  look at your adventure as a treasure. Don’t let the chase consume your life. That isn’t what Forrest wanted.

And let’s all remember this man kindly hid a treasure for us all to have a chance to find. Let’s don’t join chat sites that bash Forrest. Let’s keep the chase without drama and the way Forrest wanted it to be, for families to enjoy being together outdoors.

Happy trails y’all I’m off to new adventures. Luv you guys.

-Diggin Gypsy

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Gardner River…

December, 2018

By David Brinkley

 

Ok…here it is..90% solved. Where warm waters halt is Gardner Mont. (Treasure Island hint in TTOTC) Take it in the canyon down is to drive (to far to walk) south (down on a map) till you cross the big bridge over the Gardner river just past Mammoth Springs. Park immediately first parking area on the right. In Yellowstone they call them “pull outs” but we are parking, so “put in” BTW..the Gardner river is home of Brown ( trout, and they can’t swim upstream past Osprey falls) Make your way on left side of river, (nigh), upstream, toward Sheepeater Canyon (no place for meek) and Osprey falls. The “no paddle up your creek” is meaningless and not a clue. “Heavy loads and water high” are Osprey Falls. Heavy loads part refers to the Air Force V22 Osprey designed for heavy load lifting AND water high is the falls. Mr. Fenns nod to the USAF. Grassy area near a waterfall was significant to Forrest in ‘Nam and the tombstone of the forgotten soldier. The Blaze is a stone shaped either by chance or purpose, like a tombstone. I think then you either look quickly south to the spot where the chest is. It will be obvious once your there. ( “down” meant south earlier in the poem) that’s why he said a compass would be handy. Maybe you look actually down to the ground but I don’t think so. Forrest doesn’t want to be like that Soldier that passed on with no fanfare or glory. I won’t get out West to get the chest myself…I know this…but I also know this solve is correct…every single clue fits

 

 

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Ninety Six…

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December 20, 2018

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At 1755 this evening I will salute an anniversary that is noteworthy only to me. It will mark the exact time my parachute and I floated down into a dark, dank, and dense Laotian jungle after we ejected from my crippled F-100. It was during the Vietnam War, and little did I know at the time that the incident would indirectly lead to me writing The Thrill of the Chase, a memoir. I told that story to Nelika and here is an email I received from her this afternoon. Thank you Nelika. f

Subject: 50 years ago

Hi Forrest,
Just thinking of you on this day and wanted to send you a lil poem I wrote just for you:

Today, half a century ago,
You rose up from below;
Shot down from the sky,
Yet once again, you did fly.

Those moments a memory,
Embedded for eternity;
In a mind thinking a thousand thoughts,
Collecting them all, like snapshots.

You soared through life,
Alongside your wife;
A maverick each day,
Living it your way.

Thank you for being you!!

Your friend,
Nelika

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Ninety Five…

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December 5, 2018

 

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Suzanne and Barry Manilow made this video privately.
She is fed up with what she sees around the world and wants to make a political statement. It has been sent to a very visible political commentator hoping that person will play it nationally. She has been very close to Barry for many years and they have great chemistry. She joked that the “Movement” may have her arrested. f

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 plucked the hearing aid out of his ear 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

Poetry Page XVI…

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The chase certainly has inspired some great poetry…

Here is page xiv for poetry about the chase, Forrest or any other Thrill of the Chase related topic. I am hoping poets will create new poetry and place it on this page.

If you would like to peruse the  verse on the first page of poetry click HERE.

Second page is HERE

Third page is HERE

Fourth page is HERE

Fifth Page is HERE

Sixth Page is HERE

Seventh Page is HERE

Eighth Page is HERE

Ninth Page is HERE

Tenth Page is HERE

Eleventh Page is HERE

Twelfth Page is HERE

Thirteenth Page is HERE

Fourteenth Page is HERE

Fifteenth Page is HERE

Thanks

dal…