Scrapbook One Hundred Ninety Nine…

scrapbook

APRIL, 2019

 

Slush Cup Competition

According to the Santa Fe paper more than 280 inches of snow fell on our ski hill this winter. Now it’s melting all up and down the Rockies and the rivers are filling with run-off. Soon it will be time to start searching for the treasure, but not yet. 

IMG 6935

Sunday the 14th was the last day of skiing for this year and there were several hundred people on hand to watch the Slush Cup competition, or as some call it, the “The Annual Dunk.” Doug Preston, and his wife Christine, were there taking pictures. About 100 men, women and children registered to compete in the juried event.

Shiloh made it – no, wait. He almost made it.

Tradition suggests that competitors wear costumes, and many did. A mystery man wearing a banana suit with a cape drew the most laughs, especially when he splashed soon after he reached the 2 feet deep pond. Superman soon followed with the matching results. Many participants made multiple runs and they didn’t seem to mind getting soaked in the 32-degree weather.  Some were topless and others wore swim suits or skivvies. About 25 skiers and snow boarders made it safely across the 65-foot pond. Shiloh and his friend Nick (who is one of the geniuses at Los Alamos National Laboratory) made multiple runs during the 3-hour event, and both were able to skim across. They also crashed a couple of times.

Shiloh and the partially nude Nick.

Contestants were judged on style and results. Shiloh and Nick didn’t win anything, but they were smart enough to take a change of clothing. The top prize went to a 23-year-old woman who received tickets to the Ten Thousand Waves Spa, where the water is warmer. Maybe I’ll enter the competition next year, it looks like fun. f 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blaze…

yellow

This is the place to discuss the the blaze. What do you think it is? Is it temporary or permanent? Will it be around for a thousand years or doesn’t it matter? Is it easy to spot or difficult? Does the poem tell us what the blaze looks like or what it is?

Nick Lazaredes of SBS-TV’s Dateline in Australia interviewed Forrest in the spring of 2014. Here is Forrest explaining the BLAZE.
https://dalneitzel.com/video/audio/blaze.mp3

Where Warm Waters Halt…

green

This is for a discussion about Where Warm Waters Halt. We’ve all got ideas that didn’t work out or we are willing to share…I think we can give folks just starting out some ideas for the kinds of places that might just be the place Where Warm Waters Halt…or not!

Let the discussion continue…

dal…

Scrapbook One Hundred Ninety Eight…

scrapbook

MARCH, 2019

 

Hey Forrest,

Here are some documents I dug up related to your 12/21/1968 rescue:
1) Handwritten log from the Joint Search and Rescue Center (JSARC). 
2) Mission Narrative Report 2-3-79 written by Lt. Eagan, USCG.

Also, I found some records related to the first time you were shot down on 8/24/1968
1) Handwritten log from the Joint Search and Rescue Center (JSARC).
2) Electronic records list the aircraft as F-100 D with serial # 563019.

Note, TACAN ch-89 is Nakhon Phanom and TACAN ch-115 is Binh Thuy. Positions in logs are often given as TACAN coordinates: heading / distance (NM) / TACAN channel. The heading is from the tower to the current position.

Some other notes:
– Your chute beeper never activated (phantom beeper picked up 35mi south of your position).
– Swisher ran a MISTY thru your flt path to figure out where to search for you.
– PJ King (high bird) was MIA/KIA 4 days later (on xmas, about 25mi NW of your pickup). He was awarded the AFC.

Best,
Chris L


Chris L.,
Thank you so much for finding those documents for me. I had not seen them before. They explain a few things that I had wondered about, especially that my parachute beeper had not worked. My chute is probably still hanging in the tree. Anything else you can find for me will be greatly appreciated. I received a Silver Star for that mission, But I have never seen the narrative that was written that convinced the brass in the Pentagon to give the medal to me. I would like to read that document. It must be somewhere in my personnel records. Where do you live Chris? If you are ever in Santa Fe I would like to show you my combat scrapbook. I have a photo of me being pulled up on the
Cable, taken by someone in the high chopper. f

 

 

 

 

A Rio de Los Pinos Solve…

February, 2019

By Richard Cron

 

The Thrill of The Chase Poem – Clue Analysis with Notes and Timeline

Rio de Los Pinos

Rio de Los Pinos

As I have gone alone in there (Just as I have been alone to that place before)

And with my treasures bold (and I have gone there with my treasures unafraid)

I can keep my secret where (I won’t tell anyone the location)

And hint of riches new and old. (I will give clues of the existence and location of treasure (new) and the place (old))

Clue 1
Begin it where warm waters halt (the train station at Osier, Colorado) Passenger train stations are sometimes referred to as a Halt. Warm water is the steam train.

Clue 2
And take it in the canyon down, (traverse to and enter Toltec Canyon via the forest road, ford the Rio de Los Pinos, leave the forest road and take the vehicle path downstream along the river until it ends, just over a mile. Travel on downstream by foot through trees, brush and grass until you reach the canyon, approximately ¾ mile.) A scythe would come in handy for the hike along the river through an area of trees, brush and tall grass.

Clue 3
not far, but too far to walk

(refers to the short section entering into the canyon and traversing to the horse shoe bend that requires wading as opposed to walking).

Clue 4
Put in below the home of Brown. (The home of Brown is the Rio de Los Pinos. At the horse shoe bend in the river, “put in” or in other words, leave the river and “go ashore” where the canyon wall is a gradual slope allowing a not-too-difficult climb.)

Clue 5
From there it’s no place for the meek (meak).

(A scythe or meak will not be needed). There’s just rocky terrain ahead as you climb the canyon wall slope. 

Clue 6
The end is ever drawing nigh (as you reach the top of the slope, bear to the left toward the cliff formation (hoof) that forms the horse shoe bend in the river).

Directions to the Blaze:

Clues 7,8
There’ll be no paddle up your creek (don’t look in or around the stream for the Blaze)

Just heavy loads and water high (the steam locomotive train track)

The Blaze is the chalky area of road bank just above and below the C&TSRR track, uphill from the canyon and to the left of the stream (as facing downstream).

Directions to the chest:

Clue 9
If you’ve been wise and found the Blaze, look quickly down, your quest to cease.

(at the top of the slope of the canyon wall, find a vantage point where the Blaze can be seen over the hoof formation. This is the alignment between the searcher and the Blaze and reveals the area on the hoof of the chest location. The niche will be some distance back from the edge of the cliff “in the quick” likely at the high point of the formation and offering a view of the surrounding area, which is Fenn’s special place.)

After you’ve located the chest:

But tarry scant with marvel gaze

(Pause for a brief time and take in the view of Forrest Fenn’s special place.)

Just take the chest and go in peace or piece

(Don’t try to carry the chest full – too heavy.) Just take the chest (empty) and carry the contents separately – in piece.

So why is it that I must go and leave my trove for all to seek? (Why did I go there and leave my treasure to be found?)

The answer I already know, I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak. (Because I’ve lived a full life and now I’m nearing the end.)

Transfer of ownership:

So hear me all and listen good, (Pay attention, this is important,)

Your efforts will be worth the cold. (The difficulty, hardships and frustration of the search will be worthwhile.)

If you are brave and in the wood (If you’ve “hit the bulls-eye” – found the chest  – due to your courage and resolve) “Put one In the wood” is an old saying from the game of darts meaning you’ve scored a bulls-eye.

I give you title to the gold. (I transfer legal ownership of the treasure to you, the finder.)

Timeline:
I believe that one morning during August of 2009, Forrest Fenn departed his home in Santa Fe and together with his treasure, headed north on US highway 285 and traveled in his sedan to the junction of Colorado highway 17, just south of Antonito, CO (112 miles, about 2 hours). He then traveled west on highway 17 to mile post 29 (10 miles) where he then turned south on forest road FR103. On FR103, he traveled to Osier, CO (17 miles). 

At the Osier train station is a cafeteria where he may have stopped for lunch. He then would have continued on FR103, fording the Rio de Los Pinos. Branching off from FR103 is a vehicle path that continues on downstream along the river, which he followed to the end of the path (about 1 mile from the train station). Total travel time from Santa Fe was about 3 hours (plus lunch break). 

Forrest then made the first of two hikes, wearing waders, to his special place, carrying the chest contents and leaving the empty chest hidden in his car. He would return to his car to carry the chest to the site and complete the placement of the treasure. Returning to his car, he then drove back to Santa Fe, arriving home by about 7pm. 

The hike distance from where he parked to the site is about 0,8 mile. Considering the terrain along the river, it may have taken him about an hour each way, allowing for rest stops. Two trips from his car to the site with time to arrange the placement of the treasure probably could have been completed in approximately 4 hours or less, which could be accomplished in an afternoon. 

Supporting Evidence:
I believe the treasure was hidden in 2009, probably sometime during August, rather than in 2010 because access to the site can only safely be accomplished after spring/summer runoff. Fenn’s sedan probably wouldn’t have had sufficient clearance to ford the river during significant runoff. He would have already announced the quest in 2010 before that safe period of the year. Fenn would have been 79 years old.

A key word in the poem is “halt” because it is crucial to correctly identifying WWWH. Passenger train stations are sometimes referred to as a Halt. Forrest has said to begin with clue one. And he has said that without it, you have nothing. Fenn also said that if you don’t have the first clue nailed down, you might as well play Canasta. RR track rails are nailed down.

Fenn has told us that temperature is relative (warm brass feels cold to the touch). Warm water can become steam at high elevation.

Hints from TTOTC, etc: steam trains, Mrs. Ford, fly fishing, chalk, rainbow, oxbow or the double Omega symbols.

The 500 footers are the train passengers that pass above the canyon approximately 500 feet above the chest location.

Even though the river offers good fishing, the area is very remote other than the narrow-gauge tourist train (and its lunch stop at Osier), one might feel confident in going alone and boldly while carrying a fortune.

The only trails along the river are from wildlife as well as some cattle that are grazed in the national forest.

Forrest said the treasure chest is wet. I believe that he placed an alcoholic beverage (small bottle of wine) in or on the chest which would make it “wet” as opposed to “dry”. That allows the chest to be placed “high and dry” while still being wet.

Forrest commented that there was something he had said that he wished he hadn’t (after making the statement regarding what he could see and smell while standing next to the chest) – I believe that word was likely “pinon” because of the similarity to “pinos” in Rio de Los Pinos.

There are two adjacent horse shoe bends in the river canyon, corresponding with the double Omega symbols (or oxbow) in the back of TTOTC.

“So I wrote a poem containing nine clues that if followed precisely, will lead to the end of my rainbow and treasure” The horse shoe formation that contains Fenn’s special place may be seen as forming the shape of a rainbow at the base of which is his special place and his treasure location.

Forrest signs his name with a “dot” in the lower loop of the “F” in Fenn. Although this phenomenon predates 2009, it may be his way of signifying his special place. 

So, is he comparing the similarities of his signature to the horse shoe bends in the river with the “dot” roughly marking the spot of the treasure in the upstream horse shoe formation?

 The signature in the copy of TTOTC he provided for 2019 World Series of Fenn had an “X” instead of a dot. “X” marks the spot…

-Richard

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.

Pic1Pic2

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.

Pic3

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). 

Pic4Pic5

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. 

Pic6

Pic7

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?

Pic8

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

Pic9

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.

Pic10

Pic11

Pic12

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

Pic13

Pic14

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

Pic16

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.

Pic17

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.

Pic18

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.

Pic19

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.

Pic20

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

Pic21Pic22

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…

scrapbook

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.

IMG 20180827 121256

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!

IMG 20170913 164224 kindlephoto 528891

IMG 0216

Lee

 

 

 

The Trembling Giant…

qa01

JANUARY 2019
by dal…

 

Did I mention this earlier? 

sushi01

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:

peasmilk

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. 

ring

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.

steak012

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???

pando01

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:

0T1A1548

0T1A1534

0T1A1483

0T1A1490

0T1A1621

0T1A1539

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.

0T1A1623

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…

0T1A1635

0T1A1624

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