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)

 

 

 

 

 

My Solution…

 

SUBMITTED JANUARY 2018
by NEARINDIANAJONES

 

Forrest has stated everything in the poem is deliberate and placed there for a reason.  Along with the words of the poem, the commas, semi colon, and the apostrophes’ all play their part to unlock the poem.

Forrest also said all you need is the book, poem, Google Earth, and a good map, a good map is an understatement, it must be the right map.  Forrest served in the military, the military uses topographical (topo) maps, because they show greater detail and information about a given area.  However, it is not just the type, but what edition to use as well. Forrest tells us he got cancer in 1988, and during this time, he began his plans for the chase.  The right map to use for the chase is the USGS topographical map edition of 1988.  The reason for this edition is it contains information that later editions change or do not show.

What is so important about using topo maps is elevation.  Forrest has told us the treasure is between 5000ft and 10,00ft, the places on the map we are looking for to correspond with the poem’s clues are altitude markers.  My War For Me, notice how Forrest mentions his altitude frequently during the story, what makes the 1988 edition so important over the other editions, is how the altitude markers are hand written, and marked with an X, verses no X and block printed in later editions.

“Begin it where warm waters halt”, is the starting point to identify the first altitude X marker.  Forrest has made statements that have confused people to which stanza has the first clues.  This is because the first stanza contains the first two clues given by the poem, but the second stanza is the starting point for the first X on the map and the poems path that gives the answers to the two clues in the first stanza. The drawing associated with the story, Teachers with ropes, is the hint instructing what to do, connect the dots. The drawing shows the teacher with her hand up to halt the car and she and the six students connected by the rope.  Forrest said, looking for the blaze first is a waste of time, because solving the clues shows the blaze, and when you recognize the blaze, you will know how to find the chest’s location.

The little girl from India hint, Forrest said she could not get any closer than the first two clues, and if you do not know the first clue, to just stay home and play Canasta.  The first stanza contains the first two clues, and it is not until you identify the other seven clues will you know what the first two clues are.  The first two clues are the blaze, and the chest location. That is why, the little girl from India, cannot get any closer than the first two clues, because if she has solved the first two, it is because she has also solved the other seven.

“Begin it where warm waters halt and take it in the canyon down,” three locations: Gallatin National Forest, Lee Metcalf Wilderness, multiple lakes that flow down Beaver Creek, and end in Earthquake Lake.  Down from where the waters converge, is a waterfall, and near that is the first altitude X marker, or number 1, altitude X marker 6901AT.  It is important to note, the altitude markers have an X drawn on the map with them, and the only letter not used in the poem is X.  We are looking for “treasures bold”, and treasures are the X’s printed on a map.

“Not far, but too far to walk.” From the first X, look for the next X following the water down, the comma tells us it is not far, and associated with walk.  Also following the canyon down from the waterfall, is a walking trail, “too far to walk.” follow it to our next altitude marker 6907T, NFBTFTW, is seven words, and where the trail and road meet is the X.

“Put in below the home of Brown.” Near the second marker 6907T, there is an old Ranger cabin. A cabin is a home brown in color, and we are looking to put in below for the capital B.  Below the cabin, and put in below Boat Mountain, we have altitude marker 6818T.  If you look closely at the map, you will see that the hand written number 8 next to the T looks like a capital B.  Tea with Olga here our black X’s have merged with red crosses or t’s, and the red crosses are called Found Corners, they now mark the altitude.  Also from Teachers with ropes the phrase “do not touch” is in red, connect the dots with red lines.

“From there it’s no place for the meek,” the apostrophe in “it’s” means two are tied together, from there to here, follow the red line to Ghost village, “no place for the meek,”, and to next red cross altitude marker, 6404T or 640for t-he meek.

“The end is ever drawing nigh;” Going left from here, following the red line, we arrive at our next altitude marker, this marker has an arrow “drawing” or pointing to it, marker 6398T.   The semi colon means this point and the next point perform same action nigh.

“There’ll be no paddle up your creek,” From the current point, there will be a red cross, and with “no” number, but the apostrophe tells us to go two red crosses up your creek.  Continuing nigh, take a diagonal line from 6398T through one unnumbered red cross and stopping at the second red cross.  “Just heavy loads and water high” is Boat Mountain, and “Just” means to adjust to center altitude X marker, 9019AT near the red cross.

“If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, “ If you were “Wise”, then you are now X, and with Found Corners found the blaze.  X’s and found corners tied together. “Look quickly down, your quest to cease,” follow the red line down to the last of our 7 points, 6547T.  Now, connect all the points to see the blaze.

In addition, notice next to this point, is a gauging station for the Madison River, but on the map, it is misspelled gage.  The definition of gage: a valued object deposited as a guarantee of good faith. Sounds like an I.O.U.

The blaze is a cursive capital f!  But we are not finished yet, back to the first stanza, and to find the chest.

“As I have gone alone in there and with my treasures bold, I can keep my secret where, and hint of riches new and old.” “As I” is f, and you find his blaze by finding the treasures and connecting the X’s.

“I can keep my secret where and hint of riches new and old.”  I keeps his secret where and hints of where to look. The I is the eye from Forrest autograph.

“But tarry scant with marvel gaze, just take the chest and go in peace.”

 The area we are now in, is Refuge Point, here is the sign at the entrance to the trailhead, see the picture of the man parachuting in, seem familiar?

Forrest says the chest is 10” by 10”, and this, along with the eye in his signature, tells us altitude X marker 6610T is the spot.  However, we must adjust, “Just take the chest, altitude X marker 6610T, and go in peace.” Below X marker 6610T, there is a grove (leave my trove) of trees in the form of a cross (peace), which can be seen in Google earth.

Center tree of the cross, a good place to sit and think in the wood.

All of this is simply my opinion.

By NearIndianaJones-

 

Redemption….

SUBMITTED MARCH 2017
by DIGGIN GYPSY

 

On one of last year’s searches I brought along a small tribe of my family to help search.

My right hand little man was my grandson Dylan.

I thought I had found the “blaze of all blazes” on a previous trip which cast a great shadow over the Madison River and we all came to the blaze to check it out.

This was my “blaze” and this is it’s story.

On an earlier winter trip near here I was walking and fell on a 3 foot snow drift. As I lay there struggling to get out I looked over and I was like “Dang that rock has a face and looks  to be wearing a long smock.”    The Virgin Mary?

Later on, after I was home I kept thinking of that lady rock and it reminded me of something I saw in the book on page 99, the walking man carrying what looks like the Virgin Mary. If you flip the picture on it’s side, the man is an eagle.

So you have a man/eagle and Virgin Mary.  That mountain rock I saw looked exactly like that. Many items in the book started clicking for me with lady or Virgin Mary. The ole coot drew the L on all the little ladies shirts.  Miss Ford is a virgin who he talks about way too much 😜.

Skippy in the graduation smock. Peggy in her wedding gown.  The picture of the girl with a vail.  The crescent moon and dove, both symbols of the Virgin Mary. Forrest holding an ax (Jesus was a carpenter).

I know what some of you will say: “The ole coot ain’t religious.” Awww, but he is spiritual. I took these pictures in his garage and there it was Our Lady of Guadalupe hanging with all his favorite things.

He has several old religious relics. Some of them are on his scrapbooks. Some have to do with the Virgin Mary.  Indulgence, hmmmm something he is offering as a redemption for all his sins so he can sit at the great banquet table with all his friends.

So where better to put that sacrifice than at the feet of the “Virgin Mary Rock”? 💰
if you zoom in on the rock you will see Mary gazing down… “gaze and marvel”, two words that are used a lot referring to Our Lady of Guadalupe or the Virgin Mary, ohhh or Miss Ford.

In the map with the frog there is a ghost woman in the middle of it.  I figure that it has to mean Ghost Village on the Madison, which is right where the “Virgin Mary Rock” hovers with an eagle at her side. Which is right next to the high mountain that reminds me of church steeples.

Also on the gold coin in that photo is Jesus. He has a thorn crown on his head.

and there is a ghost woman with big eyes and her mouth open.

He seems to write often about women who know how to stand on their own two feet and who are inventive.  Heck, he just loves women.

Mary was the ultimate woman.   A lot of his scrapbooks are about women.

He mentions Sacajawea. She was referred to by others as Mary. Queen Elizabeth I of England was known as the Virgin Queen.

A lot of clasping of the hands in the book too.  His little sister and him a few times. He who teaches a child labors in Gods workshop. Joseph taught jesus to be a carpenter and there is a picture of a carpenter at Peggy’s feet. Beavers are carpenters. So he must have been alluding to Beaver Creek hahahe.

He likes to sit in a graveyard ghost village.

Forrest says there are three dimensional figures on the chest. I believe they could represent his three favorite women. He wrote “no saint could match her faith”, but actually the Virgin Mary did match her faith 😜. The Candy Ann team saved his life same as Mary did for mankind by obeying God and doing just.

So there is my solve. There are many more references to ladies and the Virgin Mary, I could go on and on.

As my family explored the area we crossed the river and left no stone or log unturned. Following the Madison we soon realized the water is so swift in there that we didn’t think he could possibly carry forty pounds across. It’s just to dangerous…not just for Forrest but also for anyone trying to follow in his footsteps. Clearly, my solve was a bust.

Before we left the Madison, Alvin came to tell us bye. He thought we were all quite the show.

Just as we are leaving the dam area we see a moose being born…what are the odds on that?

That was an incredibly memorable moment for Dylan. We’ve made many trips to this area and have always come back home without the cheat, but we never leave Montana depressed.  Every moment being in the mountains is better than any amount of money.

Now back with my nose to the grinding stone.

Diggin Gypsy-

 

20 Seconds of Holy Cow…

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SEPTEMBER 2015
by dal…

 

The last time I walked this stretch of the Madison I got caught out in the open in a fast moving thunderstorm where I was the tallest object around and perfectly grounded while I was knee-deep in river water. The surprise storm brought a moody darkness and a chilling wind that did nothing to make me feel comfortable. Lightning has always scared the daylights out of me and I couldn’t decide whether I was safer staying in the river or hugging the flat grassy shoreline in soaking wet clothes. Another conundrum!

Just as I was moving out of the river a powerful bolt of searing white light exploded into the ground a mere football field away from me and up on the bank. The attack was so loud that I couldn’t hear it. My brain only registered it as a very strong pressure wave that pushed against my skeleton and then set my whole body tingling from the electrically charged air. I couldn’t imagine a worse place to be stranded. I was trying to remember the facts about lightening that I learned at the science museum in Boston many years ago. Nothing surfaced in my clogged brain except the point that a lightning bolt could discharge about a BILLION volts in less than a second.

The back part of my brain where hundreds of generations of prehistoric learning resides, took over. I decided to head for the spot where the lightning hit the ground. It would certainly be the odds-on safest little plot in the valley since everyone knows that lightening never strikes twice in the same spot. It must be true! Please let it be true!

The only flaw in that plan was the 100 yards of open space I had to cover to get to the safe spot. The back part of my brain was screaming at me to move quickly…but not to run…”and why not run”, I asked the rear of my brain which was now in charge? “Because”, it answered, “running will attract the attention of the storm.” At the time it made perfect sense and I walked quickly but did not run.

The storm passed as suddenly as it had appeared. Before I even got to the safe spot the lightening was a mile away and the rain and wind had both quit to an eerie and uncomfortable stillness.

Then, in a flash, sunshine and warmth descended from heaven and the place looked like a rocky mountain dreamland again. My fears were washed away and forgotten.

That was a couple years ago..

Today I was revisiting that spot because I had the sense that I was not completely together when I was here last and I probably missed searching in areas about the size of Rhode Island. I wanted to come back and look again..with all my wits…

So here I was walking the river..back and forth in areas where my sight overlapped. Every inch in every 100ft column would be looked at twice from different directions. I knew how to search..what I wasn’t sure about was what in the heck I was searching for..a blaze of some kind..a mark or geological remnant or device that would be around for a hundred or more years…semi to fully permanent. As I approached the bank of the river on pass number 117 I saw something odd in a foot of clear water about three feet out…

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Click to open larger, uncropped image

Just sitting there. It was about ten inches on each side and about five inches high. Is that a latch? Is that thing made of bronze? It’s not supposed to be in water!!!!

I grabbed my camera and took a set of pictures.

I put the camera down and leaped into the water straddling the object. I bent down and touched it gently…rough, not smooth…I dug at the gravel around it with my fingers…deeper than five inches…much deeper…

Not the chest…

A concrete pier.

But it gave me an exciting moment..twenty seconds of HOLY COW!!!

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Thirty Four…

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APRIL 2015

 

There once was a man named Fenn,
Who much to our chagrin,
Went on a quest
To hide his chest.
Now he taunts us all with his pen.

 

Dear Forrest,

I am writing this to you in letter form, instead of email, as I believe that letter writing has become an endangered species and I’m doing my part to keep it alive…I also think it is more personal.

First, let me preface the rest of this letter with this statement:  I am not “fishing” for clues or leads to the chest…I just wanted to share a few stories with you, if you have the time.

My husband, Jake, and I learned of your treasure story late last spring.  We read your poem and both of your books until the ink was embedded into our finger prints. Both Jake and I already read the Journal of a Trapper several times.  We conducted more research and settled in on an area near the Madison River and Hebgen Lake to begin our expedition.  Neither of us had been there before, so we decided to approach the first trip as a “scouting” effort.   We packed up our dogs, Jasper – Border Collie/Red Heeler mix; Hope – Australian Shepard who was a pound rescue and Rowdy – Toy Fox Terrier who was a puppy mill rescue, and headed out.  That trip we camped in our wall tent. (Won’t do it in that country again…As we live in a mountainous region of Western Wyoming we should have known better…More on that later.)

The first day we hiked around the Madison River where it makes its deposit into Hebgen Lake.  Jake collected a couple of treasures – a Bison skull and some wild Bison hair – he had to be sneaky and move real fast to get the hair. ☺)  I have enclosed a sample to share with you.

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003The next morning we awoke to find very large grizzly tracks on top of our truck tire tracks.  Ursaphobe that I am, this was a little unsettling.

We spent most of that day fly fishing the Madison, both prior to Hebgen Lake and below the dam.  We managed to land a few fish, but the flies lost outnumbered the fish caught.  I have heard about a small creature, which lives in trees and bushes, and snatches fly fishermen’s lures just to wrap them around branches out of our reach.  It’s called it a Pharnox.  (Pronounced Far-Nocks)  No one has ever actually seen one, but I have plenty of evidence and experience to prove their existence.  I must confess to not being a “good” fly fisherperson, but I sure have a good time doing it.

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On our second trip we took our old horse trailer and camped in that.  I felt much safer in a tin can than surrounded only by a piece of canvas.  We did not go home empty handed.  Jake stumbled upon a set of elk ivory from a winter-killed cow elk.  Lucky for him.  Not so lucky for the cow.

Our third trip was in June.  On one particular outing we had several encounters of interest:

We hiked up the Cabin Creek trail and ran across a tree with the initials FF carved into it.  Below is a picture.  It looks like someone tried to hack it up.  We wondered if this might be a tree you marked in your youth, or if someone was just “Fenning” with us.  (Sincerely, I’m still not looking for clues.  – I just thought you’d like to see these pics and it gave me a chance to utilize my new, made up verb, “Fenning”.)

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It’s a little tough to make out on the left pic, but in person you can see the “FF”.

The one on the right just had an “F”.

After a few miles we ran out of trail at the confluence of Cub Creek and Cabin Creek.  It appeared that, at some time in the not too distant past, Cub Creek washed out the trail.  The water still was running fast and deep and I knew my little terrier, Rowdy, would have difficulty crossing.  Jake was determined to see what was on the other side.  He left his pack with me.  Which by the way contained his bear spray and .45 cal pistol.  (You probably see where this is going.)  Our Aussie, Hope, crossed over with him while Rowdy and I sat on the bank on the other side of the creek.

Pretty soon Hope came splashing back to me.  I glanced up and saw that Jake was upright and mobile in the willows, so I knew she wasn’t channeling her inner Lassie to tell me that “Jake had fallen in a well.”  She waited until her arrival at my side to shake off the muddy river water.  I stood up and turned around to face the sun, and the trail we had hike to get to this spot, and began brushing off the water.  About that time Hope and Rowdy took off barking like their tails were afire.  They got about twenty feet ahead of me towards the trail when I called them back.  I knew something was amiss when they each flanked me.  Hope was three feet ahead of me and five feet to my left.  Rowdy stationed himself similarly to my right.  They quit barking, hairs on their backs standing straight as soldiers, and eyes fixed toward the trail.  I looked up and saw a brown patch of hair.  Immediately, my subconscious tried to defuse my panic and told me it was probably just a moose, as we had encountered moose tracks on the way in.  Then, I saw a shoulder roll.  It was a bear.  Since the river was to my back, there would be no fleeing that direction, so my mind tried to convince my eyes that it was just a brown-phased black bear.  Nope.  It peered around the side of a tree.  There was a classic grizzly bear face staring back at me.  It then stepped out from behind the trees.  Yep.  Full grown boar grizzly.  Close enough to see its eyelashes and determine his gender.

By this time I had my bear spray in my left hand (safety off) and Jake’s 45 in my right (cock and locked.)  Knowing he had no protection on the other side of the river, I began to holler, “Bear!  Bear! Grizzly Bear!”  Unbeknownst to me, he was yelling, “Where?”  (For some reason he could hear my voice over the roar of the river, but I could not hear his.  I know there’s a joke in there somewhere about the acoustics of women’s voices over men’s…But I won’t go there.)  During this time, the bear continued to stare, unblinking, at the dogs and me.  He kept rocking forward on his massive front legs as though he was trying to decide whether or not to come through us.  About that time I saw Jake, in the river, out of the corner of my left eye.  I yelled, “There’s a grizzly bear over here!”  He hollered back, “I know!  I see it!”   My husband is not a man small in stature.  When the bear heard him, he took one look and I guess decided that Jake, added to the equation, was just too much to tackle and left the scene.  I maintained my cool until Jake was back at my side…At which time my gun hand began to tremble and I turned into Barney Fife.

We headed back down the trail toward the truck finding tracks where that bear had trailed us the entire way.  From one of the trees along the trail we did collect some of his hair.  I’ve included a bit for you with this letter.

About half way out, Hope commenced barking again.  We said, “Oh no!”   (Okay, those are not the exact words we said…)  But this time she was barking towards a mountain goat crossing the river.  Awesome!  I managed to obtain some of the goat’s hair from a bush where it snagged.  (Perhaps a Pharnox grabbed that too?)  There is a little baggie of his hair for you too.

006

We live in Wyoming and have long, cold winters with little else to do but shovel snow and conduct more “Fennian” Research.  This is Jasper at the task.  He is 16 yrs old with bad hips and canine lupus so he does not get to go on our hikes anymore.  For Jasper, it’s just “too far to walk.”

Sincerely,
La Lee

P.S. – For fun, I tied a fly with some of the grizzly bear hair.  Spoiler alert – trout don’t bite on grizz hair.  I’d send you a picture of the fly, but a Pharnox got it.