The Calypso Solve…

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January 2020

By Blex

 

2019 was a pretty mild year in terms of searching for me. I really only had one solve that I was eager to get out into the mountains to try out this past summer, and it obviously didn’t pan out. However, I thought I could at least finally make a contribution to the growing volume of information regarding where the treasure is not, while also providing some entertainment as we all wait for yet another search season to arrive. This wasn’t my first solve & BOTG trip, however this one pretty much stands on its own and doesn’t relate to any of my previous search areas, so I feel fine about sharing most of my thoughts for this one. So grab a drink, settle in, and I hope you find this to be an entertaining read.

Over the previous Winter, I found myself pretty much stuck and back at square-one trying to marry the poem to a location in the Rocky Mountains. However this time there was a new piece of information that surfaced (new to me, at least): It was the anecdote that Cynthia wrote in her book about her conversation with Forrest Fenn about the elusive “home of Brown”. What it amounted to was that Forrest seemed to strongly indicate to Cynthia that the home of Brown was not a man-made structure. This was told secondhand through Cynthia, and Forrest never followed up with a formal announcement confirming that this was true (like he did when he realized he accidentally gave one searcher a special hint that “Where Warm Waters Halt” was not a dam), so there was some speculation among the Chasers if this was truly a reliable hint from Forrest. I decided to take Cynthia’s story at face value and started to think about what the home of Brown could be if not a man-made structure. Perhaps a geographic feature with a name that relates to either “home” or “Brown”? It was a head-scratcher for me.

For inspiration, I found myself revisiting the old scrapbook entries on Dal’s site. To my knowledge, Forrest has never outright said that he has hidden hints in these scrapbook entries, but there are plenty of people who believe that this is true, and I could not see a reason why not. One day, my attention was drawn to one of the earlier scrapbook entries #17 CLICK HERE if you’d like to give it a quick look over.

At the end of scrapbook #17, Forrest shares an excerpt from his hard-to-find book “The Secrets of the San Lazaro Pueblo” in which he shares a poem that his father sent to him a few years before he died. The poem “A Flint Arrowhead” spoke of the wonder and excitement of discovering an arrowhead and linking the past with the present. Forrest ties this poem with a very special memory of discovering his first arrowhead as a child with his father. Forrest recalls this as ranking “among my fondest memories”. The fact that this was one of the earliest scrapbooks, the fact that Forrest decided it was an excerpt from one of his earlier books worth sharing again, and the fact that it seemed to be an especially important moment with his father (his father being very prominently mentioned in the book “The Thrill of the Chase”) all seemed to point to some significance in this poem greater than what it appeared to be at face value. It was a rabbit hole I deemed worthy of jumping down to see where it led.

A simple “copy & paste” of the poem’s words into Google led me to several interesting references. It shows up in Boy Scout Handbooks, Archaeological Society newsletters, and into the lyrics of a Johnny Cash song. Eventually I came upon the name of the poem’s author: Enos B. Comstock. Looking for information about Enos B. Comstock and who the man was yielded very little information on Google, however he was noted as an author and a prominent illustrator. Forrest did seem to know and respect a good few book illustrators himself (Eric Sloane not the least of them). Then I remembered another internet resource that Forrest had specifically recommended people use (though not for treasure-searching purposes): Abebooks.com.

Entering Enos B. Comstock into the Abebooks.com search resulted in a surprising amount of titles for which Comstock was an illustrator. The first title that caught my attention was “A Mountain Boyhood” by Joe Mills. I had remembered hiking up the Flattop Mountain Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park in 2018 and noting that one mountain peak viewed to the north was called Joe Mills Mountain.

image 1 Joe Mills Mountain

Joe Mills Mountain (small, partially tree-covered peak in foreground center left) as seen from the Flattop Mountain Trail

It seemed like an odd name for a peak, but I did not think much of it until this book title came up. Looking into THAT name in more detail, I learned that Joe Mills was the younger brother of Enos Mills, who was one of the strongest advocates for the original creation of Rocky Mountain National Park. Enos Mills was a John Muir-like character (and was actually good friends with Muir himself) who moved West from Kansas and homesteaded in the Estes Park area and was quite the local celebrity. His younger brother Joe moved out West in his older brother’s footsteps and also homesteaded in the area. They both wrote nature books and they both advocated towards the formation of Rocky Mountain National Park, but eventually butted heads when it came to exactly HOW the new park should be run, and they ended up in a bit of a bitter sibling rivalry.

Image 2 Enos Mills

Image 3 Joe MillsOlder Brother Enos Mills and Younger Brother Joe Mills; Two of the founding fathers of Rocky Mountain National Park

 

 

 

 

Ok, so anyway now I had discovered a book I had never heard of written by the younger brother Joe Mills, and illustrated by Enos B. Comstock (the man who had written Forrest’s father’s poem). It was also an especially cold Winter 2018-2019 and I wanted some new reading material that I can enjoy inside the warmth of my home, so I ordered myself a copy off of Abebooks.com.

Image 4 Inside Cover

Inside cover of the First Edition of “A Mountain Boyhood” with an Enos B. Comstock illustration

After I got the book in the mail I had a very enjoyable time reading through it. It wasn’t very long, but the descriptions of the time Joe Mills had spent exploring the Rocky Mountains were wonderful. I can certainly recommend  this book (as well as many of the titles written by Joe’s older brother Enos Mills) to all as a good read.

Image 5 Intro Text

First page of “A Mountain Boyhood”

The Comstock illustrations throughout were a joy to look at and I could not help but remember Forrest’s commentary on fine literature at the beginning of “The Thrill of the Chase”. Perhaps the adventurous spirit of young Joe Mills was in the same spirit of the character Holden Caulfield in “Catcher in the Rye”?

Image 6 Comstock Ilustration

Image 7 Comstock IlustrationImage 8 Comstock IlustrationSome examples of Comstock’s illustrations throughout the book

Anyways, as related to thinking about the Chase, there were two specific general items that piqued my interest:

1.) Joe Mills wrote almost exclusively about the wonders of a particular area of Rocky Mountain National Park called “Wild Basin”, which was a less-visited part of the park’s southern end that I had never visited myself; and

2.) The book included an early map of Rocky Mountain National Park that I found a bit fascinating to study.

Image 9 Overall Map

The inside cover map included in the book

(Note: This map was not included in the first edition of the book; only later printings)

The map was not illustrated by Enos B. Comstock and was not made for the purpose of being included in Joe Mills’ book. The map is known as the Cooper-Babcock map and was the first comprehensive map drawn up of the southern portion of what is now Rocky Mountain National Park. In researching the history of the map, I was surprised to have found that its creation was not part of a formal survey operation; William Cooper and Dean Babcock happened to be in the area and took it upon themselves to map the Wild Basin area for fun! How wonderful that must have been to decide to map an unknown area of land in detail for the first time!

Looking at the map, one can see many familiar names of geographic features presently in Rocky Mountain National Park such as Longs Peak or Thunder Lake, however there are other features that are labeled differently than their present names. One name is certainly prominent and ties into the Joe Mills book: Wild Basin! There the name is stretched across the entire lower half of the map.

Image 10 Wild Basin Map Portion

A closer look at the lower half of the map which is dominated by Wild Basin.

I realize I haven’t even mentioned bringing Forrest’s poem into consideration so far, so at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you are questioning where I’m going with this as a solve. To make a long story short, I had  seemed to have followed a twisting rabbit hole that started with scrapbook #17 and it spat me out the other side with the Wild Basin area apparently being waved in front of my face. Could this area be part of a new solve? It depended on if there was anything in this region that could be married up to Forrest’s poem.

Where to begin? Well, I started with the basic things first. There were certainly canyons and creeks aplenty, and if WWWH was the source of a stream (as I have often considered to be a possibility), there were plenty of those in the area too.

In the back of my mind I was still trying to puzzle out a natural feature that could be considered a home of Brown. Studying the Cooper-Babcock Map, I noticed in very small text right between “Wild” and “Basin” the words “Tent Rocks”.

Image 11 Tent Rocks Map

See the Tent Rocks just under the “B” in “Basin”?

Rocks that looks like tents? Could tents be considered a home? Sure, why not? But what about the “Brown”? Well, if the rocks were brown in color, that could be something. I looked at the satellite images in Google Earth and was pleasantly surprised to see that the Tent Rocks were actually labeled there as well.

Image 12 Tent Rocks GE

Tent Rocks as shown on Google Earth topographic view
(image courtesy Google Earth)

Image 13 Tent Rocks GE Satellite

Tent Rocks as shown on Google Earth satellite view (zoomed in a little closer)
(image courtesy Google Earth)

The area looked like a smudge of rocky terrain, but did appear to be brown in color. So…. maybe? Searching for any further information or even photos of the Tent Rocks on the internet came up empty, with all queries pointing me to the much more prominent Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rock National Monument in New Mexico (which is south of Santa Fe and thus not in consideration with respect to the Chase). Were there any possible tie-in’s of tents to some sort of a historical home of Brown? The best thing I could find was a very obscure reference to how the abolitionist John Brown lived in a tent during his anti-slavery campaigns which was referred to as “Brown’s Tent”. It seemed like a pretty shaky connection to me, but it was something. Perhaps it was just as simple as being a brown-colored feature that resembled a type of home? At any rate, it was a non-man-made geographic feature that could at least maybe…. possibly qualify as a home of Brown.

I decided to assume for the moment that the Tent Rocks were the home of Brown and see if I could identify a convincing WWWH. I remember Forrest had once responded to a Chaser’s question if they knew where the home of Brown was, then why are they bothering with WWWH? (I’m paraphrasing a bit here; the actual quote can be found HERE.

Well the answer to Forrest’s counter-question is that by finding a convincing WWWH to go along with a hoB, it adds supporting confidence to the entire solve and would not seem to me to be a wasted effort.

The Tent Rocks are located along the north shore of the North St. Vrain Creek, so I followed it upstream. The creek forks a few times as it rises in elevation towards the glaciers and snowfields. There’s a “Moomaw Glacier”; could a glacier be WWWH? Maybe? Ice could certainly be thought of as halted water in a sense.

There were also plenty of named mountain peaks along the divide. My eyes gravitated towards Isolation Peak (labeled as Mt. Hewes on the Cooper-Babcock Map). Could that be a reference to the first line in the poem “As I have gone alone in there”? Perhaps. Looking to the east of Isolation Peak was a smaller peak that Cooper and Babcock did not feel worthy of a label: Mahana Peak. It was only after I looked up the meaning behind the name “Mahana” that my attention suddenly sharpened a good deal: Mahana is a Hawaiian or Maori word meaning “heat” or “warmth”! The snowmelt that drains off of this mountain either to its northern or southern canyons will eventually converge into the same North St. Vrain Creek that flows to the immediate south of the Tent Rocks. Well that suddenly looked to me like a great match between the first half of the poem to the Wild Basin area!

Image 14 Mahana WWWH

Isolation Peak on the Continental Divide with Mahana Peak just to the southeast. Note how the waters draining off of Mahana Peak would drain either north into the North Saint Vrain Creek or south into Ouzel Creek, but both of these drainages converge further east into North Saint Vrain Creek.
(image courtesy Google Earth)

This gave me some confidence at least about being able to marry the first part of the poem to a place on the map. Now to see if the remainder of the poem could be followed using the Tent Rocks as the home of Brown:

“From there it’s no place for the meek”: Longs Peak’s little brother Mt. Meeker, and its long southeastern Meeker Ridge was almost immediately to the north. I guess I should go in the opposite direction south then?

Image 15 Mt Meeker Meeker Ridge 1

Mt. Meeker and Meeker Ridge to the north of the Tent Rocks. Mt. Meeker is not labeled, but is the prominent peak directly southeast of Longs Peak, and Meeker Ridge is the long ridge that extends southeast.
(image courtesy Google Earth)

“The end is drawing ever nigh”: If I (and Forrest before me) parked at the Wild Basin Trailhead and hiked the short distance west towards the Tent Rocks, I would have to hang a left in order to travel south (using the old-fashioned interpretation of “nigh” meaning “left”).

Image 16 TH to Tent Rocks 1

The Wild Basin Trailhead to Tent Rocks
(image courtesy Google Earth)

“There’ll be no paddle up your creek”: Heading south from Tent Rocks points me towards Cony Creek and its “Calypso Cascades”, which can certainly not be paddled up.

“Just heavy loads and waters high”: Waters high referencing the Calypso Cascades (or Calypso Falls as Cooper & Babcock called them), and heavy loads referencing the numerous massive glacial boulders lining both sides of the Cascades (that could be clearly seen on the internet from other hiker photos, as well as my own photos from when I hiked there several years ago).

Image 17 Calypso Cascades

A photo I took at the bottom of the Calypso Cascades from a hike in 2016.

Well now the poem seemed to be pointing me towards somewhere along Cony Creek (labeled Caroline Creek on the Cooper & Babcock map), but I still needed to nail down a more specific location. Calypso Cascades is a fairly popular hiking destination for the area, so I felt like I could dismiss the portion of Cony Creek between North St. Vrain Creek and the Cascades, as this stretch was pretty consistently visible along the trail leading from the Wild Basin Trailhead. When the hiking trail arrives at Calypso Cascades, one can follow trails further westwards or eastwards, but no trails went southwards uphill following Cony Creek (and the Cascades) further upstream. If there had been people and searchers within 200-500 feet of the treasure (presumably at the bridge at the bottom of the Cascades), then it seemed to indicate that it might be worth a try bushwhacking a short distance above the Cascades from the trail. From the photos I had, it seemed that the terrain on either side above Calypso Cascades did not appear to be too forbidding for an 80-year-old man, and was well forested to help conceal from views along the trail below.

Image 18 Calypso Cascades

Another person’s photo of Calypso Cascades that I found online. Note that the off-trail terrain to the left doesn’t appear to be a difficult grade at all.

Thinking about waterfalls also naturally reminded me of the grave of the French soldier in the TOTC chapter “My War for Me”. While describing his investigation of the tombstone, Forrest mentioned that the pilot was sitting on the edge of the top of the waterfall (I assumed the pilot to be the helicopter pilot at first read, but Forrest was a pilot too….). The terrain I was looking at now at Calypso seemed to evoke a similar image in my mind. There is a fork in Cony Creek immediately above the Calypso Cascades that appeared to be the very top of the falls before the main branch of Coney Creek traveled across flatter terrain towards Finch Lake. Reading the topographic lines, I painted a picture in my imagination where a “marvel gaze” may be possible. If one stood right at that fork in the creek at the top of the Cascades and there was a good break in the trees, one could have an absolutely marvelous gaze across the valley towards Longs and Meeker Peaks. Maybe!

Image 19 GC Marvel Gaze

Marvel gaze?
(image courtesy Google Earth)

A few other bits of information I stumbled upon added further to my confidence:

First, the name Calypso comes from the Greek word meaning “to hide”, “to conceal”, or “to deceive”, which seemed to fit in with the whole theme of the Chase (The internet revealed that the Calypso Cascades actually got their name due to a variety of Calypso orchid that apparently grew along its banks).

Secondly, the search location was within the boundaries of a National Park. That seemed to reinforce a notion I had regarding this CBS interview video with Forrest: Found HERE

 In the video, Forrest is asked about legal ownership of the treasure depending on where it is found. He only gives specific direction regarding if the treasure is found in a National Park (turn over to the park’s superintendent), and is rather vague and nonspecific about other possible locations such as private property or Indian reservation land. There could be different reasons for why he answered the question in this manner, but what if Forrest only bothered to be specific about National Park lands because that’s really the only instance that matters? It’s nothing solid that I could hang my hat on, but it did make me feel better that I was looking in an area within National Park boundaries.

And thirdly, the route to the location seemed to be reasonably 80-year-old-man friendly. The walk to Calypso Cascades is only about 1.8 miles from the Wild Basin Trailhead Parking Lot. Tack on only a few hundred feet of uphill bushwhacking, and it seemed reasonable that Forrest could have handled two out-an-back trips in an afternoon. Altogether, that adds up to about 7.2 miles of hiking which would certainly be enough to make him tired after all that. The entire route and final location also appeared to be completely within the elevation limits between 5,000 and 10,200 feet above sea level, with the hidey spot being pretty close to that range’s upper limit.

Anyways, I had spent a good deal of time looking over this area and thinking about it while waiting for the snows to melt. An especially late Spring did not help, but finally by early July I had drummed up enough confidence to make a go on a BOTG trip to see if my ideas might lead me to the location of Indulgence.

Some major late-season snowstorms ensured that the snows in the high country would remain stubbornly unmelted until well into the summer, but in July of 2019 I was finally able to put my little Calypso Cascades solve to the test. For the first time, I visited the Wild Basin Entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, which was tucked away well south of Estes Park, Colorado by the small town of Allenspark.

Image 20 WB Entrance

The less-developed Wild Basin Entrance into RMNP

Image 21 Start of Trail

As I had anticipated, the trail leading from the Wild Basin Trailhead was gently graded and pleasant.

Image 22 N St Vrain Creek

The trail followed along North St. Vrain Creek, which was obviously still surging with an abundance of late-season snowmelt, and no one with good sense would attempt to cross such a stream at this time. Fortunately there were footbridges further on along the trail.

Image 23 Trail Junction

At this trail junction, I had hoped to catch a glimpse of the mysterious Tent Rocks, but could see nothing but forested canyon sides rising above me. Try as I might, I would not be able to see any sign of the Tent Rocks at all during this outing. Perhaps they were nestled in the forest close to the various campsites along the other trail branch that I did not take? My confidence in this particular home of Brown was waning a bit.

Image 24 Base of Cascades

Heading over the bridge to the south side of North St. Vrain Creek, the trail gradually ascended following the southern stretch of Cony Creek until the footbridge at the base of Calypso Cascades came into view. This was a popular destination, so there were a good number of other hikers passing along through the area with me.

Image 25 Sign

This sign at the base of the Cascades gave special notice to fishermen along the upper Cony Creek. So fishermen liked this area? That made me wonder if Forrest perhaps had fished along this creek himself.

Image 26 Striaght up Cascades

Here is a view from the footbridge looking straight up the Cascades. Somewhere further up there was my little point of land where the creek forked. Not really the same as Forrest’s waterfall in Vietnam that dropped off of a high precipice and turned into mist, but certainly a water high with heavy loads along its banks.

Image 27 Base of Cascades

From the base of the Cascades, I could see that the terrain along the left (east) side was solid and actually looked pretty easy to hike up. The land of opposite side was broken and steeper, with some additional streams running down it, so the east (nigh?) side seemed to obvious way for me to ascend the Cascades.

Image 28 Starting up

I took a nice break at the base of the Cascades while I waited for a quiet point when there were no other hikers in the immediate vicinity who would see me dash off the trail up along the Cascades. Once I had a good window of opportunity, I was able to quickly head up the bank into the cover of the trees. I don’t know why I decided to be so covert about the whole thing; I suppose I was concerned that a ranger might see me and shout me back to stay on the designated trails.

Image 29 up more

Once I had a good screen of trees between me and the main trail, I could take my time in continuing to follow the Cascades uphill. The roar of the water blocked out all outside noise and was very pleasant.

Image 30 sawn log

The land got steeper the higher up I went, but I still did not feel that the terrain was anything that an 80-year-old man couldn’t handle. There was remarkably little undergrowth to bushwhack through. Then I noticed the sawn log in this picture. I began to wonder if I was actually following a very rough human trail? That might sink my whole solve, but I kept going upwards.

Image 31 Longs Meeker

I was pleased as I looked behind me and could catch some wonderful glimpses of the summit of Longs & Meeker Peaks through the break in the forest canopy caused by the Cascades. At least my idea of a “marvel gaze” seemed to be playing out well.

Image 32 Boulders

There was no shortage of massive boulders along the edge of the Cascades and I keep my eyes open for blazes and checked a few crevices here and there as I continued upwards.

Image 33 Orchids

A lovely surprise was that the Calypso Orchids, which gave the Cascades their name, were already in bloom along the bank and provided a beautiful splash of color. I made sure to give these a wide berth so as not to accidentally trample them.

Image 34 Topping off

All in all, the hike up along the Cascades did not take very much time at all. Soon I found myself at top of the steepest portion of the terrain and could look back at the view across the valley behind me.

Image 35 Point of land

And sure enough, right where the grade mellowed out again at the top of the Cascades, was that special point of land I was interested in. Here, Cony Creek continues off to the right, while its unnamed tributary heads off to the left. I would need to find a place to safely cross the unnamed stream, and this definitely wasn’t the place!

Image 36 log bridge

I knew from my map that the unnamed stream was not especially long from the point where it emptied into Cony Creek, so I simply followed it upstream to find a safe spot to cross. Sure enough, the stream quickly became narrower and its flow less intense, but then I got another surprise: I found myself facing an obviously human-built log bridge. There was no uncertainty in my mind now: Even though it was not marked on any maps, even though it was not signed, and even though it was quite rough the whole way, I had clearly been following a human trail. And as we all know, the treasure is not in close proximity to a human trail. I felt this was pretty close proximity to where I was hoping the treasure would be. Dang.

Image 37 Point

Well, I had come this far anyway, so I crossed the log bridge anyway and headed back out to my point of land at the fork to see if there was anything worth seeing. Really there wasn’t. I checked all the rocks and bases of trees just to be sure, but nothing that stuck out like a blaze. Also, those great views of Longs & Meeker I was hoping to see had been once again blocked from view. All I could do was stare back down Cony Creek as it rushed towards the top of Calypso Cascades. It was at least a beautiful spot to stop and have a snack.

Image 38 Further back

Just to be sure, I headed just a bit further upstream to see if there might be any aberrations worth taking a look at. Nothing really other than more trees, stumps, and rocks. Just as I was about to admit defeat and head back down, I had another surprise: A group of about a dozen teenaged backpackers walked by me! They had apparently been camping up at Finch Lake and were following the unmarked “connector trail” that I had come up. Well that was just the icing on the cake! I could only laugh and shake my head as I let the group pass by and then headed back down myself.

Image 39 Ouzel Falls

Once I got back down to the trail at the base of Calypso Cascades, I decided to enjoy myself and hike further up to Ouzel Lake. I had also been considering a few areas further up the trail earlier on, but my hike at least confirmed that some of these locations were too far for an 80-year-old man to make two trips to in a single afternoon. Ouzel Falls was another pretty area a short distance further up the trail, but both its banks and its top were swarming with other hikers milling about.

Image 40 to Ouzel Lake

Past Ouzel Falls, the crowds thinned along with the forest and my hike became a lot more pleasant. It was really refreshing not to have to worry about looking for a treasure for the remainder of this day and I could just enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Image 41 To Ouzel Lake Further

Ouzel Lake was about as far as a hiker without snow gear could get. I talked to a couple of hikers who had tried to go further up but turned back due to the still heavy snowpack.

Image 42 Ouzel Mahana

At the wonderful shores of Ouzel Lake with the rocky slopes of Mahana Peak rising above.

Image 43 Ouzel Lake Break

A pleasant spot on Ouzel Lake to take another relaxing break before turning around and hiking back.

Image 44 heading back

The long walk back to the Wild Basin Trailhead lies before me. At least it’s all downhill from here!

Well, that about wraps up my rundown of this failed solve for me. Many others have shared theirs on this site, so I was long overdue to share one of mine. In retrospect, there were a lot of problems with this one. My home of Brown was pretty weak and amounted little more to a weird label on some maps. I kind of liked my WWWH, but there’s nothing else I can figure out to do with it. The biggest lesson I took away from this trip was that human trails aren’t always signed or marked on maps – even in a National Park.

If anyone feels like exploring any of these areas in more detail, by all means feel free to use any of this if it helps. It really is a beautiful area of the park to visit for its own sake, and I have no regrets about my own visit here. I’m also still happy about being introduced to the literary works of both Joe and Enos Mills by way of this solve, and encourage anyone to give them a read for the fun of it. It was time well spent!

Thanks for reading!

Blex

  

 

 

 

 

 

The Key Word…Part Nine

yellow

This page is now closed to additional comments. To continue the conversation please go to the most recent “The Key Word” page.

“Many have given serious thought to the clues in the poem but only a few are in tight focus with a word that is key.”

The above is a quote from Forrest. This page is where we can discuss what that key word might be.

 

 

 

Scrapbook Two Hundred Forty Seven…

scrapbook

December, 2019

 

Wherever the Bugle Blows

On the 24th of August, 1968, I was shot down in south Vietnam. One-hundred and nineteen days later, I was shot down again, that time in the jungle of Laos.

Thirty minutes after I ejected from my crippled fighter, it was dark. There could be no rescue attempt at night. No one knew where I was.

But the next morning, at first light, a recovery plan was in operation. A C-130, full of search and rescue experts, was circling high, directing my rescue. A forward air controller (FAC) spotter plane had found me and pinpointed my position on the ground. It was Lt. James Swisher.

Four Sandy airplanes whose duty it was to strafe all around my position to keep enemy heads down, were doing their job. Four F-100 fighters, flying low and fast, and pulling Gs, were ready to roll in on any enemy position the FAC could find. Several other fighters, including a Misty, were close by, sauntering just out of the way, and ready to come in if needed.

A Jolly Green Giant helicopter (the Candy Ann) came in low and dropped 240 feet of cable with a heavy jungle penetrator attached. Airman Bob Sully, and M/Sgt. Lee Maples, were watching from the chopper. When they saw me unfold the penetrator’s legs and strap on, they activated the hoist that reeled me 175 feet up through the tangle of trees and an additional 65 feet above that canopy to the relative safety of the helicopter.

Meanwhile, a spare Jolly Green circled 1000’ above my position and was ready to assist if the Candy Ann started taking battle damage.

Looking back at that incident, which occurred almost exactly fifty-one years ago, I am still humbled, and proud. And honored that all of that effort was expended in harm’s way just to save my life. I wish I could express myself more eloquently.

I wanted to say those things now, at a time when our military seems to be taking heat from every radial. Are we ready to handle a homeland assault from a foreign power, especially one who possess gigantic weapons? We were not on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Could that happen again? We must keep our military strong.

Forrest’s collage painting

This old flag flies to warn anyone who sees her weak. Long after they have gone, she will wave, still at her peak, daring all of those who call her out to test her wrath and act as foes. Her strong stripes still proudly there, her resolve still strong, her teeth still bare, ready to charge again…wherever the bugle blows. f

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frosty’s Reflections Part 4-5…


December 2019

By Frosty

 

Part 4 – A Dash of Logic

Okay, we have an image of an airplane. But what do we do with that to get us closer to the treasure location?

Fenn has said that it “seems logical to me that a deep thinking treasure searcher could use logic to determine an important clue to the location of the treasure.” Lets apply a bit of logic. 

Fenn went alone both inside his cockpit and to the treasure location. Given the importance of each, logically it makes sense that the treasure would be located somewhere within the cockpit area. 

It also makes logical sense that the treasure would be on either public lands or private lands owned by Fenn. Fenn does not appear to own land within the cockpit area. 

If you overlay a map of public lands, the result is about 35 acres of BLM land that is within the cockpit. 

CockpitWAcreage

Click to enlarge map

And zoomed in:

CockpitWAcreageZoom

Click to enlarge map

 

Part 5 – In Tight Focus

While 35 acres isn’t huge, the size of the chest and the landscape in which it is secreted still make it a  challenging search area. There must be a way to narrow it down. 

Fenn has informed that few “are in tight focus with a word that is key”. The word that is key can be found in the introduction to his poem. That reads: “So I wrote a poem containing nine clues that if followed precisely, will lead to the end of my rainbow and the treasure.” 

The word that is key is “precisely”. A synonym for precisely is the phrase “to a t”. Substituting that into the poem’s introduction, it now reads: “So I wrote a poem containing nine clues that if followed to a T, will lead to the end of my rainbow and the treasure”.  

We want to follow the clues to a T. Using satellite imagery, if you zoom in to bring the southwest corner of the search area into tight focus you will notice the letter ‘T’. That puts us in tight focus with the word that is key.

In each of the images below the ‘T’ is in roughly the center of the image, below a single small tree, in a clearing. 

Google Maps:

GoogleMapsT

Click to enlarge image

Apple Maps:

IMG 0012

If you scan to the right of the T a couple of inches you will see an X with a circle around it at the base of a solitary tree. That is easier to see in the Apple map image.

Between the X and T is the image of a snowman with its left hand pointing at the X and its right hand over its head waving. That is more evident in the Google map image. Due to the angle in the Apple map image you can only see its head and the beginning of its torso. 

A snowman is an apt metaphor for the transience of life. Further, “Frosty the Snowman” represents the lesson Fenn learned and wants to teach in “My War for Me”.

(Stay tuned for the Finale, Part 6 – The End of the Rainbow)

-Frosty

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook Two Hundred Forty Six…

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December, 2019

 

The Promise of a Dream

Many years ago, when I was being wistful about what was ahead for me, I dreamed above my probabilities. It was fun to fantasize that someday I would write a children’s fiction book, and another that was non-fiction. And see a poem of mine in print, and one of my oil paintings hanging on the wall.

As I matured, I learned that some of the wishes, which seemed so far from me once, might have fallen within my realm if I would just try. So I did.

My book, The Beat of the Drum and the Whoop of the Dance, was a biography. And later, The Thrill of the Chase, showcased poems that I wrote.

Today, my children’s book is being shipped from the printer.

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Front and back covers of my children’s book

Meanwhile, my oil painting dries on the living room table. It’s called, As the Bugle Blows, which depicts a time in my life that sublimely underscores my passage through it. Maybe I’ll talk about that at another time. And now to my country song. It’s called Cold Coffee in a Hot Cup. f

My children’s book, Educating Ardi, does not contain any clues or hints to my treasure location. It was printed in only 100 copies, and will not be for sale. It is mostly just for family. f

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook Two Hundred Forty Five…

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December, 2019

 

Eric’s Funny Part

IMG 1239The name Eric Sloane should be synonymous with wood. He wrote a book titled A Reverence for Wood. In his preface…

“…one day we were flying over the New England country side. ‘Someday soon,’ I said, ‘I must do a book about trees and wood.’ Down below, the wooded hills were just turning to their autumn colors, and the shadow of our plane raced across a sea of crimson and russet.”

When he was building his home in Santa Fe, he had some boastfully-wonderful old weathered boards. They were being saved to build doors and kitchen cabinets. He loved their roughness. They were stored outside in the sun and rain where they could take on more of a color that he called “personality gray.”

But while he was back east for a short visit the carpenters nailed them up as joists. Eric’s recovery period was rather lengthy and I dutifully listened to the story more than a few times during our frequent lunches.

Eric never lived to know that my dedication in Seventeen Dollars a Square Inch (a personal tribute to Eric Sloane) was really a dedication to his memory, in a funny abstract way.

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When Eric learned I was collecting artists palettes, he lamented that he didn’t have one to give me. He had no use for one when he painted because he mixed his paints on a wooden board that was attached to his easel. “Never mind that,” he probably thought, “I’ll just saw off my mixing board and give that to Forrest.”

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And that’s what he did, but not before painting a covered bridge and nailing a favored old paintbrush on for added flavor.

Although I had palettes from many important artists, including Nicolai Fechin, none was more revered than Eric’s.

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I just measured the palette with my spread right hand, which is exactly 8 ¼ inches, little finger nail, to thumb nail. So the palette is 33 ½ inches wide. But just for fun I measured it with my ruler also. Yup, 33 ½ inches wide. I always like to be exact. f

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Jimmy Dolittle, Eric Sloane and Neil Armstrong

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook Two Hundred Forty Four…

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December, 2019

 

Eric’s Humor

More than 40 years ago, when Eric Sloane was building his home in Santa Fe, I gave him a painting by Leon Gaspard. It was a house warming gift depicting two Taos Indians on horseback, up close, and riding directly toward the viewer. They were wearing shirts with broad, brightly colored vertical stripes. And they each had on pauncho hats, one with a feather sticking up and out at a rakish angle. 

Eric decided to put it on the left side of a fireplace, and it looked great hanging there, except that he didn’t have anything to offset it on the other side of the fireplace. That problem was quickly solved when he painted the same Indians wearing the same clothing, up close, and riding directly away from the viewer. Another typically looking Leon Gaspard painting with Eric Sloane martini-style humor. I told him how much I liked it, and we both had a good laugh. Eric was pleased to see that I recognized the subtle humor in what he had done. 

The next day he came into my gallery and presented me with a still-wet Gaspard-looking painting depicting two Taos Indians on horseback wearing shirts with broad, brightly colored vertical stripes. And they each had on pauncho hats, one with a feather sticking up and out at a rakish angle. He titled it Gaspard Memories and here it is: 

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How can you not love a guy like Eric Sloane? f

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook Two Hundred Forty Three…

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November, 2019

 

I had seen the movie, A River runs Through it, but had not read the book. “You should,” my friend said, and she gave me a copy. After only 8 pages a mood came over me and I put the book aside to write this story. It is something I had to do. The book will be there later. 

I Remember Bip

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Our hair is beginning to turn white

He was as close to me as anything could be, my arm for instance. His real name was Bippy, but I can’t imagine why. Perhaps it was given to him when he was just a pup and any flippant designation, applied with a laugh, would fit. You know how humans are around babies. 

As he matured, my little brown dachshund moved off of his pad and into my heart, and even closer if there was such a place. He started sleeping on our bed, and then under the covers. It was nice to awaken in the middle of the night and feel his warmth at my feet. 

Bippy became Bip, and then The Bip, as if the crown jewels had been injected into the name. In my work place he was always under the desk. If I moved an inch, he knew it. When I rose to walk, The Bip was always trotting, 3’ in my trail. 

Once, in Lubbock where we lived, at the time, my wife and I had the occasion to drive from the Red Barn (the name of our art foundry) to visit Glenna Goodacre at her home. We drove about 3 miles through downtown to get there. My little dog was in his usual car-riding spot on the top of my driver’s seat, and behind my neck. 

After a visit with Glenna we were ready to go, but The Bip wasn’t hanging with me, and he was nowhere around that we could see. He had never been to Glenna’s before and it was not like him to wander off into in a strange neighborhood. For three hours we searched, up this street and down that one, all about. He just wasn’t there, and I was sure someone had stolen him, or that he had been hit by a car. I was rife with despair. 

After more hours of circling and looking, we drove back to the Red Barn. And there he was, The Bip, sitting by the front door and wagging his tail if to say, “Where have you guys been?” 

How did he get from there to here, 3 miles through heavy traffic, and red lights, and big trucks? Those are the things that souls are made of. 

Peggy and I were going up the Amazon River when we received a frantic phone call from Santa Fe. A vicious dog had attacked Bip, and he was having trouble. We charted a small pontoon plane, which I think was held together with bailing wire and duct tape, (it had no heading indicator or altimeter) to come land beside our boat, and carry us to Manaus, Brazil, which was 250 miles across the unmapped Amazon jungle where we could catch a flight home.. The Bip saw us and wagged his tail. He quickly recovered. Reunions following near disasters, are wonderful.IMG 7507

In 1981, a friend assisted Bip in writing his autobiography. It’s called Bip, and has his signature on the leather cover. It’s a 30-page fictionalized account of Bip as an artist, and Eric Sloane illustrated it with 7 drawings.

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The book was published at Northland Press in Flagstaff, AZ, in one copy. 

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The book starts out:

I never wanted to tell my story. I think that should be stated at the start. I find most autobiographies rather self-serving. I hated “Doggie Dearest,” which I found highly exploitive, “For Whom the Dog Barks, “Memoirs of a Schnauzer of Pleasure,” “Cheaper by the Litter,” and all of the other volumes I have read over the years have left me cold. I always assumed that my art, not my printed word, would make the world aware that I have been one of the most colorful artists of the American West, Throughout all the years I have been painting, I have naively assumed that somehow my reputation would be discovered through the gallery we operate. But now that I am getting old, I think it is time that I tell the whole story.

At about 13 years, Bip’s muzzle turned white, and he got a cancer on his right fore-arm. It was an ugly balloon looking thing, the size of a cue ball. Our vet just shook his head, a gesture I wasn’t ready to accept. The 2nd vet, a wonderful man named Clint Hughes, said he could operate and fix it. 

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He operated for an hour and he did fix it, and he allowed me to sleep the night in his operating room on the floor beside my little dog. I knew he would be stressed. At about 15 years the terrible malignancy returned, and Clint fixed it again. We were on a roll. 

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Then at 17 years or so, The Bip began to fall apart. His liver failed and he had other problems. His eyes told me he was ready. Clint came out of retirement to help us, and as The Bip went limp in my arms, all of us cried. 

But I wasn’t ready for all of that to happen, and I told Clint I wanted my little dog to spend one last night on my bed, like he had done so many times over the years. “He’s no longer there, his spirit has gone.” Clint said. It was a kick in the gut to me, And I quickly reacted. “Who says he isn’t still there, where is your evidence, please show me your evidence?” Why do we arbitrarily believe things that we’ve been told? Just because someone said it doesn’t make it true.  Throughout the night me and Bip were together in spirit. It was a warm sleep for me. 

The next morning, I wrote The Bip’s biography and placed it in a fruit jar that had a rust-proof lid. My words said what I needed to say, so I signed it with my name and date. 

Then I made small wooden box. The boards were new and the nails were applied with loving care. Then I wrapped Bip in some warm covers and buried him under the big plum tree just outside my office at the gallery. 

Many years later, when we sold our gallery, I moved Bip to a place just outside the bedroom at our new home on the Old Santa Fe Trail.

Chiseled on a flat sandstone slab, and placed atop his little space, are these words, Bip, so long old friend, for now. I just went out and brushed the snow away to see if there was a date. There wasn’t, and I’m glad, because I don’t want to know when he passed away. I just want to remember that, in a real way, he is still with me. fContactThat story is full of reminiscing words and I feel better for having said them. 

Now it’s back to A River Runs Through it, page 9. Thank you S.