My Take on the Word That is Key…

MAY 2018

by JOHN R.

 

I have been in the Chase for two years now. Like everyone else I have my own ideas on how to solve the poem and retrieve the chest. I have been working on Forrests’ statement on the Key Word.

The full statement is:

It is interesting to know that a great number of people are out there searching. Many are giving serious thought to the clues in my poem, but only a few are in tight focus with a word that is key. The treasure may be discovered sooner than I anticipated.

The word that I think is Key is HEARTH. Please bear with me.

I will work with Tight Focus.

If you look up the definition of  focus there are many definitions, but the one we shall look at is:

 A point at which rays of light or other radiation converge or from which they appear to diverge, as after refraction or reflection in an optical system.

This is the effect when you have a magnifying glass outside in the sun. If you aim the magnifying glass at a piece of paper, the suns rays enter the glass and are concentrated into a focal point, or Tight Focus, onto the paper which burns when its ignition temperature is reached.

The origin of the word focus is interesting. It originates in the 1640’s from Latin focus, meaning Hearth or fireplace. This also referred to home or family, as in years gone by the fireplace,( or hearth) was a focal point of the home where people gathered.

Hearth can also refer to a slab of concrete or stone in front of a fireplace, or the bottom part of a furnace in which the molten metal is produced or contained. Forrest would have been familiar with this term during his Bronze casting days. Don’t forget the various times that Forrest has mentioned sitting by his fireplace, and the importance Forrest places on family.

Not convinced yet that Hearth is the key word? Try this.

On Jenny Kiles site on the 23rd June 2015, Forrest was asked how he went about melding bronze to iron. He replied that it was done using a Heliarc, which uses an inert gas to keep the oxygen away, allowing the 2 metals to meld together. Now this is where it gets interesting. Heliarc welding is done using Helium or Argon gas as these are inert gases. So now we split the word Hearth up and use the Periodic Table.

He = Helium        

Ar = Argon

Th= Thorium

Thorium Oxide is used as a stabiliser in tungsten electrodes in Heliarc or TIG welding. Remember Forrest referring to Thor? Thorium is named after Thor, the Norse God of thunder. Thorium is also the 90th element on the periodic table. Lines up with all the references to the number 90. Maybe that is why the section on Jennys site was called Periodic Words from Forrest?

Still not convinced? Try this:

In Forrests books and blogs there are many photographs and references to hats, and in particular womens hats. Annabelles hat, Mildew and Bella Abzug come to mind as well as the painting shown on page 186 of TFTW.

He

Ar

Th

Take the 3 letters in the first line. They spell HAT. Take the 3 letters in the second line and rearrange them They spell HER. HER HAT.

If you don’t think anagrams are part of the solve, then I guess you will not think that Hearth is the key word.

In my opinion I believe that Hearth is the key word that Forrest is looking for, but who knows until the chest is found. I would appreciate your thoughts.

-John R.

A “Personality Galore” Hat Contest…

Forrest Modeling Mildew

Personality Galore Hat Contest

More than three years ago Forrest bragged about Mildew..his hat of dubious distinction. He declared that this hat was the most “interesting” on the blog.

Shallow claim. I say.

Help me prove the point by submitting a photo of your “interesting hat” to me at:
dal at lummifilm dot com

I will post the photos as I receive them until the contest closes to entries.

Forrest Modeling his Buffalo Hat

Someone, yet unnamed, will help me judge the hats and together we will choose the hat with “Personality Galore” to be the winner of this contest. I don’t expect this to be an easy judging task.

To begin, take a look at Scrapbook 126 to see what passes for “personality galore” in Forrest’s mind…HERE

Next read the rules of this contest below:

1. A contestant may submit only one entry in this contest. 

2. A contestant must be a person of good standing on this blog.

3. An entry is one photo of the hat attached in an email. The email must also include the blog name of the contestant.

4. It is the hat that will be judged not the photography nor the “personality” of the character modeling the hat. That being said, the cumulative effect of a photo that shows an “interesting” hat along with an “interesting” hat model and interesting background, should not be ignored.

5. Entries must be sent before the contest closing time and date.

6. The contest closing time/date is 9pm (Santa Fe time) May 31st, 2018

7. I repeat, one entry per person.

8. The “hat” must exist in the real world. It cannot be a digital creation of a hat.

9. The photo of the hat must be an actual photo and not a hat photoshopped onto a background…ie no digital manipulation of the photo is allowed. We want to judge a hat and not someone’s photoshop ability.

10. The winner will be announced by the surviving judge as quickly as possible after the contest closes.

The winner will receive a signed copy of “Too Far To Walk” by Forrest Fenn. A signed copy is a nice investment…

Finally…off we go…

Let’s have some fun!!!

 

Page One of Entries

Page Two of Entries

Page Three of Entries

Page Four of Entries

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not in Yellowstone…


SUBMITTED May, 2018
by dal

 

Journalist and traveler Issac Cole kept a podcast titled “On The Road With Charlie

Charlie is Issacs dog who travels with him and rides shotgun in his truck. His podcast is about traveling the roads and meeting Americans while tracing John Steinbeck’s route in “Travels With Charlie”. Issac’s podcast is an interesting journal and tantalizing journey, well worth the effort of listening.

In 2017 Issac interviewed Forrest. When that interview was published in May of 2017 it chased many folks away from looking for the chest in the Yellowstone area because although Forrest claims to have spent about 19 of his first 20 summers hanging out in that park and nearby, Forrest mentions in the interview that he has not been back to Yellowstone since 1950.

If this is true, Forrest could not have hidden the chest around Yellowstone, since it was hidden well after 1950. So why bother going there to look for it?

The question seems reasonable. The logic impeccable.

But there’s a problem…

Forrest visited West Yellowstone and Yellowstone National Park many times between 1950 and 2010.

This is not something I made up…It is fact. And it begs the question; why did Forrest say he hasn’t been there since 1950, when he certainly has?

I think I know what happened…but lets start at the top..

Below is a transcription of the relevant podcast section of Issac Cole’s interview with Forrest:

————————————–

FENN: I was a professional fishing guide when I was 13 years old. 

COLE: In Texas? 

FENN: No, in Yellowstone. West Yellowstone, Montana and I could… I ran a tackle shop all by myself. The guy that owned it was drunk all the time, so one summer I ran the tackle shop. I could make a gross of flies in a day and wait on customers at the same time. But you know, I tied catgut leaders, tapered leaders, I made split bamboo fly rods. I had a name for every fish in that country up there: Mary and Phyllis and Johnny and I knew where all the holes were. 

I’m an outdoors person. It wasn’t so much fishing, it was being there. I remember when I could hardly wait to get on the river, and catch a big old brown trout. I’d get out there, get out of my car and look  around and walk over and sit under a tree for an hour and watch the Osprey catch fish, and watch the Eagles try to take it away from the Osprey. God has a summer place up there you know?

COLE: I haven’t fished up in West Yellowstone but I grew up going to uh, a cousin of mine owns Campflre Lodge.

FENN: What’s the name of it? 

COLE: Campflre Lodge. It has a little restaurant there and log cabins and it’s right on the Madison. 

FENN: That’s after my time. 

COLE: Yeah, probably.

FENN: Because I spent 19 of my first 20 summers, three months, in Yellowstone or West Yellowstone but the last time I was up there was 1950.


Issac missed asking the follow-up question that he should have asked. Certainly understandable since Issac was not particularly fixated on the hunt for Forrest’s treasure nor was he knowledgeable of Forrest’s background. Issac really didn’t have the framework to understand that what Forrest just said was going to be a big issue for many searchers for many years…

The question we wish Issac had asked Forrest at that point was:
“Excuse me Forrest but did you just say you have never been back to Yellowstone or West Yellowstone since the summer of 1950?”

Unfortunately no such follow-up was asked and no clarification about that statement has been made by Forrest.

So then, why do I say that Forrest has, in fact been back to West Yellowstone and Yellowstone after 1950? Where is my evidence?

I will share a few pieces of evidence that I have with you.

First is the construction of the Dude Motel in West Yellowstone.

Forrest, his brother Skippy and friend and brother-in-law Donnie Joe built the Dude Motel which is still on Boundary Street in West Yellowstone. They also built a tavern behind the motel, but the tavern is no longer there. Forrest wrote a story in his book,  Too Far To Walk, about building the motel. I don’t believe he mentions the year it was built in his story which appears in Chapter 19 of the book. But Forrest answered an email from a searcher in 2011 and we published the relevant part of that email here on the blog. In that email Forrest states that they built the motel in about 1962.

Second is Crayton’s recollection from somewhat later.
Crayton is Forrest’s nephew. Remember that Forrest’s mom and dad ran a motor-court called Fennhaven Cabins in West Yellowstone in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. When they sold the motor-court they bought an airstream and still spent their summers up there. Crayton has vivid memories of Forrest and family spending time in West Yellowstone in the summers to visit his mom and dad and do a little fishing and relaxing. Crayton’s best memories of those visits are from around the end of the 60’s to the early 70’s.

Third is a photo Forrest showed me in August of 2011.
I can’t show it too you because I don’t have it. I was visiting Forrest in Santa Fe and we were sitting on his back porch sipping cold drinks and looking at some photos from his collection. One he showed me and talked about was taken just a couple years earlier. It was of Forrest and Peggy and another couple standing at Forrest’s favorite bathing hole, Ojo Caliente, on the Firehole River. The photo was taken from the bridge that crosses the river and looking down at the folks as they posed for the pic. Forrest and Peggy in the photo looked exactly as they did in real life on that day. Because of their age in the photo it could not have been more than a few years old.

So, why did Forrest say that he had not been back to Yellowstone since 1950?

I don’t think that’s what he said. I think that’s what we heard him say…which is often the case. It’s my opinion that listeners sometimes have different interpretations of what Forrest meant than what he intended. I think this is one of those cases…

I think the words Forrest spoke are clear-

“…I spent 19 of my first 20 summers, three months, in Yellowstone or West Yellowstone but the last time I was up there was 1950.”

But Forrest is not referring to the actual last time he was up there…He is referring to the last time he was up there for an entire summer (three months).

And that is probably an honest fact…

From 1950 to 1970 he was in the Air Force and never had three months off in a summer. After 1970 his life just continued to be busy and he never took three months off again to spend in Yellowstone…

Most people can say the same thing. Few of us…after high school…except teachers, retirees and some college students…ever had three months off in the summer to go play…

So, in my opinion and based on the info stated above (and more)…Forrest just meant to say something that he didn’t. He had one phrase in mind and he spoke another. The interviewer didn’t know enough about the situation to follow-up on it.

But, if you don’t want to waste your time searching around Yellowstone…no problem. There are plenty of great places to waste time looking at the splendid beauty of the countryside…eagles, osprey, buffalo, bear, trout, ants, beaver, otter….

-dal

 

 

 

 

 

Forrest Gets Mail – 17

Mr. Fenn,
My students have a question for you. Since you have spent much time in the west around Yellowstone, do you have any personal experiences with cattle ranching and cattle drives?

Franklin

Franklin,
Many years ago, my good friend J. Evetts Haley (the writer), invited me to help him brand calves on his ranch in the panhandle of Texas. It was 103 degrees in August and they built a big fire to heat the branding irons. There was no cooling breeze. After the cowboys roped a calf, it was my job to run up and throw the poor thing on its side. I think every one of those critters kicked me in the nose. After the branding, the calf jumped up and ran off, and I had to do it all over again. That day was so hot and sweaty I lost 6 pounds. All of my aspirations for being a rancher were used up that day and I never wanted to see a branding iron again. Please tell your students to study hard so they don’t have to grow up to be a cowboy. f

Yellowstone Opens Early to Bikes…

APRIL 2018

by dal

 

This is a cautionary tale-

A few years ago I visited Yellowstone when it was too early for exploration. I should have known better. I wrote about the experience here:

But if you MUST visit YNP the below news article announces that the park has opened to bikes…But don’t expect to search beyond the road because the park will still have meters of snow on the ground where it hasn’t been scraped away.


From the Bozeman Daily Chronicle March 28th Edition

Some roads inside Yellowstone National Park opened to bicycles on Wednesday, but some remain closed because of weather and construction.

The park said in a press release that cyclists can ride from Mammoth Hot Springs to Willow Park and from the West Entrance to Roaring Mountain.

There will be no bike access to Old Faithful or Canyon until the roads open to cars on April 20.

The park reminds people that the weather is variable during the spring and that cyclists should plan accordingly. The park also said cyclists might encounter snowplows and wildlife.

Riders are urged to carry bear spray and plan for self-rescue or repair.

More information about biking in Yellowstone is available at
https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/spring-fall-bicycling.htm.

 

How To Have An Adventure For A Few Hundred Bucks…

MARCH 2018

by Jeremy

 

First things first, buy the hat. You need an adventure hat. It’s non-negotiable. As soon as you put it on, you’re basically Indiana Jones already. Adventure hats vary greatly depending on how cheap you are, but let’s call this $50. I spent $20. I’m cheap.

Next, buy the book. The Thrill of the Chase. It’s $35. It’s worth it. Don’t just buy the book. Actually read it. Someone out there’s going to disagree with this, saying that all you need is the poem, and that the poem is free. Ignore those people. Every adventure is wrapped in a mythology. This book is yours. Read it like Indiana Jones studying the grail diary.

Now, let’s get in character…

Principle: Thou shalt tilt at windmills. You’re going to want to pick up some other books, for free, at your local library. I recommend Huckleberry Finn. There’s a few chapters in Huck Finn where he describes how Tom Sawyer never saw things as they actually were, but instead as how he imagined them to be. That needs to be you. It’s not a Sunday-school picnic over there, it’s a caravan of Arabs and Spaniards!

This is how you have a proper adventure in modern times where the real world lingers in your periphery, and where your day job is only a phone call away. Set all that aside. You’re not Bob the Accountant. You’re Bob the Adventurer! You have to be ready to go out in the mountains where you can fight your imaginary foes without distraction. Oh, and you have to have imaginary foes. This is a must. You need a Belloq.

Don’t skimp on this research. A proper adventurer has watched all the movies and read all the books to the point where every rock carving and every blaze on a tree is a quiet reminder that the Hovitos are near. The adventurer knows that there are treasures around every corner, and everything that glitters is, in fact, gold. Imagination is always free.

You’ll need a treasure map. You should draw it on the back of parchment paper, in blood, but not in real blood, just use red ink and “let on” that it’s blood.

Adopt the vocabulary. Get in the habit of asking people, “Do we have an accord?” Tell people at the store that you’re on an “expedition to find the milk”. Refer to yourself as a knight upon a holy quest, because you are. Identify amongst your friends the cleric, the wizard and the rogue. You’ll need those guys. Refer to them as “party members”. Speaking of which…

“It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this.” Zelda fans just nodded in approval, but it’s true. Bring your friends. Bring friends because they may chip in for gas and beer. If you don’t have any friends, bring your family. If your family doesn’t want to go, bring your dog. If you don’t have a dog… steal one from the shelter! You’re a bloody pirate!

Let’s hit the open road! You can fly just about anywhere in the United States and be there in a few hours. That’s fine if you’re on vacation. But you’re not. You’re on an adventure! It is worth your time to see the country as Kerouac intended, through a bug splattered windshield. Even if you live in the Rocky Mountains, you should fly out to the East Coast just so that you can drive back. There’s so much raw America out there, and at least once, you should see it by car. For the adventurer on the cheap, most of your savings is in skipping planes and trains in favor of the automobile. You can pile all of your party members in, and take your gear, saving a ton of money.

You also want to go camping, and not like “camping” where you sleep in an RV or a cabin, but more like how the Boy Scouts and homeless people do it. You want a proper tent, or sleep in your car. An adventure is not a pampered night in a warm bed. It’s a starry night in the middle of nowhere. Ever hear of Paxico, Kansas? Me neither, until we pitched a tent there at a little farm by the tracks. A train blew by around two in the morning. Nothing else like it. It’s pretty much in the center of the United States, too, and now I can say I did that. The next night we camped at the Orilla Verde in the Rio Grande Gorge. Back east, it’s instant adventurer-cred to say you slept by the Rio Grande. It’s an amazing experience.

Depending on where you are, camping costs can range from $0 (ie. a Walmart parking lot) to maybe $20 a night, if you go primitive, and at that price you might even find a shower. Get used to sleeping on the ground. You’re an adventurer! Avoid those KOA sites, they’re just a bunch of RV’ers watching movies and keeping you up all night.

Now that you’ve got a rough outline of what your adventure might be, let’s fill it up!

A thousand MacGuffins. “Something hidden, go and find it.” This is the clarion call for every explorer. It is the thing that drives us forward. Somewhere out there is a treasure chest of gold and jewels, just waiting to be found. It’s the ultimate prize. But, wait, there’s more! The true adventurer accepts all quests offered, and in absence of any, makes one up. A MacGuffin can be anything, and you should always have one at the ready.

Want to see the smallest town in America?

Want to get lost in the House of Eternal Return?

Want to see the world’s largest sticker ball?

Want to count One Thousand Buddhas?

The adventurer says, “Heck yeah!”

There are thousands of offbeat attractions and strange discoveries waiting for you all across America. Many are free. Visit RoadsideAmerica.com and plan ahead.

While your treasure awaits in the Rocky Mountains, somewhere north of Santa Fe, your adventure starts the second you walk out the door.

A couple more tips…

Take the small car. Ain’t no shame in it. I have a tiny black Nissan Versa SV, the cheapest car I could get brand new. It’s got a 1.6 L 4-cylinder engine. I know you’re jealous. On the open road people pass me by, but who’s the bad ass who can squeeze his car between two double-parked monster trucks at Walmart? This guy. A compact car is exactly what you need for adventuring. It forces you to travel light, and what you can’t cram into that 14 cubic feet of trunk space, you don’t need. The goal is to stretch each gallon as far as it’ll take you. Not much comfort, but when you’ve got 3,000 miles to go round trip, $300 in gas is a steal.

Rent the big truck. Once you get to where you’re going, ditch the car and rent a 4WD. Less than $100. There is nothing more fun than a 4WD truck in the Rocky Mountains. In fact, if you don’t have that truck tilted at more than thirty-degrees at some point, preferably sideways, you don’t get to call yourself an adventurer. Think ATV trails. Don’t worry. It’s not your truck. It’s insured. Once you get that truck, you go take that mountain. Find some sketchy road, and drive that thing up to the top! Don’t forget your camera.

Mingle with the natives. Find a local bar. Strike up a conversation with the locals. You’ll be glad you did. Every good adventure story begins at the Tavern. Don’t be shy. You tell those folks exactly what you’re there for. You’ve come red-eyed and weary across a whole continent to pluck Forrest Fenn’s gold right from under their noses. They’ll laugh and say they know exactly where it is too. When you ask why they haven’t gone and gotten it, they’ll mutter some excuse about being too busy. Muggles are funny that way.

Buy some trinkets. Make sure they’re authentic. $100-$200.

And finally…

Be prepared. That’s my motto.

Total cost: $500 on the low end. $1000 at most. Cost sharing will get it even lower, but don’t go so low that you aren’t having a good time. Treat yourself. We’re not savages.

Jeremy-

I Think The Chest is Here…

pink

 

Many searchers have decided the chest is in a general area…maybe even a specific area of the known universe of the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe. So this is the place where we can talk about where we, as individuals, think the chest is at…Don’t give away too much though… 🙂

dal…

Poetry Page XV…

green

The chase certainly has inspired some great poetry…

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

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

Second page is HERE

Third page is HERE

Fourth page is HERE

Fifth Page is HERE

Sixth Page is HERE

Seventh Page is HERE

Eighth Page is HERE

Ninth Page is HERE

Tenth Page is HERE

Eleventh Page is HERE

Twelfth Page is HERE

Thirteenth Page is HERE

Fourteenth Page is HERE

Thanks

dal…

The Treasure Hunt Gets Personal…

february 2018

by dal

The following email exchange was between a searcher named Jeffrey and Forrest:

 

Hi Mr Fenn

February 9th is my wife Kandy’s birthday.

So, by your inspiration, I bought five birthday cards and wrote in each one then put a $20 bill in each card. Then, I hid them in different places in our house.

I did this the first week of January and didn’t tell her they were hidden in the house.

She accidently found the first one. I had written 1 of 5 on the outside of it.  She now hunts several times a day for the other cards.

So far she has found 2 of the five.

She tells her friends about the chase, then they quickly volunteer to help for a percentage of the take. She declines the offer with a smile.

Thanks for the idea.

Sincerely

Jeffrey


Forrest Responds

That is a good story.
f


Hi again Mr Fenn

You have made Kandy and I’s day and made us smile.

I grin every time she is close to one of the remaining cards or when she jumps up to go check another spot.

Guests have volunteered their thoughts on hiding places and ask her if she checked the freezer.

She wanted a hint and asked if she was warm. Since we have a basement I told her they were upstairs. Now I have a pat answer for every question, if you are upstairs you are warm…:)

Jeffrey


 

The Rendezvous …

february 2018

by dal

 

 

Why is it That I Must Go?
Most searchers know about Forrest’s interest in the fur trade era and the mountain men who hoped to cash-in on one of the country’s very first “Get Rich Quick” schemes by spending a winter or two in the Rocky Mountains collecting beaver skins to sell for “big money” in the spring. But it was an extremely difficult, risky and treacherous way to get rich. Few were able to pull it off. Forrest has great respect for the mountain men and their way of life. Some feel he incorporated a thing or two about them into the poem.

Many who read this blog have investigated folks like John Colter, Joseph Meek, Hugh Glass, Kit Carson, William Sublette, Liver Eating Johnson, Joe Walker, Jedediah Smith and others looking for mountain man keys that could help them interpret the poem.

The mountain man’s task was to survive, often by himself, through the winter trapping in the mountains to collect as many beaver pelts as possible. In the spring these rugged explorers would bring their bounty of furs to a rendezvous where company men would pay cash for the pelts and the trappers could resupply with food, ammo and traps…before heading back into beaver country.

The rendezvous was the social occasion of the year for the trappers and also attracted local Indians, merchants and fur buyers who found themselves all celebrating together with  whiskey, music and mountain tales.

Modern day rendezvous celebrations still occur throughout the west. Forrest attended many and brought along friends and relatives to share in his joy of this Americana historic pageant. I think what Forrest enjoyed most about the rendezvous was the trading. Buying and selling is purely business…but trading…the give and take…the charade, the gab, the offer, the rebuttal….this is pure art…social interaction at it’s clearest…and besides, you never know what your going to uncover at a rendezvous.

You can participate in the rendezvous too. There are many to choose from spring and summer…in fact they even occur this time of year…February…

They generally have interesting names for the rendezvous celebrations…my favorite name for one in February is the Frozen Butt Rendezvous held this weekend in Frankfort Kansas…not exactly the middle of the mountains but right next door, out on the frozen prairie.

The weekend after the Frozen Butt is the Rain Dee Voo, February 16-18 in Rochester, WA. Again…not the mountains…Rochester is on Puget Sound…They probably had beaver there at one time.

Closer to the mountains is the Horse Ridge Rendezvous near Bend OR. That event happens February 21-25 at Cowgirl Hideout Ranch.

Followed quickly by the Frozen Toes Rendezvous in Fort Lupton, CO on Feb 21-25. Now were getting closer to the home of the mountain man.

If you haven’t tried winter camping…I recommend you give it a shot at least once…the hardest part is convincing yourself that you’re not going to die when you wake up in the morning and have to climb out of your warm snuggly bedroll. But a hot cup-a-joe never tasted better than when it’s about 20degrees outside.

The best rendezvous of all is the one called Smoking Waters Mountain Man Rendezvous in West Yellowstone. This year it’s August 3-12.

The Two Rivers Rendezvous in Libby, MT is also a good time. This year it’s on July 20-22.

If you’d like to get in touch with your inner mountain man…or trade for hand made goods or get some help with HOB or meek or maybe catch up on some nearly lost arts like blacksmithing, knife making, knapping, dutch oven cooking, tanning, home butchering, wax candle making, ax throwing, musketering or whatever…a rendezvous is the place to be…

You can find a list of many of this years rendezvous celebrations, held all over the west at the Crazy Crow Trading Post site…HERE.

dal-

PS: A properly stretched beaver pelt is actually round or oval…who knew?