A Master of Education

The Ties That Bind --- Iowa City

The Ties That Bind —
Iowa City

Cover of "Journal of a Trapper: A Hunter'...

Cover via Amazon

It’s ironic, isn’t it, that Forrest Fenn has probably taught more children, and adults, than his father, whose life’s work was education?

In spite of any disadvantages to being the son of the school principal, a key bonus was the three month summer recess that the Fenns spent in Yellowstone.

The annual 1,600 mile journey included a 50-mile side trip to a one-room school house on a dirt road in Wyoming to see an inscription:

He Who Teaches a Child Labors with God in His Workshop.

 

Forrest began his self-education as a youth.  After reading  Journal of a Trapper by Osborne Russell at age 16,  he set out on horseback to retrace/reenact part of the experience.    (See “Looking for Lewis and Clark”,  p. 59 of The Thrill of the Chase {TTOTC}.)

Yellowstone Lake

Yellowstone Lake

He began his teaching career even younger, guiding grown fishermen around the rivers and lakes in Yellowstone country when he was “a young teen.”

College vs experience —

 “Who would you rather have working on your car, a man who just graduated from four years of mechanics school or a guy who has been working on broken cars for four years?”

Marvin Fenn, p.7 of The Thrill of the Chase.

Does Forrest still, at almost 84 years of age, regret not having a college degree?

“I still think about education sometimes, especially now that it’s too late to get any.”  p. 9 of TTOTC

(Not entirely true.  Every June, another septa-, or octa-, or nonagenarian is in the news in cap and gown receiving their long-desired diploma.  But I suspect Forrest would {still} be utterly bored sitting in a classroom where he’s smarter than anyone else in there, including the instructor.  If you doubt his scholarship, check out his expert knowledge on pottery, pueblos, geology, history . . . .you get the idea.)

After his time as a fighter pilot —

Instead of all of those medals, I wish I could have been given a college degree in survival or at least an honorable mention for just having lasted it out.”  

“My War For Me”  begins on p. 73 in TTOTC

            —  he served by teaching others to fly.  When he left the Air Force and began an art gallery in Santa Fe, his  knowledge sharing continued.

Bronze Moose

Bronze Moose Why is it cold?

 Read about school visits in  the chapter “Teachers with Ropes”, p. 109 of TTOTC, and smile.

Imagine signs that say “Please Touch.”

 

After the Gallery was sold, and he began serious investigation of his San Lazaro pueblo, he continued to share, to teach, giving underprivileged (I’ve forgotten his term) teens archaeological experiences at the site.

A Fechin

A Fechin

On Dal’s blog, Thrill of the Chase,  if you click on  Forrest Speaks, you can watch a video, How to Be an Artist, his recipe for success for a watercolorist in need of money.  Sound knowledge, freely shared.

Another fun video there is Woolly Worm, where he patiently teaches how to tie a fishing fly.  (He makes it look easy.)

I doubt that we’ll ever know the full extent of his generosity of time and talents.  You know, don’t let your right hand know what your left is doing.

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But, Forrest Fenn has gotten more kids and grownups off the couch and out in the woods, searching and researching any and every little bit that could, just maybe, somehow, with imagination, might possibly help solve one of his nine clues.

Cody Rainbow

Cody Rainbow

And not just for the gold in the chest at the end of his rainbow….

 

 

Worth the Cold?

Glad to hear of the successful rescue of a searcher who got stuck in the snow out west!  (See Dal’s site, Thrill of the Chase, for details.)

But hey, people.   Could we not be doing things that might keep Forrest up at night!  And his nephew Chip.  And the other heroes.  Just saying.

I’m only hunting morels and asparagas until the snow is melted in Yellowstone.   (Can’t eat ’em, but, you know, it’s the thrill of the chase.)

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A Message from Rennelle

Warrior2

Our good wishes to Rennelle continue.

THIS IS A THANK YOU NOTE TO EVERYONE FROM RENELLE-

Please accept my apologies for the tardiness of this response to the overwhelming gift of the raffle proceeds.  I was away for awhile, and although I tried mightily to finish all of the thank-you cards and messages before I left, I didn’t quite succeed.  My lack of a timely reply, however, in no way reflects the amount of my gratitude.

 

A cancer patient has a lot of different weights on his or her shoulders.  In my case, there is the constant out-of-state travel to medical appointments, the daily battle to continue some sort of normality through the fog and sickness caused by years of chemotherapy, and, of course, the reality of the never-ceasing medical bills.

In a single, combined effort from all of you, one of my weights was lifted.  To each and every person who participated in the raffle, please accept my heartfelt thanks for your contributions.

Many of you promoted the raffle on your respective blogs, and I want to thank you all for your work on my behalf.  It would be logical to assume that so many searchers looking for a single prize would be ultra-competitive with each other!  That may be, but you are also community-minded and came together to pull off an event that was successful beyond anyone’s imagination.  You all have my respect, my admiration, and most of all, my thanks.

I’d also like to thank the Collected Works Bookstore and Dorothy Massey, who offered a lovely setting in which to host the raffle event.  Suzanne Somers offered her support in the days leading up to the event, and I was humbled and grateful to receive her beautiful message.  The lovely and gracious Ali McGraw was kind enough to participate in the drawing, and I was so very appreciative of her willingness to lend us her time.  Thanks also to Toby Younis, who used his professional abilities to record the raffle event and stream it live. I watched it from my chemo chair and couldn’t contain my smiles.

 

Every day for several weeks, Dal Neitzel donated so much time to the raffle process that I doubt he ever slept!  Dal, I am so appreciate of all your hard work and selfless efforts.

 

The incomparable Forrest Fenn turned his raffle idea into reality, as he has done with countless other ideas throughout his lifetime.  This time, however, it was for my benefit, and for that, I give him my endless gratitude.  Thank you, Forrest.  You remain my hero.
 
Thank you all so very much, and I hope to see you on the trail!

Renelle

______________________________________________________

Click here for her story in Forrest Fenn’s words.

Read more about the raffle here.IMG_0231

English: Actor, entrepreneur Suzanne Somers

English: Actor, entrepreneur Suzanne Somers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wondering what Forrest did last weekend?  Check  out  Forrest Fenn’s Scrapbook Fifty-Six over on Dal’s blog.

Who is Forrest Fenn?  Here’s an interview with Fenn, the Pilot.  Thank you Dal.

It brings to mind an earlier video I shared…..terrifying but really funny for those of us who have a slight fear of flying.

That’s what friends are for….. right?

Toby’s First Podcast—Renelle

From A Gypsy’s Kiss—

Toby’s First Podcast—Renelle

I just listened to this great interview with Rennelle.  Beautiful in all respects.

Renelle

(Forrest and Dal’s Do Good Raffle is tomorrow—last day to buy a ticket!)

raffle

 

Prize donated by Forrest Fenn:

jar

One of his hand-crafted bronze jars filled with treasures that he will describe to the winner in a one-on-one visit, including ….

jarjunk

Rennelle

Here is the story behind the January 7th Raffle for a fellow Fenner.   Posted on Forrest Fenn’s Old Santa Fe Trading Company.  See Dal’s blog, Thrill of the Chase for updates:

Salute to a Warrior….

BY FORREST FENN

When Renelle Jacobson stepped out of her car in my driveway, and walked toward me, I was charmed at first sight. Her smile telegraphed a timeless message: “Look out world, because here I come.” She had read about my hidden treasure in Hemispheres, the in-flight magazine for United Airlines, and, she said, “I ripped out the pages, stuffed them in my bag, and told the passenger sitting next to me, ‘Oh, I am SO going to find this when I get home.”

With a treasure-hunting partner, she soon hit the road for Yellowstone. “I was bouncing off the walls with an overload of excitement. This adventure is for every little girl and boy who have desperately wanted to look for a hidden treasure. I know I’m silly, but some of us are lucky enough to never completely grow up.” She returned from that first road trip empty-handed but, “We had a blast. I’ve since gone back 3 or 4 times.”

Warrior1
However, there is one small problem; Renelle, 41 and single, has a rare bone cancer called osteosarcoma. A few years of chemo and several surgeries didn’t kill the disease, so, in 2011, her left leg was amputated above the knee. She has a prosthetic leg but the ongoing cancer changes her limb shape. “Sometimes I can walk quite well and sometimes I can’t.”

Warrior2

A friend loaded her in his Bell helicopter and they searched the far reaches of Yellowstone Park.

Warrior3

“We discovered some top secret waterfalls (at least that’s how I romanticized them in my mind). They were out in the middle of nowhere.”

“We also flew over Hebgen Lake and had lunch in West Yellowstone. What a grand day for a cancer patient who is trapped inside most of the time.”

Warrior4

Renelle, whose constitution is made of sinew-tough fiber, is now in her 5th year of chemotherapy. With an expression that reflected her longing, she said to me, “I’m sick 3 to 4 days a week, have low energy the rest of the time and my sleep schedule is often turned upside down. Working on this treasure hunt has given me a way to occupy my time when I’m awake after midnight. When I work on your puzzle for an hour, I can say that I worked toward a goal.” She added, with a voice as soft as her eyes, “I’ll keep working on the poem every night until the moment when I can call my hunting buddies and say, ‘let’s hit the road.” Imagination is her pleasure and faith is her nourishment.

Renelle Jacobson inspires me in a singular way; her spirit holds me in thrall. Each day she tests the extremes in ways I can’t even imagine. To know her even a little bit, as I do, is to love her a lot.

To paraphrase Charlotte Bronte:

Her human heart has hidden treasures,
In secret kept, in silence sealed;
The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures,
Whose charms enrapture when revealed

Holy Pompeii Pillars, Batman!

Batman with his sidekick Robin. Painting by Al...

So what does it mean if the night after I drove through Yellowstone National Park I had a nightmare and woke up in a one-horse town frantically searching for the dust mask I had packed (somewhere) because the volcano had blown and the ash-laden air was getting thicker and thicker?!?

Can you say “Terremoto“?

{I’m still searching for Forrest Fenn’s hidden treasure chest BTW.}

Signature of William Clark, on 1806-07-25 at t...

Signature of William Clark, on 1806-07-25 at todays Pompeys Pillar National Monument, Montana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Where It’s Not — Part Three

IMG_0172In the morning, I drove through the tunnel, past Mummy Cave, and the BB Dam again.  About the time I stopped to pay my entrance fee to Yellowstone Park, I was struck by a blaze —  the blinding kind you get before a migraine, if you’re subject to auras.IMG_0231

At home my remedy would have been to boil water, brew green tea with half a capsule of feverfew, and hit a dark room with an eye mask.  On a 2-lane winding highway, I popped a cola for caffeine and downed Excedrin, and took a time out at a pull-out.  IMG_0258Then I spent more time at the ranger station/stuffed animal museum.  In the shade.

IMG_0240The ranger called the lone bison I’d seen a “fed-up bull” —  fed up of fighting the young bulls in the herd, and at an age where he prefers to go it alone.

IMG_0242There were 5 fires burning in Yellowstone Park at the time,  a few pull-outs were closed, but no roads closed that day.   I remembered the summer of 1988 and the massive fires in Yellowstone.  We could smell the smoke all the way over in Minnesota.

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Fishing Bridge

So far, going solo hadn’t been a problem (except for getting creeped out by a guy in a van who asked me where I was from.  He had just been staring at my license plate, so I thought it was not a real question.  This happened back at the Oregon Trail ruts and Register Cliff where we seemed to be the only tourists out in the 105 degree weather.  Not a good sign.  Maybe it was nothing, but  I didn’t like being followed.)

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake

Another reason I’m going to bring Mr. W next time came about at Isa Lake.

Lily Pads at the Continental Divide?  Is there a frog?

Lily Pads at the Continental Divide? Is there a frog?

I really wanted to wade into the lily pads to see what was at the end of an under-water marker, but a couple (searchers??)  from Salt Lake City was kinda killin’ time, like they were waiting for me to leave.

I won, but then realized, typical female, I didn’t have the right shoes.  IMG_0277

Also, I saw strange underwater bugs, a possible fluke-wiry worm, and a very fast little pond-hugging, mole-nosed rodent running towards me.  The picture that was supposed to of him is a blur of me jumping out of his way.

Yikes!

Yikes!

I don’t think I screamed.

From there, not far but too far to walk, I arrived at Old Faithful at the perfect time.  People were streaming towards it so I parked and joined them.  Another geyser was putting on a show at the same time.  Serendipity strikes again.

And then, something else.  Remember I left home without a GPS?  The only place I might have needed it this trip was in the parking lot at Old Faithful Lodge and Visitor Center.  It’s changed in the last 15 years apparently.  IMG_0292  The other thing about migraines is the mental shadow they leave you with.  It took me an extra 15 minutes (or so) to find my car, and then I scared a poor family picnicking next to it when the alarm went off.

IMG_0294I passed another lone bison as I continued west.  My heart goes out to the old and lonely.

On to the much discussed Firehole River and Canyon.  Is it “Where Warm Waters Halt”?  I couldn’t say.

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And then, of course, the much touted Madison River, which had lots of giant boulders lying around.IMG_0327

I tarried as much as I wanted that day.  I had a reservation for that night in West Yellowstone, so no need to hurry.  Just tried to absorb the beauty and if a potential solution to one of the TTOTC  9 clues presented itself, all the better.  IMG_0321

No treasure yet, but so far, so good.  Any day that doesn’t involve a trip to the hospital is a big plus.

Terremoto

English: USGS map of Yellowstone Caldera showi...

English: USGS map of Yellowstone Caldera showing earthquake locations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first earthquake I experienced was the Yellowstone event in August of 1959.  Maybe I was 5.  All I remember really is seeing my mother upset in the middle of the night.  We had passed through Yellowstone that day and were in a motel room just west of there.  She thought a semi had rumbled off the road just outside but couldn’t see anything.

Morning Glory poolWe returned to Yellowstone when I was ten, camping in our brand new Nimrod tent trailer.  I do remember that trip, especially the bears banging the trash cans outside in the dark.  We climbed our first mountain, Mt. Washburn.  Gazed in marvel at

Morning Glory pool. I took some shaky black and white photos with a small square camera.

The Mountain That Fell

The Mountain That Fell

The devastation from the earthquake was apparent.  A highway disappeared into a lake.  A house/cabin sat half-submerged.  Giant boulders rested across the valley from the mountains where they rolled down from.  Huge.

Rolled down the mountain, across the valley and up the other side

Rolled down the mountain, across the valley and up the other side

In time, I made sure our kids saw the park, too.  Our youngest was ten. I just looked at the photos;  there’s a camera around her neck.    I used to hear them whine about being the only kids who’d never been to Disney World.  I pointed out that they had climbed a mountain, camped on an ocean beach, and seen every waterfall and cave that we’d ever been close to.  They got it.  I still don’t think they’ve been to Disney World.

My second earthquake (4 of the 6 have been in Illinois) was in the 70’s when I awoke in the night with my bed bouncing up and down.  No.  I didn’t do drugs.  {And now, #7.  Italy again.  Poolside.}

The third was in the 90’s.  I was sitting in the car during Intrepid’s dance lesson when the car started a slow up and down, very subtle bounce.  Sustained.  I looked at the railroad tracks:  empty.  Hmmm.  I listened to the news that evening.  A deep quake had occurred in South America but had been felt in skyscrapers as far away as Toronto.  I was excited so I called the US Geologic guys out in Colorado to report it.  I’m not sure if they made a note of it, but I thought they’d want to know.

The fourth was ten years ago north of Bologna, and the bed was flying sideways in the dark.  Giant headlines in the paper: TERREMOTO.  (I learned a couple other words that trip, including “andiamo”–what John Wayne yelled every time he jumped on his horse to go chase the bad guys–and “basta”–what the waiter kept asking.  I thought he was saying “more pasta?”    “No, no.  I’m stuffed.  No more.”   He just wanted to clear my plate.

The most recent two were in central Illinois.  Again, a bed shook, but first the windows rattled.  Then, later that morning, the aftershock.  I was in the upstairs of a barn.  It swayed.

New Madrid fault and earthquake-prone region c...

Interesting that the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12 rang a bell in Philadelphia.  An eye witness said the land rolled so much that trees rocked horizontally.  The Mississippi was re-routed.  They say the fault is due to slip again.  Maybe overdue.  The VA  down that way took the top six stories off its Hospital and reinforced the lower twelve stories.  Just in case.

There is chatter about how the Yellowstone caldera is heating up/acting up/lifting up.  Last time she blew, there was ashfall all the way through Nebraska.  If my search for Forrest Fenn’s TheThrill of the Chase treasure takes me out that way, maybe I’ll tarry scant  if the earth moves.

English: "At Yellowstone and some other v...

English: “At Yellowstone and some other volcanoes, some scientists theorize that the earth’s crust fractures and cracks in a concentric or ring-fracture pattern. At some point these cracks reach the magma “reservoir,” release the pressure, and the volcano explodes. The huge amount of material released causes the volcano to collapse into a huge crater—a caldera.” From nps.gov (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like Jimmy Buffet sang, “I don’t know where I’ma gonna go when the volcano blows.”