Update: 13 January 2021
As I get further into this, I realize that there is the need for some people to get involved that may not have the ability to travel. I am converting some of the unhidden treasures into armchair hunts. They will be listed in their own region on the main page and will feature stories that contain the clues. Good luck and I hope you like it.
The Quest main page: HERE or you can click on it in the menu bar.
Click “Read More” for more details about what this hunt is all about.
This is a quest designed to get people out into the woods and go exploring in the lands set aside for us to do so. It is no secret that I adore the US National Forests and it has always been my goal to set foot in them all. Somehow I also got involved in the Forrest Fenn treasure hunt where a wonderful man hid a treasure worth millions of dollars in the rocky mountains with nothing more than a poem leading to it. If you want to look into that more, please do but just let me warn you; you will lose sleep over it. It just happens and I don’t even know how. I took a few trips out to the Rockies where I wasn’t so much looking for the treasure as I was looking to see if a few of my ideas MIGHT be possible. They weren’t and i was moving far away from the Rockies so I started going a different route. I still put time into the Fenn hunt but I began to think that I could also do something like this but in a different way.
Right off the bat, I don’t have millions to give… so this aint a hunt for people to get rich. I also felt that in the Fenn hunt, I liked the research, thinking, plotting, and hypothesizing on the clues just as much as actually getting out there and physically searching. I also began to think about how I could do my own (easier) hunt to get people solving clues at home but get them out in the woods as well. See, Fenn has a single treasure location and it is EXTREMELY difficult to find because it hasn’t been done yet and it has been out there at least a decade. There are some reasons for this but I think a lot of it has to do with the fact there are no confirming points on your way to his treasure. The only way to know you’re on the right track is to find it. Aint nobody got time for that so I think a lot of people sit at home and never actually go look for it. That defeats the purpose of the hunt so mine will definitely have identifiable, confirming points in my clues so you can check to see if you are on the right path or not.
I started thinking about where and how I could conduct this quest to get people out and it hit me that I am always in these National Forests, what better places are there that are relatively spread out across the country, full of beautiful land to explore, already have detailed maps, and sparsely populated? There are none. I decided that while I was exploring all of the National Forests, I would find a secret place in each to put something for someone to find. That is where this quest really began to take shape.
What are you looking for?
You are looking for a capsule which is made of two white PVC end caps taped together with bright orange tape. Inside you will find a few things but one will be a numbered coin corresponding to the set of clues you solved to reach the capsule location.
Where are these things?
Admittedly I used Wikipedia to get the list of National Forests so there may be some discrepancies. The goal was to hide a capsule in EVERY National Forest but I slightly changed that along the way. For instance, if a NF was jointly managed, there would be a single capsule hidden there. For example, the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are managed together so there would only be one capsule hidden within the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. I’ll make it easy though and post the list I am using.
When will the clues be released?
I will slowly release clues to the capsule locations over time as I hide them. I’m only one person so hiding them all was always going to take a lot of time. COVID-19 has also had a detriment on traveling this summer so that has significantly limited my ventures into the Northwest.
Why am I doing this?
The forest land was set aside for our use. With technology taking over our lives, we forget what it is like to be in nature. There is a technological side of this in the research and planning but these locations will force you to get out and explore. See the small towns, visit the local restaurants, see the remnants of mines, villages, and homesteads across this great country. I hope that the quest to find these brings joy to the young and old alike, build family bonds, foster friendships, and bring everyone closer to nature. You’ll have a much more fulfilling experience running your hand through the forest creek or leaving footprints in the dust of the trail than sinking into your couch running your hand over the TV remote. I know it has changed me for the better for I want to bring that experience to others.
The Ground Rules
- No capsule location is dangerous and all are accessible by car and light hiking. No climbing, diving, repelling, swimming, boating required.
- None of the capsules are buried and all were visible when I left them . Some may be pushed into the ground a bit to hold them in place and some may have been covered by natural events. I cannot control nature, my apologies. The goal is to find them, not be buried for eternity, keep that in mind,
- None are out of my reach while standing/sitting/laying on the ground. I’m 5’ 7” tall. There are a few that may require a little scrambling up or down slight embankments but I could physically touch every one of them while standing in a safe spot. I did not throw any down any holes or up in any trees.
- Forest roads can be rough, go in the right vehicle or hike those roads. If you get to a road that you don’t want to attempt but you think that is the way to the capsule, email me. I will be an active participant. The goal is to research, solve clues, and explore; it isn’t to trick you into going somewhere that puts you in distress.
- Each set of clues starts very broad and leads directly to the location where the corresponding map is needed, most of the time this is where I would have parked and set out on foot. If you followed the correct clues correctly, the hand-drawn map should make a lot of sense. If it doesn’t, you may not be in the right spot. Email me and I might give you a yay or nay.
- Some of the sets of clues are easy, some are hard. Some are very straight forward, some require some imagination, some have a little of everything.
- Maps are required to solve the clues. Google maps and Forest Service maps would be a couple you might find particularly useful. I did.
- Some historic references may be made. Names, locations, events, etc. it is up to you to make those connections and solve the clues.
- Once reaching the end of the clues, you WILL need the hand-drawn map.
- Some of the clue numbers have meanings and some are random. If you have a solve and the clue number seems conspicuous to maybe a nearby road, elevation on a map (ahem…), you might just have something.
- Bring a compass.
- Research orienteering, you might find it beneficial.
- Research air navigation, you might find it also to be beneficial.
- If you do come across an old homestead, church, or hunting camp, I do encourage you to take a second and think about what life was like for the people who lived and possibly grew up there. Let your mind wander into the past and leave the modern, technology filled world.
- This is meant to be fun. Don’t do something that puts you or a fellow searcher at risk. Trust me, the coin isn’t worth it. lol.
Lastly, PLEASE let me know if you have found one. I’d love to get some information from you about how you fond it and maybe a picture. I plan on creating a map on the site that people can see which coins have been found and maybe some extra info I have about hiding it and maybe a personal experience you have of finding it.
You can use the contact link on the site or email me directly at email@example.com