Archive for September, 2015

The Carnoustie Effect

Over the weekend, a friend loaned me his copy of the September 2015 Outside magazine thinking that I would be interested in the article, “Cache X Money” by Peter Frick-Wright. I was.

The article is about an ex-cop living in Seattle named Darrell Seyler who made 17 trips from Seattle to Yellowstone and back over 17months because he knew exactly where Forrest Fenn had cached a fortune. He was just going over to pick it up.

For those of you who want to compare, Mr. Seyler drove nearly 20,000 miles mostly at night and often through winter and spring snowstorms. In those 17 months he used most, if not all, of his savings, nearly drowned trying to cross the Lamar River, spent the night freezing wet, and was picked up by search and rescue the next day. Then on a subsequent trip he made it across but didn’t make it back, spent another freezing wet night, and was once more picked up by search and rescue. This time, however, he went to jail for a few days and was fined $6000 to be paid in installments. Then, because he often showed up late for work after a weekend trip, he lost his job, got behind on his payments, and is now next to homeless.

Mr. Frick-Wright, who sometimes accompanied Mr. Seyler, mentions at least three times when Mr. Seyler “lost it” after it turned out that the treasure was not where he was absolutely certain he had seen it either in a photograph or from a short but near impassable distance.

Despite all of this, Mr. Seyler remains a “dreamer” and is still in the hunt for the treasure. “You want to believe that there’s a treasure out there that’s going to solve all your problems,” says a loyal member of his “support system.”

Obviously Mr. Seyler’s experience amounts to a whole lot of “thrill” for a “chase” that has left him with little but a few new acquaintances among the authorities in Yellowstone. But, while an extreme case, he is not the only legend out looking for Mr. Fenn’s treasure.

After nearly five years of writing this blog, I have come to know some of these legends and find them all (well, most) to be honest and unassuming people with interesting stories to tell. In many ways, they have taken on the personality of Mr. Fenn himself except that they tend to be more “dreamer” than “pragmatist.” And, without Mr. Fenn’s pragmatism, dreamers will find zilch.

I, of course, have nothing against dreamers, dreams or dreaming. I personally have tubes of paint and empty canvases stashed away somewhere and every time my lovely wife and I stroll through the art galleries of Santa Fe, I say to myself, “I can do that,”—but I can’t. For me, art was never an objective; it was only a dream.

There are major differences between the two, by which I mean “dreams” and “dreams that come true.” Dreams just look out into a future (or remake the past) of make believe while making that dream come true requires any number of resources. Time, mobility, finances, a legal landscape in your favor and a plan come to mind if what you dream of is Forrest Fenn’s treasure. And if you don’t have the required resources, or worse, if you don’t even know that you need them, you are, for want of a better word, “screwed.”

“A plan?” you say. “Yes,” say I, and it better be a good one. And I don’t mean one that will just lead you to the treasure. I mean one that will keep you out of trouble as well. According to Mr. Fenn, 30,000 searchers have been out looking over the last four plus years, and although nobody has yet found the treasure, a good many have gotten into trouble while out there looking.

Preparation of a good plan is needed because the process of making a good plan castigates you when you’re thinking is muddled, when it is founded on false assumptions and when your stated goals are mutually exclusive. It yanks you, dreamer that you are, back to reality. So, if, for some reason, planning gives you the hives or the hiccups so bad that you shy away from the word “plan,” you are in for even worse suffering from what is known in the trade as the “Carnousti Effect.” Look it up.

Stay safe,

Frick-Wright, Peter. 2015. “Cache X Money.” Outside. September. Pages 76-82,111.

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