Kirwin Search Report…

SUBMITTED OCTOBER 2014
BY TOMWHAT

 

Oh this spot was so good, so juicy I couldn’t resist. So many coincidences, it couldn’t be coincidence.. could it?

Let me back up a few weeks to let you see it through my eyes. My birthday is coming up, all the pieces have fallen into place, even a few I could never have guessed. A birthday present for me; a road trip to go pick up the Chest!

A couple problems of course, nothing can be perfect. I’m out of vacation time. The kids start school the day after I plan to leave. I’m going anyways.

I set out. East. Out of Washington. Across Idaho, the narrow part at the top. Night falls. Montana. I sleep at a rest stop. I’ve brought an air mattress to sleep on in the back of my rig, but the inflator I’m sure I checked before I left does not have the poop to inflate it. I sleep in my passenger seat. The rest stop has a faulty streetlight that winks on, I awaken, drift back to sleep, the light winks off, I awaken, drift back to sleep. Rinse repeat.

Sun shines. It’s my birthday. I drive. I hit the next town, stop for fuel, cigarettes. I don’t often smoke, but I do when I’m making a thousand mile cannonball run to pick up a million bucks worth of gold. A town or two later I stop for a fancy breakfast. Happy birthday to me. I think nothing more of it.

Wyoming. Cody. I stop at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. A fantastic, top rate museum and art gallery. Because of silly delays, I arrive just an hour before closing. I don’t pay the admission, I just check out the free parts. I see Joseph Henry Sharp’s Absarokee Hut that Forrest purchased, moved, and donated to the museum. It is no small feature, it sits in it own private garden. I spend too much time, but not nearly enough time, in the Firearms Museum. I miss entire rooms as I rush through. A gun nut such as myself could spend several full days here. They have a complete, and I mean complete, history of firearms. 7,000 firearms and 30,000 firearms-related artifacts; amazing.

Enough with the background, I need to get on with the search. Leave Cody, I spend the night in Meeteetse. Dedicated searchers will note that Meeteetse is the location of Forrest’s first blog post, where he encountered the finders of the Spanish saddle and picked up the tacks from the back of the pickup.

When I was on an anagram kick early on the Chase, working on the Marvel Gaze line that I have always thought was a mash up, I tinkered with some other lines to see what happened. I found that “From there it’s no place for the meek” anagrams to “Meeteetse Pitchfork realm of horn” a year before it was discussed on the boards. (The Pitchfork ranch is where that saddle had been found.) The earliest public reference I can find is in June of 2014 on Dal’s board. I can offer no proof other than my word that I had worked out this anagram in May of 2013 and kept quiet. This public revelation is one of the things that re-excited my passions and got me back out there this year before someone else figured the whole thing out.

Oasis Motel & Rv Park in Meeteetse. My second time in as many years staying there. Last year I had the wife and three kids in tow so we rented one of their cozy little cabins. This time I opted for a ground floor room in their motel section. If you decide to search this area, I recommend The Oasis, and the town of Meeteetse as a way station. You can get snacks, beer, gas, and a cheap night’s stay indoors.

I can’t sleep. Too excited. I finally drift off and awaken well after dawn. So much for an early start. I gas up, as the next leg of the journey does not lend well to running out of gas.

Kirwin. There it is. I said it. I spilt the beans. I’m still certain this ghost town is central to finding the Chest. Go research it, look it up on the map. What did you find? It was a mining town just after the turn of the century with a unique feature in the Wild West; it had no saloons and no red light district. Pure, simple, honest. No monkey business in this town, just hard work and a dream. Remind you of anyone?

If you looked at a wide view of the map of the area, you will have noticed some features that peaked your interest. You have to use route 212 to get from Cody to Meeteetse, 212 degrees Fahrenheit is the boiling point of water; Where Warm Waters Halt. Chief Mountain is to the north; If you are brave, like an Indian Brave or Chief. Brown Mountain to the northwest; Home of Brown, but this is a false clue! Bald Mountain to the southeast, Forrest writes of going bald. Yellow Mountain to the west-northwest; the color of tea in Tea with Olga. Dollar Mountain to the west-southwest; Doller on the bells he’s planted. Franc’s peak to the north-northwest; it’s spelled that way for a reason I could not discern in my reaserch, the typical spelling for the name is Frank, but Franc refers to the French Franc. Forrest wrote an article where he claimed to have bought an artifact in France that was labeled in Dollars, but it surely would have been priced in Francs by a French shopkeeper in France.

Have I whetted your appetite yet? You’ve looked at the map then, so you now know Kirwin sits on.. wait for it.. the Wood River. Oh this is it. We are Brave and In the Wood baby!

Answering a question on mysteriouswritings.com, Forrest wrote “There are many places in the Rocky Mountains where warm waters halt, and nearly all of them are north of Santa Fe.” The Continental Divide runs through the Rockies, and most of the rivers that start from raindrops falling on these mountains are north of Sante Fe. The warm waters of the Gulf halt on the east side of the Continental Divide. This is how I justify “Begin it where warm waters halt”. In no way can Forrest be precise about where the Poem starts, that would make the solve too obvious.

“Take it in the canyon down” means this is not a meandering river through a meadow, it crescends through a rugged rock lined canyon.

“Not far but too far to walk” is an interesting turn of phrase. One way to see it is that you drive past this bit. Another is “meh, it’s too far to walk all the way, I’ll just drive and start when it’s convenient.” Kirwin is a known place for parking your horse trailer and riding off into the wilderness. Hunting Bighorn sheep at this time of year is the thing to do, from talking to everyone else that I ran into on horseback up there. (I spoke with a hunter that said up till 4 years ago the mountains beyond Kirwin were crawling with bighorn; “realm of horn” from the above anagram.)

“Put in below the home of Brown”. Welp, once I stumbled onto this, it was the first time I wet my pants a little because of how well it fit. If you have done your digging, you will have found that in the early 1930’s, Carl Dunrud purchased the Kirwin area and the lands around it. He built a Dude Ranch down the hill, and Amelia Earhart visited and fell in love with the area. She asked Dunrud to build a cabin for her, where she planned to come after her flight around the world. In 1937, when she disappeared on her flight around the world, the cabin was four logs high and construction stopped. The cabin was never finished. You can still see the logs deteriorating if you visit.

WTF does this have to do with anything I hear you ask. You haven’t researched enough! Forrest spent a quarter of his life being a pilot and dreaming of pioneers. Amelia Earhart was a pioneering pilot. Of course he would know of her, read her biographies. The tie in? One of her yearbook captions read “A.E. – the girl in brown who walks alone.” That takes care of the opening line “As I have gone alone in there” as well as the much discussed “home of Brown”. She changed high schools six times, and her senior photo was captioned “Meek loveliness is ’round thee spread.” No Place For The Meek indeed.

Amelia is quoted as saying, after her first Transatlantic flight as a passenger, “maybe someday I’ll try it alone” which she did in 1934. Amelia was married to George Putnam on February 7, 1931. She wore a simply cut brown suit with brown shoes. In 1932, she published a book of her exploits thus far, entitled “The Fun of It”. In this book, there is mention of the 1929 Women’s Air Derby in which Amelia competed, but was marred by the tragic loss of a fellow female pilot named Marvel Cronon. (But tarry scant with marvel gaze). In 2009, Susan Wels published a book about Amelia “The Thrill of It“. I believe “it” is the word that Forrest mentions that is key. ‘IT’ is The Chase. The Chase for Fun, the Chase for the Thrill.

The same night I told my long suffering wife that I was going to search again for treasure, not asking her permission so much as telling her my destiny, I later checked the website  wherewarmwatershalt.com that got some minor attention a while back. The audio had changed. What I heard chilled my bones, and for the second time I wet myself a little.

In case the audio is gone by the time you read this, the wherewarmwatershalt.com audio is crudely transcribed as follows:

Some simple, single note pop tune in low definition audio (which I later found to be the opening notes of The Lincolnshire Poacher, used in a shortwave numbers station run by the British), then a woman’s voice states the numbers “39715” four times. Then “186” three times. Then the digits “1234567890”. Some beeping. Static on the line, all of this in a woman’s voice mind you, but now a little more urgently “We do not hear you. Please answer. We are running North and South online 6310”. Some fading in and out with the digits “125”. Then a fade to the intro of a radio show “Mr District Attorney” with the sponsors of the Bristol Myers laxative Sal Hepatica billed as “The Smile of Health” and some hair tonic named “Vitalis” which is still sold on eBay. The show title is “The Money Machine”, the final episode of the radio program airing 3 years after the previous weekly show ended, this last broadcast on April 11, 1951.

The hair raises on the back of my neck as I realize the import of what I just heard. What else can it be? One of three things is possible at this time. First, someone has found the Chest, using the same logic and research I have. Second, someone has followed the same line of reasoning and research as I had, searched completely, not found it and is just playing with us. Third, Forrest himself is behind this as a clue. He had some hapless woman read the lines he wrote, plenty of nonsense in there, recorded them, jumbled it all up, and posted them for us to find. You don’t think that he has a friend or two that can set up a website, record and mix audio for him?

Anyways, you got all this, right? I have no idea what the rest of the audio means. The numbers, the quote from Mr. District Attorney. But that middle quote, Oh My. You have broken away to read up on Amelia Earhart, have you not? Then you know the last words heard from her were “We are on the line 157 337. We will repeat this message. We will repeat this on 6210 kilocycles. Wait.” And “We are running on line north and south.” Scroll back up and look how close this is to the audio from the website, but just different enough that it would not be picked up in a Google search. Good thing I use Bing.

What of this direction that Amelia mentioned? There’s a lengthy discussion around her disappearance of it having to do with sunrise and whatnot that you can look into if you like. But what does it mean to me? A strange map that Forrest includes in his latest book, Too Far to Walk. It includes magnetic declinations. Why? Let’s look at the compass. 337 degrees is north-northwest. I can not find what peaked my interest in the movie “North by Northwest” but I have it in my notes somehow from my research before my hunt last year. It came from somewhere, but let’s just focus on the Amelia connection for now.

You still have Google Earth up on another page zoomed in to the Earhart cabin. It’s right there at 43.866008, -109.315741 so it’s no secret. Zoom out. Satellite view. Zoom out so the little legend in the lower right corner of the map shows the scale of 500 feet. Forrest said some searchers passed within 500 feet of the treasure but went right on by. Look north-northwest about 500 feet. That will be about 2 inches on your screen, about 11 o’clock from the Earhart cabin. You see the gigantic “F” in the cliffs, something that a pilot might see as they buzz through the canyon? Yeah. I see it too.

As an aside, to showcase the depths of my research on this topic, I found that on September 3 in 1929 (my birthday as it were; the date not the year) there was the first fatal commercial passenger aircraft crash near Grants, New Mexico. It was in a remote location, and a subsequent search of the area in 2009 found smaller pieces of wreckage as well as some passenger affects, among them a bottle of Vitalis. (Remember the sponsors of the Mr. District Attorney radio show from above?) The company that helped organize and provide the food service for this flight was Fred Harvey, on his way to becoming the hotel magnate. Keen readers will note that Forrest won his precious bracelet in a pool game, the bracelet placed in the Chest, from Fred’s grandson, Byron Harvey.

This was good enough for me. I loaded up my Dodgy Durango (no typo, I’m never sure if my vehicle will reach the destination and return me safely home. It did however convey me safely with no trouble in either direction). I told my wife I was going, and went.

I searched high and low. Below the Home of Brown, above it. Along side it, near it, far from it. I hiked on the trail, off the trail. I slopped through the river, I hiked on the far side. I went up every spring, every feeder rivulet. I tucked my hand in every little cavern, I shone my flashlight under every rock. I climbed every cliff, I trekked up every wash, both dry and running, as far as I could go. I found a few interesting spots where it could have been, perhaps it once was there. But it was not when I looked. I never found the blaze.

I don’t know what to make of this all. I risked the ire of my wife, a deep 5 figure job, thousands of dollars to check this spot again this year. I had been there last year, on the tail end of our Yellowstone trip with the whole family but I did not have the time to look everywhere. I had a year to research and figure exactly where I wanted to look this time. No wife to nag, no kids to distract. I checked every place up there I could possibly imagine. It may still be there, it may have been found. But I am confident that I could not find it. I’m content. If you go there, and find it, God Bless. It’s worth a trip even if you don’t.

 

Picture and Captions

a_Camp

1. This is a view from camp. You see the bear box in the foreground that I used to store my food and cook on the top. Use the bear boxes! I talked to a horseback rider who was there hunting bighorn sheep and he told me that he had seen 11 grizzleys up in the wilderness beyond over the last week, and that one had wandered through camp a couple days before. In late summer and early fall they start eating ravishly to bulk up for hibernation. Carry bear spray and be bear aware.

 

b_FarDowstreamOfKirwinLookingUpstream2. This is the last cabin upstream of the ghost town of Kiwin. I hiked up here because I got rained / snowed / hailed out on my second day. There are a few closed mine shafts along the way, not much to look at. The pics of snow on the ground, in early September, were lost. This is me just stomping around, not part of the Chase. I was wary of hiking too far from camp in the inclement weather.

 

c_FirstViewOfCabinFromTrail

3. On your way past the gate at Camp. As you crest a small hill, you will get your first glimpse of the Earhart Cabin. It’s not the cabin in the pic. The actual cabin was only built four logs high before the effort was abandoned. The cabin you see is a Forest Service cabin. The Earhart cabin is just on the other side of this. It’s really not much to look at. You can find the pics online.

 

d_BlazesFromTheGround

4. Look to the right along this part of the trail. It’s not as apparent from the ground as it would be from the sky. Like from an airplane.

 

e_StreamCrossingTrail

5. This is a small water crossing of a feeder creek to Wood River. Easy to step across without getting your feet wet.

 

f_FromTheBlazeTowardCabin

6. Hike up the small creek and look back toward the Earhart Cabin and this is the view. I searched the nooks and crannies and did not find the Chest.

 

g_CabinAndCharredWood

7. Approach the Cabin. What’s this? The remains of a huge bonfire. I don’t know what to make of this. After some reflection I will guess it is the remains of the Forest Service burning off some leftover clearing woods and brush. It’s just out in the middle of grass. The buck and rail fence around the Earhart Cabin is to the right.

 

h_BrownSquare

8. Just up from the cabin is a curious unlabled brown square on one of the topo maps. I hiked up and around it looking for a mine or some other sign of development. I found little but for a slightly more rocky small patch of less vegetation.

 

i_GrottoOnFirstWash

9. On the way to the Earhart cabin, up one of the washes, I found a small grotto with a curious underhang. I poked around but found nothing in this little cave.

 

j_UpYourCreek

10. Continuing up the first wash, there is a small water fall about 6 feet high. Nothing around here either. I continued up as far as I could without risking my safety, but discovered that the going gets pretty tough pretty quick. Lost of loose skree made getting to the top of these canyons impossible.

 

k_UpYourSecondCreek

11. This is looking up the second dry creek along the way to the Cabin. Again, I went up as far as practicable and found nary a decent hidey hole.

 

l_DownTheMostPromisingWashTowardStructure

12. Upstream of the Earhart Cabin, I chased up dry wash. Another wash meets the Wood River at the same spot on the other side. This is just a bit up this most promising wash, looking down, across the river, to the creek on the other side. As these are all stills from a video camera with no viewfinder, I was unaware of how wide of an angle the camera captured. Just right of dead center, if you can see it, there is some sort of communications tower. It looks seldom used, but in decent repair. You can imagine how my passions were excited when I considered that this might be some sort of relay station for a transponder unit in the Chest, which would alert Forrest if discovered.

 

m_UpTheMostPromisingWash

13. Heading up this most promising wash. Difficult, But Not Impossible; as Forrest once said.

 

n_TheMostPromisingWaterfall

14. The end of the road. I can go no farther up this wash. This is looking straight up, about 100 feet to the top. You can imagine how the water must cascade down this waterfall during a storm. It’s completely dry now.

 

o_TheMostPromisingWashViewDownFromBaseOfWaterfall

15. Turning and looking down from the most promising fall. There are nooks and crannies galore here, but not too many to search. So treasure! Much gold! But none to be found. Six grapefruit sized rocks plummeted from the top and bounced down the side into the grotto at the base of this waterfall during the time I was here searching. I considered that perhaps Forrest meant it was to be the searcher’s bones to be resting with the treasure after being conked on the head from all the loose rocks. I checked all the cracks and crawled up as far as I could fit. I wished I had a hardhat.

TomWhat-

106 thoughts on “Kirwin Search Report…

    • My memory card went pear shaped while I was downloading and I lost half my pictures. So there are quite a few handsome hidey holes that I don’t have pictures of.

      And no, I never found THE blaze, but I did find lots of false blazes.

      • In 1903, Otto Franc the owner of the Pitchfork was found dead of a gunshot wound.. ….After serving a two-year term in the Territorial Penitentiary, Butch Cassidy returned to Meeteetse where, in 1894, Robert Leroy Parker, a/k/a “Butch Cassidy” was arrested in front of the saloon depicted above on another warrant sworn out by Franc. Franc is alleged to have assisted in the financing of the Johnson County War.

  1. Wow…sounds so familiar, the gitty up and go thing…
    wish I could goooooo…
    I love the contentment you feel when you feel like you’ve GOT IT, and it HAS to be true…
    Then…you get there, and, oh…
    🙂
    I loved the story. Thanks for sharing!

  2. You may distract your kids but don’t nag your wife.
    She has put up with your obsession, after all.

    Great search, clues make sense.

  3. Yes everything does fit all to well , i have been there twice and have stayed a whole week each time and i could add some interesting facts to your solve but having searched every nook and cranny my results were just the same, i can see why you posted such a great solve it had crossed my mind as well

    • I hemmed and hawed then decided to make it public. I took a year and a half to research, and searched onsite until I had exhausted every possibility. In the end I figured while I couldn’t find it up there, someone might. And if it was found, I could at least claim credit for getting the area right. 🙂

      If you want to share something privately, my email is fennerista at gmail dot com.

  4. Thanks for sharing your great adventure. Enjoyed the read and pictures.
    Just one question comes to mind. Don’t you think it would be too strenuous for an 80yr old with 42lbs of gold in those mountains. I’m not even 80 but just looking at where you’ve been just tire,s me out.

    • Ol’ Forrest might be 80, but he’s a mountain goat. Lots of experience climbing around in the rocks looking for artifacts. Nowhere that I went was anywhere unsafe or particularly difficult, regardless of what the pictures show. I had to use my hands in some spots, but no climbing equipment. And I figure he had been to his spot several times before so he’d already know the easiest route to get there. It wouldn’t be a problem for him, even if he was carrying a 21 lb pack of gold.

      • One thought, do you think it would be possible to make 2 trips from a parking spot that fits the clues, back and forwards to a hidey spot?

  5. So funny a story. That was my first find/area when i started on this chase. I read so much of what you have that it is amazing we are so much alike in our search. The blaze for me was found and i need to still go check it(if just for work ethic sake of my solve. though I doubt it to be there). Funny thing is that place is special to me just because of all the research in and around that area. I am so glad to see your pics. I have since moved on from how I look at the “poem”. But Kirwin was my first solve.

  6. It is truly amazing how we all interpret the clues differently…..and they all seem to make sense! Great search story and pictures and glad you didn’t encounter any hungry grizzlies. 🙂

  7. Tom,

    That was really a good adventure story. Too bad you didn’t find it there. 🙁
    Like others, I too researched that area, but couldn’t get up the confidence level with it, so I moved on. I wish you luck in you future searches, just don’t give up. BTW, do you live in Eastern Washington?

  8. Tom, good research. This area has been one of my favored solves although I have been unable to pin point a spot. Thank you for sharing your story and photos. Your wife will calm down when you present her with the something special Mr. Fenn placed in the chest for her (she).

  9. Tom,

    thanks for sharing your adventure and pics with us. While I can understand your and others reasons for searching this area…I for one just believe the chest is going to be in an area that is “more personal” to Mr f.
    Of course…until the chest is found…we will not know.
    I always enjoy seeing pictures from places that I may never get to go.

  10. excellent clue matching. We should start a support group for spouses. I am out of work and looking for a teaching job in NM soi can 1 stay warme:r than last winter in Michigan and 2 hunt for treasure on the weekends. smart move to start at Cody . Never thought about using the back of the car to sleep in and you found a blaze you just didn’t realize it. kschnuellruth@yahoo.com. I have a soft place for Amelia Earhart and agree the map is the greatest clue .

  11. Great adventure Tom, especially appreciated your ties with Amelia Erhart. Not sure how many note the illustrations on the inside flaps of TFTW. IMO they read like a map leading to the treasure from landmarks. With AE’s last flight in the center, I’m still hoping to tie her to my hoB or search area. no such luck with research yet.

  12. Thanks for the share. I liked your adventursome story and the pictures of an area that I was unable to take for myself. This was an area I also had attempted to search in July 2013. For me Brown Mountain was the key. But I was unable to cross the Wood river by the Double D Dude ranch restoration project. At the time the water was too high at the crossing for my low clearance Chrysler van. There were some kids in a 4×4 coming back from Kirwin and they tried their hardest to convince me to be brave and make the crossing… even promising to pull me out if I got stuck. I almost succumbed to their adventuresome youth persuasion, due of course, to the temptational pull of gold dangling at the end of the rainbow but I then quickly came back to my older, more experienced, wiser self just in the nick of time. Out of my 5 possible or so solves that summer this one was low on the list because it did not fit my personal solution for the Water High clue. So I also decided not to hoof the 7 or so miles from the Double D to Kirwin or to Brown Mountain. I did camp at the Brown Mtn campground for a few days though, hiking and exploring the beauty around the area of the Double D and the wood river and climbing around the moutainous region north of the campground. BTW I’m also from WA. Kitsap Peninsula.

    • I find it difficult to believe you admit to defacing another’s property with your graffiti…

      You should be ashamed, not proud to claim you were there ahead of others…

      Serious searchers I would hope are not also vandals…

      No one cares if you were first and why even mark a place where you found zilch?…

      One may visit many unusual or remarkable places in their travels, but should leave nothing except footprints to tell of their passing……

        • it’s quite obvious you haven’t been there…but thanks for the unnecessary scolding. I defaced nothing, and graffiti is in the eye of the beholder….what is with all the judgmental attitudes lately? I grow tired of it and it makes me wnt to cut loose…but I choose to take the high road and avoid moderation….suffice to say, I’m sure tomwhat got the joke…

    • I found the geocache at the cabin the first time I was there last year. I didn’t even know it was there beforehand, I was just poking around. I signed it last time and this time too.

  13. Now that is a really good story and solve (intrepetation of the clues and hints). Anyone who would have put that together would have every right to be excited as you were. I know that I would have. You, TOMWHAT, have a more complex solve than I. I love how you strung it together. May you have good luck as you continue your adventures! Wow!

    • Do you really think it’s complex? I think it’s pretty simple, there were just SO MANY coincidences that it boggled my mind. I’m shocked by how many other people have searched the area before me, I was sure I was so unique and clever.. I do think it may have been already found and the finder is just remaining quiet.

        • I seriously have no other ideas. I looked over my notes of all the ideas I had, and came close to this solve. I may go back to the area if accidental research turns up something new, but no plans to go back next season. I will keep tabs on the Chase, but what I really got out of this whole boondoggle was to reinforce to my son (age 2) the beauty of the outdoors, as my parents taught me.

  14. Tom, did you know ff friend Mike Kammerer also bought the sister plane of A.E. He also invested in searching for her plane. Mike was a good friend of Forrest. For some reason I believe they were into may different things together. Maybe some funny stuff like hiding the chest. I recently watched a video interview by Forrest where Mike was the camera man. Sounds Crazy.

    So now I am sure people are using Google earth. When I was in Meeteesee there was a man looking for an old airport. You can see it just north of Meeteesee, I tried going up there, they are not happy people. There is also an airport museum in Greybull coded WY42.

    I took some really cool photos. There was even a car like Skippy’s I found in the area.

    Anyway, lots of history in there. There is very little written about the area but….

    • Great stuff about Mike Kammerer, I did not know this. It would have just got me more fired up that I already was.

      There is a little written about the area, but not a whole lot. Just enough to pique the interest and excite the passions and make you want to know more. There’s not more history because Kirwin was shortlived as they didn’t find the high grade ore they expected.

      • ….so I decided to knock on doors in a way to that may bring back old memories. I found the most important and the book of diary. I have researched so much while I was in the area. I have fun interviewing people. I let them know right off the bat. My next trip is too the county records just like my last at Park county. I spent most of the day lifting heavy titles.
        I guess I will spend another year researching. It has been very educational, especially Wyoming. So in the TTOTC book, does anyone see the map of Wyoming? Maybe I am just see things from a different point.

        I enjoyed your story. I don’t think it is in Kirwin, just my thought. Anyway, Mike owned the ITN, remember the radio towers posted in one of the scrapbooks?

    • Geydelkon, interesting info on Mike Kammerer. My gut tells me that it could have been a group project with Forrest fulfulling promises to MK and ES. Do you have a link to the video where Mike acts as camera man? I would be very interested to watch.

      Do you and your bride have any last minute searches planned before the snow flies?

      • Sorry, there is no link to the video. You can view it at the Center of The West Museum in the research libray. You will need to set an appointment.

        The video interview is of Paul Dyck. He had a pipe very similar of the a Sitting Bull pipe and Forrest was asking all kinds of questions. Forrest Fenn eyes gives him away to the business world.

      • Interesting, considering how he spoke about 2 people being able to keep a secret if one of them is dead. Forgive me for the crudeness. 🙁

  15. Tomwhat, great adventure and great pics/write-up. I’ll add the pics to my stash! 🙂

    The comm tower you saw was probably the Snotel site -> http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/nwcc/site?sitenum=560 …while I did not look for it, it is near Earhart’s cabin, it is approx. same elevation as A.E.’s cabin and lat/long indicate it is nearby

    LOL!! Maybe you could elaborate a little on the experience of driving back into Kirwin. You indicated you were in a Durango. Sam Sam said was in a Chrysler “van”……. I ain’t going in there except in my full-size 4×4…….
    you explaining might save someone a bad experience, if they think they can rent a compact and drive back in there!!!

    • Wow! So glad you posted up about that comm tower! That is absolutely it. It was something I couldn’t turn up in my research as I didn’t know what to search for. It is up river from the cabin, on the opposite side from the trail.

      The road to Kirwin is graded gravel. All of it, save the water crossings, would be drivable in any vehicle. On my way out, I saw a guy on his way in driving a Toyota Corolla and he’d made it past the hard parts. The water was still low, I never had to shift into 4 wheel drive, but there’s no way I would attempt or recommend anyone driving it in anything 2 wheel drive at any time of year.

      • I am considering taking my son up there to look for the treasure in September. We will fly into Denver and rent a small car. You dont think I can drive up to AE cabin in small car?

        • You won’t be able to get all the way to the trailhead unless the car has an unusually high clearance. There is a spot where a decent chunk of road is washed out that a Ford Focus couldn’t get through. Maybe they have fixed that recently. I doubt it though. You’ll also have to drive through some water on the road, but it shouldn’t be very deep in September.

        • Boone

          I went in May 2014 on a 4 wheel drive Polaris 700 Quad. There were several river crossing that were up to 3 feet of water (Wood River). I barely made it but it was early summer. Do not know how deep river is later in summer. I saw several 4 X 4 trucks cross and water came over hood so it was deep and dangerous. The year I went up there was a major landslide just before Kirwin and I was able to cross (Snow, mud, trees, boulders, logs etc) but that too was dangerous. I doubt any low clearance or non 4 wheel drive car can make it to Kirwin at any time of year.
          By the way, rental agencies do not cover you for any insurance or damage when you are not on a paved road–read the contract carefully. Once you reach Kirwin then you have about a 2 mile climb up very steep trail at over 9,000 elevation. Be sure you are in shape. There were bear sightings take a big gun and bear spray. Keep away from open mine shafts that are there. All in all, looking back a very dangerous area and I doubt FF could or would go to the cabin but it is a beautiful area and if you are prepared and in shape it is a great experience…Also, spend some time at the Double D Ranch where she stayed–about 15 miles below Kirwin And reachable by car. Looking back I’m glad I spent 2 weeks up there but IMO I doubt FF hid the treasure there. Spend the extra $$ on a 4 wheel drive you will need it.

  16. Tom, what an amazing solve! Thank you for sharing with us all the research that you invested so much time and effort into. You are quite the writter yourself. I felt as if I were along on the treck with you.

    I think when we spend so much time on our research that it feels like we have had a ton of weight from our shoulders when we finally give it up to the world. Its a very good feeling to say, I did my best and I can walk away. I am very proud for you.You do good work.

    • Thanks deb, very nice words. I really agonized over posting my trail report or not. Glad I did. It was surprising to hear that so many others had searched the area as well. Makes it easier to let it go and move on.

      • Tom
        This area was on my radar too and I spent 2 weeks there this last June. You are correct in the connections are so numerous. I have softened my stance on this based on a FF remark wherein he said, “the chest is not adjacent to any human trails”. Now this area and AE cabin are nothing but “trails”. I know cause I hiked them all.
        People should know, I was there when the river was running high and fast and I had a Polaris Quad 500 and almost didn’t make it across a few times. There was even a huge landslide just before Kirwin about 200-300 yards across. It was a huge pile of mud, rocks, snow, trees. I was able to drive over it but most trucks could not. They cleared the road in Mid-June.
        MD I saw your initials in the fencepost, that gave me a lot of hope when it dawned on me FF would probably not do that. Sam don’t worry it did not deface the actual cabin just some newer fence posts.
        The geocache was cool, did you write that poem in the little book about Amelia and signed, Rusty Nail?
        You missed a few other big clues like the “rainbow” mine. And history will tell you there was a large avalanche on Brown Mtn that killed 3 people and that basically ended the town in early 1900’s. I was thinking this could be “High water, heavy loads”. What do you think?
        If all of our locations had this many co incidents we would all spend more time looking. Nonetheless, Kirwin is a great place to visit (so too is Cody). I highly recommend but wait until late summer. Glad so many people have come to the same conclusion/location but I am off to another place now closer to home….

        • I found all of those things, and more. As f only shares a little of history, just an amuse bouche as it were, to tickle the taste buds and water the mouth for more, I tried to do the same to get people to look into the area. I’m sure f would approve of my methods, even if this is not where the Chest rests. Much history of the West in this area.

        • @JC in NV: great research on finding the rainbow…..maybe minnie will send you a valentine from the north side of the evening star!! 🙂

  17. Thank You for sharing your amazing journey. I also have looked at this area alot. I just did not see the warm water halting like you did. Your solve is very good. I know a few hunters have also been to this area. Its big country out there. BIG!

    Lou Lee Belle, chased by Brown Bears in Jellystone Park!

  18. One way I realized you can know if your spot is possible or not is to check the snow on the ground from last year. Last October he said in a book event that he could go right to it. There were many places that were too snow covered and roads that were closed for that to happen.

    I also realized that there are many places he wanted us to think it’s at. So I wouldn’t be so discouraged that it wasn’t at your spot when you were so sure it should be. It’s most likely a place he wanted you to visit. He wants to end up with his family.

  19. Great story telling Tom, if you still feel strongly on that area I shouldn’t give up!!
    it has far more links and coincidences than anything I have come up with…remember only forrest knows how close you got

  20. REALLY fun read Tomwhat! You had me on the edge of my seat. You have a compelling way of thinking and a charming way of writing. Looking forward to your future stories. Don’t give up now! Oh, and good luck with that bladder issue……

    • Marvin, I think you are spot on with this. Its interesting how people often use things that Forrest says or writes as confirmation of what they already “believe” rather than using the things he says and writes to lead them to the area to search. I know I have done it, and it is startling how many directions it can take me. It is also ironic that Poe’s poem “the Raven” is mentioned so often since the thrust of the poem is pointing out the sad and often desperate propensity of people to find confirmation and meaning where none exists.

      • Raven, very well said and my last straw. My husband Daily reiterates I’m wasting my time on research and the blogs. You and Marvin just confirmed that. TC Homework/imagination were a fun but brief hobby, and my chances of matching wits with FF are slim and none. Good luck to you.

    • Marvin Candle – “Godwinks” those little coincidences that make you say wow, and wonder.
      The book looks interesting. thanks.

      • Well actually I think the “Godwinks” guys is out to lunch. It’s the probability and statistics information that I feel is important for folks to understand, as well as the error of omitting information that does not confirm your forgone conclusions.

        But to each his own.

        • Marvin, I haven’t read it , so no conclusions yet. I agree with you that Research and solid puzzle/ff solving over serendipitous ideas will be what finally yields the tc. I have over 2000 hrs into research and several failed solve attempts. That said, I hope life (people) are more than stats and walking computers meant to stay on task. We have hearts that dream, and imo spirits which soar. But admittedly, I have the heart and soul of an artist, not an statatician. Even Einstein believed imagination was more important than knowledge. Fenn quoted him in the memoirs and on his bronze bells. Perhaps ff believes we add up to more than cell biology and stats.

          • Imagination/knowledge and coincidence/godwinks are completely different concepts in my view. It can be argued that finding a can and thinking it is a “sign” because Forrest mentioned drinking a coke is neither a reflection of knowledge or an exercise of imagination. It is an interpretation of an event that imposes a “meaning” where in my view, none exists. There is nothing creative about it. Imagination is the act of creation, more important than knowledge because it is the catalyst that expands knowledge. Einstein understood that imagination was needed to challenge the rules that knowledge seeks to establish. They are a dynamic duo–both are at their best when shaken together but its imagination that thrusts us into the future–that solves problems. And in my view, its the part of our brain that will solve this poem–not all the “facts” that we search for on the internet and in the stories.

  21. TomWhat,
    Since you have revealed your solution could you be more specific about what you believe the nine clues in the poem are? I think I only saw references to 4 or 5 poem lines/phrases in this story.

  22. Great story and photos, Tom! I’ve searched the Wood River and Kirwin area on three different trips. I also have some exciting stories to tell involving bears, high water and more. It’s an expansive, beautiful and diverse area. My greatest reward was the wonderful memories that I made with my oldest Grandson. Thanks Forrest!

  23. Wow, Tom, that’s amazing! That area is also one of my areas, and I would like to visit there soon (like in the Springtime), if all turns out okay and I don’t have breast cancer (yes, that’s one reason I’ve been away from the blog–I have another ultrasound and biopsy Thursday in a huge axillary lymph node).

    Has anyone searched near Noon Point in that area? I keep thinking of all the references to “past midnight” and that midnight is 12:00, which can be either noon or midnight…

    Thank you for that story! How Amelia intertwines with so many aspects of Forrest’s story is amazing!

  24. I was excited as you were when I found this same area independent of your blog or anyone else’s. My advice to anyone is that these are not coincidences that you talk about. This is the area. Your interpretations on the house of Brown seem like a bit of a stretch, although I wouldn’t rule it out until there is a better interpretation. Regardless of that clue, it’s still the correct general area. There are a couple important clues that are disguised as “filler” lines in the poem. One is key and when you get that clue (if I’m right), you’ll realize that you’ve been mostly wasting your time in that entire area. I’m not going more than a couple times, because I live in Ohio. If I’m unsuccessful, I’ll share with you what I’ve found.

      • There is a ‘house of Brown’ in this area that I’ve found online. I don’t want to say exactly where. Also something that I believe fits for ‘where warm water halts.’ I live about 2.5 hours away and hope to search soon.

  25. “Where warm waters halt” = Hot Springs County
    “Worth the cold” = oops, I think I’ll wait to devulge this after I have searched it thoroughly ha ha.

    • I’ve looked this area over and found nothing, if it is there it’ll stay hidden for another millennia. Good luck in the chase!

        • I’m talking about hot springs county, not specifically your search area.

          Towns I’ve been to in Wyoming:

          Jackson
          Dubois
          Shoshoni
          Thermopolis
          Casper
          Lander
          Meteetsee
          Ten Sleep etc…..

          I believe it may be in one of the towns listed but as I say good luck finding it.

        • I looked there already; Mt Sniffle and Cascade creek have been search thoroughly. Most of the Kirwin area has been search a lot. It still maybe there, but probably some place else. Where are you from Tommy?

  26. I was glad to find your solve. I have only been working the riddle and maps for a week without the book, but I have come to the same conclusion on much less research. Proof that all you need is the map and poem. If we’re on the right track that is. After reading your post I am now most certain it is in this area. It may be sometime before I can make a trip from Indiana to begin my search. Keep in mind….Forest repeatedly mentions that it will not be an accident when the treasure is found. This tells me that one should be certain of his path to the treasure. The good news for the rest of us is that the blaze eluded you or you did not recognize it. I am hope full that my next hunch can paint the rest of the picture and help locate the treasure….. If I find it soon enough… I’m taking it to Forest in hopes of hearing more stories with my children present. Thanks for posting and thank you Forest for the thrill of the chase and all that you intended. Have fun, be safe and good luck to all.

  27. I live here in Cody Wy. Any one want to go out and look at this area give me a reply. I have enjoyed this spot for years. Good Luck!

    • In Cody? So if I were to tell you the chest is an hour and half away you would split it with me?…
      I’m coming in 2 weeks. Where is your theory of location? Wish I lived there!

  28. You say that you need to take route 212 to get from Cody to Meeteetse, but it looks to me like you’d take WY-120. Can you confirm? I think 212, the Beartooth Highway, is actually in a part of WY north of Cody.

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