Connecting the Dots…




Disclaimer: This is my hypothesis. It is “tl;dr”, but worth the invested time if you’re a serious seeker. There may or may not be a treasure chest after following and attempting to prove this hypothesis.


So, yeah… There’s a news story out at the moment regarding a persistent seeker. The story focuses on everything he’s given up to be in the chase, and it basically impales him (and by inference all of us) in the public eye. It suggests we are all addicted to lunacy. While I too had come to the conclusion that I had solved the puzzle, I have concurrently come to the conclusion that I don’t want to continue with how the media and Yellowstone National Park officials depict us… as lunatics. I don’t believe I’m a lunatic, although this is likely to be what a lunatic thinks. For this purpose, I’m tapping out, but also publishing my lunatic solution with my recent experiences, which of course resulted in my returning empty-handed. For those who use Twitter, follow my random thoughts on @mikebibler. For those who like, I am organizing my thoughts in a way that is hopefully meaningful for this community. It is important to also know that I work in IT and have interests and experiences in the field of text mining. I use computer programs to quickly sift through information (structured and unstructured) and attempt to derive meaning and/or correlations. This is how I started my chase.

Like everyone, but computer software, I used readily available geo-referenced feature names above 5,000 feet and below 10,200 feet, and searched for synonym cluster hits within a reasonable proximity tolerance. I followed this path for about 8 months with no solid findings and only one trip out in April 2014. I stopped in Colorado, Montana, Yellowstone, and Cokeville, WY to look at the areas of my most favorable results. Next, I focused on specific angles of F’s interests: archaeology (“aguas tibia”), then art (“Thomas Moran”) for about 6 months and 2 more trips, and then finally literature. It wasn’t until I started focusing on story-telling (inclusive of movies) that everything snapped into place for me.

By my amateur and incomplete analysis, I speculate F conceived of his plan with a specific adult audience in mind, wrote a few things in the beginning, like My War For Me, and then began to augment as he found more correlations of his own life to that of “the hypothesis”. I speculate the idea of getting kids out into the woods and off their devices came just before writing or finalizing his poem. He said the book quickly wrote itself. As such, I speculate parallel paths to the chest developed: one for adults as in the original plan, and an augmented plan for children that also seems to fit. I’ll attempt to describe my translation of these paths, right or wrong. You can think about them now because I’m not going to think about them any longer. I believe the chest is out there. I now also believe F to be a genius, far smarter than I am, and far smarter than he lets on. There are some who would say I give him too much credit. To you I say “then go get the chest where you think it is, smarty”. There are a few who challenge my premise and say one could derive meaning from any literary source, such as Robin Hood. Ok, fine. I could not derive a motivating fraction of the volume of content from Robin Hood

that I can derive from “the hypothesis”. For those who insist the poem is all one needs to find the chest, I have this to say: yes technically yes I agree Yes. If that response seems silly to you, please download the free or paid version of James Joyce’s Ulysses somewhere on the Internet, get into the wood (paper) and read it. Lege totum si vis scire totum. Having this book may not be necessary, but it sure as blue hell makes everything F is saying so much easier to relate to and understand, even if (with irony) what he’s saying relates to content that is very difficult to understand. And for the kids, please find Disney’s digital movie Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure.

Path #1: For the Kids

“Ask a child where warm waters halt.” says F. I think this may have three meanings.

Meaning 1, kids love Disney everything. The movie Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure has some very interesting coincidences that, if recognized, will actually lead the seeker to the solution I hypothesize is the winning solution. In this movie is a lyric sung by Lyria, a story-telling fairy. Other coincidental names of characters correlating with words in TTOTC include Fawn, Blaze, Clank, Rosetta, and Tinker Bell (bronze bells, For Whom the Bell Tolls). F also mentions a painting about fairies dancing around a rock in the chapter Blue Jeans and Hushpuppies Again. And F uses the words “sprinkled” for describing what he has done with clues in his chapters. “Sprinkled” is a very specific word in the context of Tinker Bell, and has sent many seekers to Fairy Falls in Yellowstone. In this movie, Tinker Bell is seeking the fabled Mirror of Incanta (F’s chest is said to contain mirrors) for a rumored single remaining wish to correct something that went wrong. Here is the lyric:

The Ancient Chant

Journey due north, past Never Land
‘Til a faraway island is close at hand
When you’re alone, but not alone
You will find help and an arch of stone There’s one way across the isle’s north ridge,
But a price must be paid at the old troll bridge
At journey’s end, you shall walk the plank
Of the ship that sunk but never sank
And in the hold, amidst gems and gold,
A wish come true awaits, we’re told
But beware and be warned; there’s a trick to this clue: Wish only good will, or no good will come you

For the treasure you seek you may yet come to rue!

Journey due north, like somewhere north of Santa Fe? A faraway island, as in there are islands somewhere in the Rockies? Alone, like alone in there? An arch of stone, maybe like Natural Bridge at Yellowstone? What’s at the north ridge? A troll bridge, like maybe the (non)Fishing Bridge? A ship that sunk but never sank, in the Rockies, like maybe the E.C. Waters? Past Never Land? Here’s a screen cap of Tink’s homemade treasure map:

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 7.42.59 PM

So, if the E.C. Waters is the ship that sunk but never sank and it’s on Stevenson Island, canyon down or south of there is Dot Island. But wait, Dot Island LOOKS LIKE AN ARROWHEAD! F has been alluding to finding an arrowhead when he was nine that started him on his adventures. I had to have a closer look at Neverland. I found this in reference to J.M Barrie’s Peter Pan:

“Of all the delectable islands the Neverland is the snuggest and most compact, not large and sprawl, you know, with tedious distances between one adventure and another, but nicely crammed.”

Ok, Dot Island, check. But I’m a bit of a scientist and this path seems crazy (journalism worthy). How can I actually validate that Tinker Bell has ANYTHING to do with any of this before I invest money I don’t have into a search? I sat through the other Tinker Bell movies looking for and noting any similarities I could find. There are a few, but enough to indicate significance? There’s one in the first Tinker Bell that is a bit more than coincidental to the Buffalo Cowboys chapter in TTOTC where Cody is replaced by thistles that seem to rampage the area, needing to be corralled, with Tinker Bell in tow. There’s a few more here and there that would seem to allude to similar stories or words F chose. But in Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, released after the book but before the range clue on NBC, this popped up unexpectedly:

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 7.43.07 PM

So, above 5,000 feet and below the tallest peak in Yellowstone, 10,200. Ok, check. Tinker Bell is now strangely and somehow involved. E.C. Waters to Dot Island (Neverland).

“Ask a child where warm waters halt.” says F. I think this may have three meanings. (It’s worth repeating like F did.)

Meaning 2, in the Preface of TTOTC, F gives us this poem to ponder:

“Life is a game of poker, Happiness is the pot.
Fate deals you four cards and a joker, And you play whether you like it or not.”

These (roughly) are also song lyrics from a song remade by Ernest Tubb, the Texas Troubadour. Ask a child where warm waters halt and they might reasonably tell you “a sink” or “a tub”. That would be useful to derive because this particular song from Ernest

Tubb is titled I’m Waiting On Ships That Never Come In. Now why in the world would F use that in his preface if not to signal where warm waters halt, back at the beginning of his book after reading his treasure poem? If he’s waiting on ships, that would indicate a lake higher than 5000 ft that can support a ship. At least one that would match this criteria in the search zone, as well as match the criteria of synonym allusion, is indeed the E.C. Waters, a steamship remnant on Stevenson Island.

“Ask a child where warm waters halt.” says F. I think this may have three meanings. (It’s worth repeating like F did.)

Meaning 3, E.C. Waters, the person, was replaced by Harry Child after the government became impatient with Waters’ obnoxious behavior, helped introduce competition and drove him out of business. Clever. This Child would definitely know where warm waters halt.

So yeah, there are several thoughts where a kid could assist (as it pertains to my hypothesis). I felt I was on the right track, but that my hypothetical solution was still incomplete.

Path #2: For the Adults

I speculate F wanted each of us to experience our own Odyssey. I speculate that F recognized the intriguing amount of correlations of his own life and experiences from Ulysses and to Odysseus. Perhaps he embellished enough to make the correlations fit, and perhaps that would be the reason he also released Too Far To Walk, to release his real story. James Joyce himself said the following which also seems to apply to F:

“If I gave it all up immediately, I’d lose my immortality. I’ve put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that’s the only way of insuring one’s immortality.” – Joyce’s reply for a request for a plan of Ulysses, as quoted in James Joyce (1959) by Richard Ellmann

With that said, I’m not capable of explicating all of what F meant or alluded. I can find a reasonably convincing enough amount of content in TTOTC, Scrapbook posts on, and in F’s public appearances with James Joyce’s Ulysses or other The Odyssey allusion material. This is super clever because Ulysses is one of the most difficult books to process as well as being the most important Modernist literature of F’s time. Why didn’t he mention it in his chapter Important Literature? Well, that should now become obvious. For purposes of organizing this material just to point to the sheer volume of it, I will do so in these three categories: 1) Ulysses references about the chest and its contents, 2) Ulysses references from TTOTC and Scrapbook posts, and 3) references related to the actual hunt locations.

1) Ulysses (and The Odyssey) references about the chest and its contents
– F named the chest “Indulgence”. This word is also used prominently in the Ulysses colophon by Sylvia Beach, publisher at Shakespeare and Company, apologizing for the

misspellings in this most exceptional of cases.
– The chest depicts ladders. In Ulysses, I wonder if this alludes to Stephen and Buck leaving the tower via a ladder.
– 265 gold coins = 265,000 words in Ulysses
– 2 Ceylon sapphires = Ceylon tea distributor located at 2 Mincing Lane, London, E.C. (there’s E.C. again… so strange)
– 6 emeralds = I believe this relates to the emerald 4-leaf shamrock ring (2 extra as stem)
– 42 lbs = #42 is Ulysses in the Companion to Modernist Literature
– 20.5 Troy lbs of gold = Troy was defeated in The Odyssey, the book which Ulysses is said to allude. Twenty may allude to the number of people at Dignam’s funeral. Death’s number.
– F’s autobiography in an olive jar = Odysseus built his unmovable bed around an olive tree, proof to Penelope that he was Odysseus. In Ulysses, “Olives are packed in jars, eh? I have a few left from Andrews.”
– Gold dust and rubies = I speculate it relates to this line in Ulysses … “Dust slept on dull coils of bronze and silver, lozenges of cinnabar, on rubies, leprous and winedark stones.”
– My hypothesis suggests there is likely to be more, I’m just not ambitious enough to find and list them.

Not convinced yet? Let’s continue.

2) Ulysses (and The Odyssey) references from TTOTC and Scrapbook posts
– Ulysses uses the word “Fenian” for an Irish movement of the time (that’s kind of funny).
– Important Literature – F references the book Kismet, kismet is mentioned 4 times in Ulysses.
– Important Literature – Ulysses is missing while being the most important Modernist literature of F’s time.
– First Grade – F says John Charles would bring a jar of olives to school. In Ulysses, “Olives are packed in jars, eh? I have a few left from Andrews.”
– My Spanish Toy Factory – Ulysses references a squatted child at marbles.
– Me In The Middle – references chickens being chased, same is in opening scene of O Brother Where Art Thou (another set of allusions to The Odyssey)
– Gypsy Magic – Ulysses uses the words red Egyptians as Gypsies were was once thought to have Egyptian origins.
– My War For Me – F references Shakespeare throughout, Ulysses references Shakespeare and Hamlet throughout, and the book was published by Shakespeare and Company. There are several more, but this is getting too long.
– Teachers With Ropes – this concept is the final scene in O Brother Where Art Thou (another set of allusions to The Odyssey), the Penelope character is dragging her children holding onto twine, the last one is lassoed with the twine.
– Teachers With Ropes – Gilbert Stuart is the artist of the George Washington paintings F allows the children to touch. Stuart Gilbert was the French translator for Ulysses.
– A scrapbook about forgetting his keys – In Ulysses, Bloom has to break into his own house through the basement for the same reason.

– A scrapbook about house slippers with a hole in his sock – In Ulysses, “Stephanos, my crown. My sword. His boots are spoiling the shape of my feet. Buy a pair. Holes in my socks. Handkerchief too.”
– A scrapbook on Glenna Goodcare (of her works, he chose these) – In Ulysses, “… the tea merchant, drove past us in a gig with his daughter, Dancer Moses was her name…” This scrapbook instead could be pointing to the importance of the maternal relationship alluded to in Ulysses, and between Molly and Milly. There are very small Molly Islands in Yellowstone Lake. I suppose it’s also possible that the chest could be here, but everything else in my hypothesis points to Dot Island. And perhaps I’m anchored.

– My hypothesis suggests there is many many more, I’m just not ambitious enough to find and list them.

Still not convinced TTOTC is entangled with Ulysses? One more.

3) references related to the actual hunt locations (in my interpretation)
– wwwh: E.C. Waters – there’s a German passage in Ulysses, “Und alle Shiffe brücken.” – canyon down, tftw: boat to Dot Island – Ulysses refers to Dottyville, a colloquialism to a lunatic asylum, and according to journalists, where all of us belong.
– home of Brown – A Phil May cartoon referencing Dottyville seems appropriate to F. Definitely google it.
– no place for the meek: Dottyville (Dot Island) was E.C. Waters’ zoo. The park officials shut it down after seeing what an idiot Waters was and how the animals were being treated.
– end drawing nigh: Dottyville (Dot Island) is in the shape of an arrowhead, pointing NW.
– no paddle: Dottyville (Dot Island)… seriously, have a big motorized boat take you, or if you’ve dragged your own there, use it. Paddling here could endanger your life.
– water high: elevation of Yellowstone Lake
– blaze: Dottyville (Dot Island) pointing at the location. Ithaca, Episode 17 in Ulysses, ends with a giant dot, an oversized period which at the time alluded to a Latin mathematical suggestion of QED, or problem solved.
– hear me now and listen good: a sound (water measurement) synonym is “fathom”… he says this twice —> 2 fathoms – he also alludes to this somewhere when describing measurement systems of links, chains, fence poles, telephone poles, and fathoms.
– efforts worth the cold: this is where I completely missed it… I think you have to wade into cold water and look under a rock off the point of Dot Island (there are 2 visible during windy waves, it’s probably the one 2 fathoms or 12 feet away from the NW point shore so that Dot Island is pointing at it). I started to wade in barefooted, without waders. My feet were in pain immediately and began to numb. I had to turn around. A fathom used be about an arm’s length. Maybe he’s suggesting to stick your arms in the ice cold water and feel around. That seems weird. Maybe use a flashlight first.
– brave and in the wood: paper is made of wood. F alludes to this as being a bit of a conservationist. So, get in the wood and read Ulysses. “in the wood” may allude to “read the story about the wooden horse at Troy.”
– give you title: an allusion to Ulysses S. Grant, the President who signed Yellowstone into a preservation… “grant U president”. See how he nicely tied that all together?
– the nine clues are the nine sentence-ending punctuation dots, alluding to the nine muses throughout his book and throughout Ulysses, plus Ulysses has nines all over the place.

Motivation into Action

Now you know the premise to my hypothesis. More random coincidences than Robin Hood? I’d say yes absolutely yes undoubtedly yes. So I went there just last week, boots on the ground. Here’s a few findings as I traipsed around, roaming with purpose but without the confidence in the “get into the lake” solution.

If Dot Island also interests you, and you don’t have your own motorized boat, Cap’n John Blair of the Otter will shuttle you from and to Bridge Bay Marina (launch at the gas station next to the docks where Virginia has manned the desk for years). They are open for shuttle service between season-open and season-end (about June 15 to Sept 15 depending on various things). Make a reservation. Cap’n John and Virginia need permission from NPS to drop-off and pick-up at Dot Island for day hikes because it’s not one of the pre-approved drop-off points. A NPS day-use hiking permit is not required according to the ranger we checked, but you’re not allowed to camp overnight. Earliest drop-off is at 8am. Latest pick-up is at 5pm. The shuttle costs a little more than $300 as an excursion special for up to 6 passengers in total, so make sure you believe it’s worth it. It comes with a canoe, which we opted out of because we weren’t yet convinced the water was related. Doing this with park permission removes all the worry, and there’s enough worry just being on the island than to also have to worry whether or not you’re legal. Once approved, you’re good to go. If you mention you are seeking Fenn’s treasure, you will undoubtedly be denied. It makes people there nervous because they don’t want to break the rules, and they all believe we’re dotty as it is. A letter (although a bit dated but still applicable) is always at the ready to be shown to the “tourons”, a colloquialism of what the park concessionaires and rangers call us, moron tourists, because we must stop traffic for 20 minutes to get pictures of a lumbering bison, or feel confident enough to try to pet one before getting gored. But this letter also expresses the seriousness and the consequences:


click on image to see it larger

Just follow the rules. Don’t destroy our park. Dot Island has a beautiful open grassy vale behind some trees on the NE side of the island, or up and over the peak dune on the west side near the northern tip. There are a couple of things that appear to be old rusty fire pits about 30 yards apart along the north tree line. Do not start fires. Just take pics. We had a picnic, took a sandwich. We packed out everything we packed in, although we did find a few old rusty cans, bottles, jars, and a broken plate fragment in a large hole area with a fallen tree on the SE side of the vale. Uncaring and littering people have been there before us. Just use common sense and you won’t ruin it for everyone else. Also, watch for a nesting duck near the NE edge of the grassy vale. It scared the wits out of me as it flew up vertically into my face when I approached. Good for a laugh and a story after when I could see the duck returned. But that’s the beauty of Dot Island. It’s secluded and difficult, but not impossible. There’s an extremely low probability of seeing bears, bison, elk, moose, no worries of attacks, although there have been sightings in the past of stranded wildlife early in the season perhaps after crossing on the ice. Rangers will attempt to relocate stranded wildlife. One other caution about Dot Island… It’s packed with stinging nettle, thistle, and lots of other thorny messiness. Hikers beware. The nettle is quite ugly and helps to discourage passage into a lot of areas.

Looking east into the vale.

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A fire pit on the NE tree line of the vale, pointing north into the tree line.

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A fire pit on the NW tree line of the vale, pointing east toward the other fire pit about 30 yards away.

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We also located a heavy wooden plank in some woods near the SE corner of the island.

It’s about 200 to 300 lbs. Upon hearing of it, Cap’n John speculated it might have floated there or was abandoned there from a former dock. It was old, very solid, and very heavy. We found a similar sturdy plank at Spruce Point the next day, wondering if “in the wood” could be Spruce Point after failing at Dot Island.

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This plank at Spruce Point had a marking scratched into it. It looked recent-ish.

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An old picnic table at Spruce Point… We checked all around the rocks at Spruce Point, but may have missed it if it’s there.

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We also hiked Sand Point to Rock Point (aka Suicide Point although I don’t know why) to a location we believed was the position on the western lake shore where Dot Island is pointing. The boating staff call it “The Great Wall” area because of the cliff erosion formations. The hike in the sand was a foot muscle killer (FitBit should have given me at least 3x steps), and fallen trees were a real impediment in several locations. But we did find this interesting human formation at Rock Point…

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 7.50.51 PM

Anyway, thanks to Dal and Goofy for running a great site. I said I would give up after this. And so I am… yes I said yes I will Yes.

Cheers all and good luck, E.C. Waters (aka Mike Bibler)



115 thoughts on “Connecting the Dots…

    • Yellowstone and the media depict us? Has nothing to do with the searcher, or the search. It has to do with politics. You find the treasure and you will be greedy. You give it all to charity and you will be crazy. Search for your enjoyment and play nice, its really all you can do. You will be judged unfairly by some for certain. Look at Mr. Fenn and the media coverage, half the time the story is written before the interview. Sometimes a good shrug is better than a good sneeze. IMO.

  1. @; Mike Bibler, a.k.a. E.C. Waters, Amazing! I’m going to have to read this several times, I’ve been following you all summer on Dal’s Blog and I say you are not out, not yet! Great solve, thanks for the copy of the official YNP memo letter with all the fancy bureaucratic jargon, hate those guys! So, one question then, if ff made two trips in one afternoon would the first trip have been launching a small boat and the second loading his cache into the boat from his car? No, you are not done, not yet!

    • He said this during Joe’s deposition:

      “Joe, you make this thing so complicated. Reminds me of the reason I don’t like meetings. I hope you don’t belong to a PTA someplace. I made two trips from my car to the hiding place and it was done in one afternoon.f”

      I’m one that usually backs away from arguments of semantics as I typically try to trust someone’s “spirit of the word” rather than their “definition of the word”. “It depends on what the definition of is is.” In this mental model, we are forced to focus on every definition of every word.

      With that said, you make an excellent point and perhaps I’m anchored on a solution that is a non-starter. Or, perhaps we’re reading into what he is saying about two trips directly to the hiding place from his car. I really can’t say because I really don’t know.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to write up your solution! I especially appreciate reading that letter from ranger Reid. 🙂 Very interesting connections in your solve – something I’ll have to look into.

  3. Wow, Mike, that was a great story! Thanks for the pics too! I like your idea of Dot Island and Dot is short for Dorothy too. You had me on your explanations in the beginning with the Tinker Bell movie and the pic of the hat was interesting, but the rest seemed far fetched and stretching; however, I don’t have the chest either so who knows. I hope you don’t quit and think that you should start looking into things that have to do with Indiana Jones movies and things regarding to Texas and the 4 states.

    • Gypsy Magic would appear to have light coincidence with the first scene in Indiana Jones and the Lost Crusade, as well as speculation about the double omegas and counting in Greek, 1,600 miles between Temple, TX and West Yellowstone, assuming a path through Cody.

      Ernest Tubb is known as the Texas Troubadour.

      Ulysses S Grant was the president that signed Yellowstone into being a preservation in Wyoming/Montana/Idaho.

    • On a hunch, I once emailed Dorothy Massey at the Collected Works Bookstore and asked her if anyone in Santa Fe ever tried referring to her “Dot”. Her kind and patient response:

      “Good morning Mr. Bibler:

      Not if I can help it, but thank you for the inquiry.”

      It made me smile.

  4. Absolutely brilliant. You only lost me at Ulysses S. Grant. f should have written “grant you title to the gold”. Maybe f’s mistake. Who’s on that $1000 bill f showed to us…? Hmmm.

    Absolutely brilliant.

    • Synonym for “give” is “grant”. “President” is a title. US Grant signed Yellowstone into being a national park. He also has the same name as the Latin version of Odysseus.

      • You are smarter than I. I agree that “give” provides another layer to discover connection to “grant”.

        Can you connect Roosevelt? Places X in different area of YNP if so.

        In every other searchers’ solve I see many attempts to stretch the solve to fit the poem. Not here. You should write the book to “right” the solution. Really. I have been disappointed in most other solutions till now.

        Congratulations to you, E.C.

    • I’ll dig it out. I think it was a YouTube video, and maybe I’m misquoting.

      I recall along with that he said something like [paraphrasing] “show it to a child” and/or “I think children have an advantage.”

      • Hey E.C speaking of digging, I know it’s against park regulations to dig in some areas but I understand in other areas it’s allowed (human waiste). Seems you’d at least brought a metal detector along…you’ve got the island (pirate treasure) a possible X screams ‘dig here’?

        • @luckygirl, I really believe no digging for the chest is needed. My very few searches (relative to others here) have stayed within this premise. If I can’t see it, I move on. I will look between rocks, spaces under trees without rolling them over, and if I’m lucky enough to find a plinth somewhere (I haven’t been lucky enough, and that’s related to Ulysses as being a good hidingplace for a treasure). Perhaps this isn’t an appropriate strategy but I don’t have that kind of time or the ambition to believe it’s buried. As such, I also don’t own a metal detector.

      • E.C.,
        Yeah, I think there was a quote about a child but I’m wondering about the “WWH” attachment.

        I think folks need to be very careful about separating the question that was asked from the answer that F gives. Context is lost and new meanings are frequently attributed.

        While I like what you’ve written, it seems there are an awful lot of random “coincidences” that don’t come together in a cohesive way and most of it is not poem related. All your poem related clues appear to point to a single location (Dottyville) rather then form a sequential trail of points to follow.

        “if you solve the clues and follow them sequentially it will lead you to the treasure”

        “… the clues in the book and thread a tract through the wiles of nature and circumstance to the treasure. If you can find it, you can have it. I warned the path would not be direct for those who had no certainty of the location beforehand, but sure for the one who did.” (Flap on map in Too Far to Walk)

        You’ve done a lot of work and sorry to see you go though I understand the frustration and sentiment.

      • Still trying to get through some of Tom Sawyer’s adventures, a long with “Letters Alive” by Trish Harding! (Both capturing an essence; a motivational energy unique to each of us).

        A favorite quote I can recall from childhood adventures:

        “Just see ’em look.”

        ~ Tom Sawyer ~

        I think FF would like that one, too. I find that each alphabet letter he uses, often becomes an….adventure!


      • Tinker’s hat made of paper is funny. Did you read it? WhAt is between 5001-to 10391? Lol a dash to dash dot? Does Morse code have anything to do with it?
        IMO S.O.S. in Kissimmee, FL. 🙂

  5. Greetings and thx. I’m actually in SF for work. Care to guess the name of the bookstore I’m having coffee in right now? Haha. Full circle can be funny on so many levels. Cheers searchers.

  6. Fascinating hypothesis E.C.Waters. It is a very interesting take on the poem and all things Forrest Fenn. The Tim Reid letter is interesting too. His scorn for searchers is palpable. He might want to do a little more research regarding his conclusion that the chest has been “abandoned”–its not nearly as clear cut as he seems to want it to be.

    • I found the three quotes from the BLM, the Forest Service, and the Park Service in the Earth Magazine article about searching for the Fenn treasure diverse and contradictory.

      You might think all government land managers would be covered by the same interpretations of the CFR’s. Unfortunately we only have two options: private land or federally controlled public land. Each comes with it’s own laws and potential pitfalls none of which are good.

  7. EC Waters
    I enjoyed the read, speaking of read, that letter from Tim Ried (ex Park Ranger of Yellowstone) claims it is illegal to abandon property in the park. Thus if Mr. Fenn hid his chest there, Mr. Fenn would have broken the law, according to Ried.

    Makes one really wonder if Fenn hid it in Yellowstone or any park for that matter, if he thought of everything.

    Tim Ried provides lots of entertainment for the average seeker… I had to chuckle at that letter and those who read Finding Forrest Fenn know exactly what I am talking about. 😉

    Thank you for your story.

    • Wolf,
      I wonder, if f left chest illegally and you found it and removed it, you should be a hero! Saved f from prosecution, saved Feds or State lands from legal concerns and expenses, you will have succeeded in the solve and gained your riches and will unleash gazillions of man hours upon the world to do good in the world… as they await another Chase.

  8. E.C. Waters, you weave ideas nicely in your writing. Makes me want to watch Tinkerbell, read Ulysses and take a trip to Yellowstone.

    A spider weaves its web after a storm with as much care each time with one goal in mind, to catch a fly. Maybe it’s that simple.

    • Even a lunatic has a beating heart; however, after performing a bit of research on the ‘original’ E.C. Waters, one might sadly wonder where he lost his?

      Apparently; he actually did lose his mind before he died.

  9. Thanks and good research. Tim Reid ha. I went to a national park one time and the litter was atrocious. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of wasted signs. They all said what you couldn’t do. You can’t park here, no walking there, no fires there, dogs on a leash, do not touch and on and on. By the time I got done reading what you couldn’t do, the day was half over, so I just turned around and left. One sign would was all that was needed. ALL YOU CAN DO IS LOOK AND WE ARE WATCHING YOU. Remember it’s their park not yours, in their minds. Written in the park rule book it states your not allowed to overturn a stone. When they start enforcing that you won’t be allowed to walk in a national park. The park service should thank Mr. Fenn for introducing more families to OUR national treasures. It’s all politics folks. When I worked at Yellowstone awhile back a tourist came in on a bus from New York. He had never driven a car, this was his first vacation out of the city. After checking into his room he immediately proceeded to the bar and asked for his favorite scotch on the rocks. When the bartender informed him they didn’t serve his brand he immediately checked out and went back to New York. You just can’t make everybody happy. One more thing about connecting the dots? Page 126 inside the chest on the bottom the 13 dots?

  10. E C Waters –

    I enjoyed your story very much and always find history fascinating.

    I see some searchers now scurrying off to explore this solve further – so thought I would add my two cents here.

    As the true story of Mr Waters and his ship of the same name – is a very sad one – I don’t think FF would have used it as a base for any solve.

    Searchers can read about it here:

    I agree with what Wolf said above about the Ranger Reid letter. There is simply IMO no way FF placed the TC in Yellowstone or any National Park. knowing full well, it would have to be turned over to them.

    Don’t kill the messenger………… 🙂

    On a happy note EC – I think many of the ways you put clues together – can help someone find the treasure if they start in the right place.

    Good Job and Thank You !

    • @inthechaseto – attorneys might disagree with you. Two we checked suggested that by removing the chest, which is secreted and not abandoned, receiving formal identification of the property from the original owner and agreement of its transfer would clear this up. Even their own CFR suggests the process is to await claim from the owner within 60 days to determine disposition. If I were to take it to the Ranger Station at Mammoth Springs and turn it in, the probability of never seeing it again in its entirety (either from litigation or mishandling) is significant. Perhaps a citation, a fine, and potential jail time would be the worst case. Is that a reasonable deterrent against what happens next?

      This is not legal advice. Please consult an attorney should you locate the chest.

      • I can’t believe the park has the gall to (1) threaten peaceful and well intentioned individuals out looking for adventure and (2) to assume malignant intent. Hope this isn’t a sign of things to come for Fenn searchers. The chase is cryptic enough as it is and well intentioned searchers can make foolish mistakes at the prospect of such an exciting venture. But I agree, park rules should always be followed and adhered to and searchers need to check themselves before doing something stupid. And ultimately, anything found in the park will likely be the parks to do as they wish.

        It’s bad enough finding trash and toilet paper and poo in a pristine area you are visiting, only to step in it while finding some shade under a tree (which I did on my last trip)!!!

  11. You can checkout any time you like E.C.
    But you can never leave.

    We disagree on the complexity of a solution; but I applaud your hard work and imagination coming up with this solution; and your willingness to test your ideas by exploring them on the ground. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    Ranger Reid is the perfect model of a big government bureaucrat overloard who believes the population is a herd that must be controlled and managed for their own good; but mostly for the good of the State. …….1984 has arrived.

    Having said that; some of the searchers have given all of the searchers a bad name. They have no self respect or respect for anything or anyone; including their own families, that get in their way. Their irresponsible behavior is both criminal and reckless and bordering on insanity. They are blinded by gold fever; and have sold their souls to find a little chest of gold that will only make their miserable lives more miserable should they actually find it.

    Man, that was a depressing comment…..I’m going over to the beach and get a foot long chilly cheese dog to brighten my day.

    • @goofy – when you say complexity of my solution, are you saying that my belief of F’s allusions to Ulysses is too complex?

      Short of finding the chest and having F admit that’s what he did, what else might draw you nearer to this suggestion? If I were to continue a list of connections to the chapters and scrapbooks, might that help?

      • E.C. you could be correct in your method of solving the poem and I certainly can’t prove you are incorrect by any means; we just have different opinions on approaching the solutions. So this is just my opinion.

        You wrote: “Ask a child where warm waters halt.” says F quoting Fenn. I’m not aware he made that quote. From that quote you surmised Fenn meant a Disney movie. The specific movie being “Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure”. Why that specific movie? I looked up the movie; it was released in October of 2009. Since Fenn worked on the poem for years I don’t think he incorporated that movie in the architecture of the poem with that release date. If he were to use a Disney film like you suggest, it would be one of the older classics in my opinion.

        You arbitrarily decided Fenn wanted us to experience an “Odyssey”. Why not journey, or quest, or many other words that would fit? From that one word you built a solution relating to Ulysses. You have made some interesting connections; but I feel the same type connections can be made using any number of the classics with enough research and imagination.

        Like I said, just my opinion; and I don’t have the chest so my opinion isn’t worth much.

        • @goofy – I get your point and agree with it to an extent. I should have done more research on “ask a child” to get to the true citations. I’ll definitely be more diligent in the future. But, heck, that Disney lyric is incredibly coincidental to more than just a couple of features in Yellowstone Lake. Don’t you think?

          I do want to clarify, though, that I don’t feel like I forced Ulysses on the hints arbitrarily, but rather began exploring the possibilities of these stories connecting into Ulysses. After about the 10th or 11th, I started investigating deeper. I’ve been challenged in this same way by others that most any literature could creatively fit. For every one connection that I mentioned, there’s still another 40+ that I haven’t mentioned.

          For example, F says in Gold and More… “At age fifty-eight I had spent more than nineteen years asleep, and three of those years were on Monday. Think about that for a moment. Surely that’s a design deficiency of some sort.
          There was no hero anywhere in me and everything I thought about radiated an aura of misfortune.”

          He’s done it tired, and now he’s weak.

          F also wants his epitaph to say: “I wish I could have lived to do, the things I was attributed to.”

          In Ulysses: “As a physicist he had learned that of the 70 years of complete human life at least 2/7, viz. 20 years are passed in sleep. As a philosopher he knew that at the termination of any allotted life only an infinitesimal part of any person’s desires has been realised. As a physiologist he believed in the artificial placation of malignant agencies chiefly operative during somnolence.”

          That seems pretty significant to me when added up with all the other coincidences. Maybe I’m wrong about the location and Disney. I feel I’m dead on about Ulysses and Homer’s poem.

          • E.C. if my recollection is correct he said the “show it to a kid statement” in an interview or maybe at one of the book store events. Someone may be able to point us to exactly where he said that.

            I’ve never taken that statement very seriously because at the time I thought he made the comment in passing; kind of a joke. Which is why I don’t have a record of it noted any place. It would be good to have an exact quote and context of the statement since so many people give the statement a lot of weight.

            I’ve always considered it to go along with his other statements about the poem being straight forward and that people are over complicating the solution.

            So if someone could give us the source of the “show it to a kid” statement it would be appreciated.

          • @goofy – in one bookstore event for Too Far To Walk, a nine year old asks F if a kid has a shot at finding the treasure. Paraphrasing, he said he thinks kids have an advantage and followed conspicuously with “don’t expect me to tell you why.” This and show it to a kid would lead me to believe there is something significant related to kids. There is a reference to Captain Kidd and Gardiner in TTOTC, but I perceive this as related again to Ulysses with Gardiner Rd, and John Kidd’s “scandal”.

            I’d love to find the whole context of “show the poem to a” child/kid. Maybe it’s the Ernest Tubb reference.

          • I have about four “kid” references in my database. One is pretty telling or at least sheds some light on the advantage of being a kid.

            After examining them I took the point of view that a kid takes things more literally and doesn’t over think things and make “intelligent” assumptions. I believe it was Fenn who said “not all things are what they seem”

            Goofy’s statement: “I’ve never taken that statement very seriously because at the time I thought he made the comment in passing; kind of a joke,” is a perfect example of which I kid would likely react differently.

          • E.C. I’ll re-watch that video and see if I can find his original statement. You’ve got me wondering now.

          • I’m just throwing this out there… i thought the original statement was back as far as end of 2012 – beginning 2013.
            with the words, show the poem to a child.

            There was much chatter about it during that time and i believe it was Toby who filmed the quote at a book signing.

            Just a thought, as the original statement was a while back. During which time Jason came up with Mountain Men language and a child was a young racoon and a coon was a term used by Mountain men to call each other.

            If that helps narrow down the time period for those who remember the discussion.

          • I agree Seeker; it’s been a while since the original statement; and I remember all the chatter you are talking about. I should have already made a note about it with a link to the source with all the talk about kids. I’ll find it; I’m on a quest now.

  12. I’m going back to the book shelf to experience another inspirational, brilliant and honorable read; ……….again.

    Major Fenn’s Country – (1939)

    Highly recommend it ~


  13. E.C.

    You wrote – “it’s probably the one 2 fathoms or 12 feet away from the NW point shore so that Dot Island is pointing at it).”

    Why wouldn’t you instead interpret that thought as depth since fathoms are generally used to measure vertical distance?

    Scott W.

    • Fathoms is an “archaic” unit used to measure water depth kinda like yards is an “archaic” unit used to measure length. Most sailors rarely use fathoms any more. They use meters. Just like few countries use yards, links, chains, feet and inches anymore. But Fathoms is cool to use because of it’s association with old pirate stories and sailing lore. So, many storytellers, even modern ones use fathoms rather than meters because it conjures up the romance of the sea and of adventures long gone.

  14. @q1werty2 – I probably should have. Two sounds didn’t fit my forced solution. lol. A fathom was measured by outstretched arms, tip of the fingers end to end, yes, for depth. But then why wouldn’t they just say a fathom is head to toe and average 6 feet? The word itself is said to have originated from an embrace, so, technically, a fathom should be a measure of girth. I’m not an actual student of language arts, I just play one on TV.

    There’s a rounded rock about 10 to 12 feet off the tip of Dot Island. I started to go have a look there because Dot Island would be seemingly pointing at it, like a blaze. The probability of the chest being there is pretty low given my track record with everywhere else. In the end, I got too cold and I wasn’t prepared, so I bailed. It remains on my curiosity list.

    • Thanks for the explaination, both Dal and E.C,

      I asked because I always associated it with depth, and until you used it for length (as explained by you and Dal) I never saw it that way.

      Great solve by the way. Very well thought out. I especially liked the association of “give” and “grant”.

      Scott W.

  15. So basically if the treasure is buried it is not in a national park since digging is prohibited and that is why he will not give buried as a clue.This would suggest it is buried . UNLESS F just has it in for the park people and likes to push Ried’s buttons. 🙂

  16. I don’t believe it is on an island,but good luck to everyone.I still think the real treasure is out there,but if you can’t find the answer in the poem,your not going to find it at all.

  17. I think Scrapbook 73, alludes to Yellowstone’s Fairy Slippers, flowers that are called Calypso bulbosa. Calypso is an episode in Ulysses…

    Oh, and maybe Fairy Slippers are related to Tinker Bell, too. Heh.

    Is this getting old yet?

    Here’s another fun one. F first-printed 5,000 copies of TTOTC. Random House and Cerf first-printed 10,200 copies of Ulysses in the US. Am I crazy?

  18. E.C., it Def sounds like you are still in the chase with the lose ends not secured with a knot.
    You keep coming up with more lit ref’s…
    I’ll take the archeological spirit of the chase, one that is surprising and exciting.
    F’s approach to hiding the treasure by making two trips back and forth to his car tells me he was on solid ground.
    It seems you are fitting the evidence to the poem and not the poem to your evidence, but I’m no scholar and that IS my opinion.
    Tink came way after F created the poem, and most good treasure stories are similar, like the poem.
    You have great imagination and I respect that and enjoyed your breakdown and explanations.
    I have yet to complete my chase and when I do, will tell all like you have. Until then, E.C., keep on thinking and working on it. NEVER let go of a dream!
    ¥Peace ¥

  19. Welp EC waters sounds like you have put many hours into thinking You gave it your best shot dang we all have and still come up with just old
    Cans old penny’s and a arrow head or three sometimes I say I quit then a few weeks later I have another thought of where it could be 🙂 and plan my next trip but if it starts to control our lives we have to step away and breathe so happy trails U 🙂 I’ll go get it 🙂 hahahah

  20. I certainly think you are onto something, I am still absorbing your solve, not that it does not come easy per your great writing, but wondering if you just did not include something. I think you have a great mind and should not have given this solve up to everyone. I really think you need to take a step back as you see the pixels from staring so long. I do appreciate it though, as it gave me a spring board or plank from which to jump. I will call you Nero not like the Roman Emperor but with the accent on the “o” as in water in Greek. To Nero = the water.
    Nero I have never written on these boards because I never saw anything that I really could be a solve. I would recalibrate, without telling you that you could be c&^%e.

    • 🙂 Did Sappho actually have a kid? It seems opinions vary.

      If we’re heading toward Greek words of endearment, may I kindly request instead Zestá Nerá? T’would seem a bit more fitting, lest it be the feminine form. And then… well… yeah… Nero is fine. lol

      To confirm, I definitely did miss something. I just don’t know what or where. Too many dots this close look like pretty dots. Or an arrowhead. So I’ll probably keep annoying Goofy with my random coincidences. Good luck and I hope it helps.

    • @Sappho’s Kid – did you know the word “deal” also means a plank of pine or fir wood?

      The word “deal” is mentioned 13 times in TTOTC, 8 of those with “big deal”, and one in the preface poem “Life is a game of poker”.

      • Sappho reportedly had descendants, I am of Lesbian blood line. Literally…. Two Grandparents from the village of Plomari about an hour and a half from Mytilini on Lesbos, and One from Lemnos, the other Grandfather was the doctor of Mykonos. All the “funny” Islands! Just kidding. That’s not here nor there with the solve, but I would like to privately share a detail that may help you, although it has not helped me yet, but this detail may blow open something, and I am really not willing to do that. Nero is neuter not masc. or Fem. and I did not know if you were man or women, so Neros if you were masc. Zestos Neros. Let’s figure out how I can get you that detail, it goes with your plank idea.

  21. If you subscribe to the entanglement of Ulysses, maybe you’ll enjoy this.

    Ulysses says the following:
    “A bloated carcass of a dog lay lolled on bladderwrack. Before him the gunwale of a boat, sunk in sand. Un coche ensablé Louis Veuillot called Gautier’s prose. These heavy sands are language tide and wind have silted here. And these, the stoneheaps of dead builders, a warren of weasel rats. Hide gold there. Try it. You have some. Sands and stones. Heavy of the past. Sir Lout’s toys. Mind you don’t get one bang on the ear. I’m the bloody well gigant rolls all them bloody well boulders, bones for my steppingstones. Feefawfum. I zmellz de bloodz odz an Iridzman.”

    My uninteresting interpretations:
    – painting of a bleeding dog on a bridge in TTOTC
    – boat, sunk in sand = the E.C. Waters on Stevenson Island
    – hide gold (duh)
    – stone heaps = The Great South Wall = The Great Wall is a location on Yellowstone Lake as mentioned above.
    – weasel rats = nearby Weasel Creek
    – heavy of the past = heavy loads?
    – bones for my steppingstones = former versions of the poem, but interestingly, the origin comes from “Coldfeet and Queen of Lonesome Island” … perhaps I was closer than I’d thought. Or perhaps I’m fitting the clues to my anchored solution.

    • @EC, I’d be pulling my hair out by now and loading my truck if your solve were pointing toward NM…….lol! It’s just a little bit to intellectualized, like the Doc that hears hoof sounds and thinks zebra when it’s just a quarter horse. But, keep it coming, you got my attention. Nobody every mentions C. Schultz and Santa Rosa, CA…..the airport is named after him there….maybe the characters were all created by that time of his life….I’m so glad FF didn’t hide the TC in Calf!

      • @cholly – With apologies, I can’t make my strange form of logic and faith in “significance” to fit with NM in any of my research. Believe me, I would if I could. I’m extremely tired of Yellowstone and being a touron.

        • @frank in Ukiah, CA been here since ’93 thought about moving to NM years ago but felt the need to be close to the ocean but now I don’t even go over there that much, it’s to cold most days! What about you?

          • cholly I was born in nm been here all my life it does get pretty cold – I was in fort ord back in my younger days – that was the first time I seem the ocean reminds me of the days gone by

      • Coldhoof quarter horse once carried a queen to tears with a smile. Happiness comes in strange ways nigh awkward places. The most enjoyable smile is often accompanied with a tear.

      • Charlie Brown once had a special gal; her name was…..”Peggy Jean.”

        In one way or another; FF doesn’t seem to be a person that would have many…barriers.

        • Someone really needs to ask Peggy if she spent any time with F at Dot Island or Spruce Point. It would definitely fit the Charlie Brown and Ulysses paths.

          And if her answer is no, I could finally flush these thoughts, and forget about planks and a “big deal”.

  22. Does anyone else besides me think that Forrest’s image on Too Far To Walk resembles what is depicted in Ulysses as Stephen Dedalus with his hat and “ashplant”?

      • Jeese DG! That’s not me. I took the pic on the side of the river. But the shadow was added by the book designer. I suspect the shadow came from a pic of Forrest. It was photoshopped in. I originally tried a few with my shadow but Forrest politely told me that Susan, the designer, would add the shadow and all he needed was the perfect river shot…sans shadow. That’s not my shadow…

          • @diggin ‘g, and 8 months from now this same conversation will surface again! But, that would be a good thing….cause it would mean the TC is still out there….

      • Well might want to tell that “shadow” that there’s some unclaimed money from the state waiting. 2 loads worth

  23. A post that is a curious read… if nothing else for the similarly of sliding down something like a rusty fire escape.

    F also mentions “where even memory itself will have never been.” He is likely invoking Mnemosyne, the mother of the nine muses. If F subscribes to Orphism, drinking water from this river in Hades means you will not forget when you begin your new life, “metempsychosis”. He asks “why can’t I take it with me?” If only he knows where it is, then perhaps he will also remember where he left it when he returns… cached like camping equipment year after year.

      • 23kachinas, is that Forrest’s trailer? It Looks like a twin to the Bell trailer I camped in as a kid along the Gallatin River – usually at Swan or Greek Creek. Our trailer was basic – without painted geraniums or a window box.

        We camped every weekend until the snow flew – which was 4th of July some years. It was a huge treat to stay at a West Yellowstone motel – sometimes at The Dude; and buy a turquoise ring at Eagle’s. We skied with Margaret Eagle at Bridger Bowl so she gave us kids a better price on the rings.

        Sometime it would be fun to exchange stories with Forrest about the area. I don’t search or post much any longer so it’s hard to connect.

        • Lia – thank you for sharing your memories.

          Not Forrest’s trailer… I think it may be Irene Rawlings (Chi Omega) trailer (his friend and author of Sister’s on the Fly)

          I’m seriously considering joining the group for next summer, they look like they have a lot of fun!

        • Looks like a fun group 23.

          I’ve had my fill of trailers…as a baby I slept in a cardboard box under the table and then shared a one person, narrow bunk with my sister for 8 years.

          Two close friends and I take girls only trips and have a ball. The last 3 girls trips were searches in Montana. We’re done with that; Next spring were headed for Kennebunkport

          How about your searches? Girlfriends or family along?

  24. TLDR: “Ineluctable modality of the visible.” Too much of the solution comes from possible hints and too little from the poem itself.

    Nine clues that if followed precisely…well I suppose Dot Island is to the point. However I believe you only required half the words of the poem to come to your conclusion and that doesn’t sit well. You’ve abandoned or ignored precise words and phrases like “creek”, “canyon”, “tarry scant” and “marvel gaze”. Why spend over a decade to craft a poem with these when they don’t mean what they say, or when a major indicator is WWWH=tub->Tubb->Ships that never come in->EC Waters? It’s just too tenuous.

    I find the Disney connection implausible, particularly due to the film’s date. I don’t understand your connections WWWH=kids like Disney, nor any of meek/drawing nigh/blaze=Dottyville.

    Name a classic novel and I’ll provide you with nine connections to the poem.

    PS where’s the reference to the “inner organs of beasts and fowls”?

    • Working backwards… F had kidney cancer; Bloom eats kidney with brown gravy. Robin Hood. Then skip from the coincidental Disney to the coincidental Charlie Brown. What about any of Fenn’s writing in TTOTC and the poem isn’t tenuous? If it were as straightforward as he suggests, the box would have been discovered within a few months after he released his book to the public. Glad to see you’re reading the best modernist literature of F’s time.

    • One more… I didn’t actually ignore or abandon the words you deem precise. As follows:

      “creek” – this phrase could derive from John Dos Passos, an artist / poet / friend within the same circles of the time, and an associate of Stuart Gilbert. There are also no creeks on Dot Island.

      “canyon” – Yellowstone Lake is in a canyon. Take the canyon down, south of the E.C. Waters, to Dot Island.

      “tarry scant” and “marvel gaze” – no need to hang around gawking at the chest, and don’t publicize you found it because certain park officials are of the opinion that it belongs to them if it was left there.

      It all makes sense to me, including his strange wordings in scrapbooks, and why he put the Ernest Tubb lyrics in the preface.

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