Treasure Hunting with ARCGIS…

The following paper was written by two university students for their GIS (Geographic Information Systems) course. Since they used Forrest’s treasure hunt as the basis for their paper I got a kick out of it and thought you might too.

ARCGIS, according to Wikipedia:
Esri uses the name ArcGIS to refer to its suite of GIS software products, which operate on desktop, server, and mobile platforms.

by The Goonies LLC: Corey Dennis & Preston Jutte

In 2010, an author named Forrest Fenn hid approximately \$2 million dollars in gold and gems in a chest buried somewhere in the American Rocky Mountains, within New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, or Montana. Fenn published a poem soon after this that he says: “will lead you directly to the treasure.” This report aims to analyze that poem for clear, quantifiable clues that can indexed within ARCGIS to find an area of the United States in which the treasure lies. The most extensive help comes from the poem published in his 2010 book, The Thrill of the Chase. Since then, Fenn has given numerous interviews and published more books where he drops more hints; all of these sources will be taken as fact and used to analyze the whereabouts of his treasure. Our company will give our suggestion for the best place to look.

In 2013, Fenn released his book Too Far Too Walk where he published a map he says “contains the location of the treasure on it”. Unfortunately, the map just excludes the flat, boring part of the original area but is still marginally helpful. The map with the original poem below is as follows:

Base Map
To start, a good map of the United States was needed. We used the United States base map found on the US Census website<1>. We loaded that into GIS and worked with the USDS 1983 coordinate system. From there we clipped an outline of the states down to just the 4 states<2> that are known to possibly hold the treasure: New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. This was saved as its own “Treasure States” layer.

Elevation
Forrest Fenn said in a 2013 interview<3> that the treasure lies between 5000 feet and 10,200 feet in elevation, which gives us our first definite clue. We searched and found a topographic United States map<4>.

We initially ran into trouble because all of the maps had no coordinate system, but we eventually found a raster image that came with values for each color. We converted these to values with the “Raster to Points” tool.

From there we searched through the values by selecting only values inside of that elevation range. We turned those selected points into a separate layer and clipped it to the Treasure States layer.

Hydrology
The poem repeatedly mentions that the path to the treasure follows a water source. Lines like “begin where warm waters halt”, “no paddle up your creak” and “heavy loads and water high” all tell of a location next to a stream of some kind. If that wasn’t enough evidence, Fenn said in an interview in 2015 that “the treasure is wet”<5>. Following this logic, we can conclude that the treasure is very close to a stream, for the sake of conservative evidence, we have said the treasure is within 1000 feet of a stream, even though it is likely closer. We found a hydrologic map from USGS’s website6 and clipped that to our existing map.

From there, we buffered the hydrologic layer out 1000 feet and got rid of the layer beneath, leaving us with everything in the Treasure States that was between the accepted elevation and within 1000 feet of a stream:

Pine Trees
In the same interview<5>, Fenn said, “If I was standing where the treasure chest is, I’d see trees, I’d see mountains, I’d see animals. I’d smell wonderful smells of pine needles, or pinyon nuts, sagebrush.” From here we know there is members of trees from the Genus Pinus in the area of the chest. From USGS’s website<7> we found maps and shapefiles for the distribution of every Pine species out there. We checked distribution maps of every species and found the seven (7) species of Pine that lie within our search area:
Strobiformis
Pondererosa
Flexilis
Edulis
Contorta
Aristata
Albicaulis

Upon researching the odors of these trees, all have typical Pine smells except Contorta, so this was removed from our list. We downloaded the shapefiles from the USGS website and added them to our map. These were merged and clipped to our existing watershed and elevation layer. Below is shown the watershed clipped to the merged Pine tree layer, with a reference of the original Pine tree layers shown beside that:

Which leaves us with our final map.

Our Recommendation
Up to this point, we’ve been dealing with information we can take as fact, and as of now, we have narrowed down the search area to 2% of the original search area. Fenn has stated in an interview that he’d put the treasure somewhere important to him, not just some random spot. Fenn grew up fishing in Yellowstone and that park fits a large portion of the search area<8>. Many, including us, think that it’s likely the Treasure lies there. So now if we introduce that bit of speculation to the equation, we can add a map of Yellowstone and clip to that. We looked up a map of Yellowstone National Park<9> and clipped our final map to the Yellowstone map and came up with this search area in Yellowstone:

Yellowstone Lake takes up a large area of this, so we digitized the lake and hyperlinked that to a google search about the lake, so users could get context of the area.

The search area that lies within Yellowstone is 23,310 acres, or .084% of the original area. It is the recommendation of The Goonies LLC that the client search there, as evidence points to the treasure lying in Yellowstone.

Conclusions
Using Geographic Information Systems, we were able to narrow down the original search area of 27,801,289 acres down to 591,636 acres, or a 98% reduction in size. By introducing Yellowstone to the map, we were able to narrow down the search area to .084% of the starting area of Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Montana.

You can download the original .pdf file with the following link. Be aware that the .pdf file is quite large at 18Mb and may take some time to download but once you get it their maps are much larger and easier to appreciate.
http://lummifilm.com/images/arcgis.pdf

103 thoughts on “Treasure Hunting with ARCGIS…”

1. Wonderful deduction thoughts. Next, it may be wise to further limit the search are by omitting topography that is more than 3 miles from a road, as Forrest has stated he went no more than a few miles from his car.

• Good point, I wonder if the SW can perform that function. After that, they could narrow it down by sagebrush and maybe pinyon? I know each state has issued “eco-region’ maps that locate where sagebrush is, sometimes pinyons.

• When and where did Forrest state he went more than a few miles from his car when he hid the treasure?

2. I would like to see the above 7,000 ft
and
revise the Fenn’s Favorite area to like 92 miles from West Yellowstone radius.

3. There’s a process to it so I like it. I wonder what grade they got on their paper. IMO they may have narrowed it a bit too much.

4. I like it! I tried something like this a year ago but gave up as I am not a techie map person and couldn’t get it to do what I wanted.

If I could change it up (not that I have any say here) I’d pull the map back out to included all the states, not just Yellowstone. Take the already identified area with the water and include areas within 4 or 5 miles of any roads, just to make sure that “less than a few miles” is covered, and get rid of the rest. Now we would be talking a very useful map that is easy to look at and get ideas from for all searchers.

• That’s funny JCM….I did the same thing about 1 1/2 years ago. I also ran into problems getting the software to do what I wanted and finally scrapped it. I agree that inputting a “road filter” would eliminate a huge amount of terrain that is not practically accessible based on what we know about how he hid it.

Good to know the software can do this stuff if you know what you’re doing.

5. That’s still a large area. 🙂

6. I’ve been doing the same process, just manually, 7.5′ minute map by 7.5′ minute map. It’s tedious, but I prefer this approach to trusting software. My method also has the advantage that I can make note of any landmarks with potential tie-ins to the poem, and I ignore vast regions that don’t have relatively nearby road access. Surprised they didn’t add the filter that the chest must be at least 8.25 miles north of Santa Fe. That eliminates more than 75% of New Mexico.

7. What a great research project for these college kids! I’m sure if they also added information gleaned from the blogs they could further limit the search area. Certainly though, they would have to be careful of assumptions…

~ Wisconsin Mike

• Thanks Goonies, like your ideas. Read the blogs for entertainment Mike.

8. Think, analyze…they chose YS. This process of elimination could include canyons with roads, and each of the search areas…BLM, Forrest etc.
Eliminating all but what F has said, still creates a huge area to search and would take years. I’m going on 4+, Dal is 5, and others. That’s by using our imagination and thinking to find areas.
You can’t factor in the human imagination of Fenn.
Faces, spices, teas, marbles, arrowheads, fishing, flying, hiking, war …too endless to fathom for a map key.
I hope they got a good grade and that they get out and enjoy nature this summer, turn a log over.
It’s not the end, it’s the beginning!
Be safe, good luck!
¥Peace ¥

9. Very nice work! To further filter from 2% of the eligible search area, add GNIS data and focus for words and synonyms clustered within a spatial tolerance (I started with 5 miles diameter) that match words or concepts described in the poem… And then you’ll have exactly the full process I used in the beginning of my search three years ago. Yellowstone was also my start.

Where I missed it back then was that I wasn’t searching for homonyms of English, nor indiividually parsed tokens in Spanish, and I hadn’t included text mined from the book nor selected Scrapbook posts to help increase relevance.

But the thought process is excellent for attempting to reduce the area. Well done!

• when they said yellow stone – I did not read anywhere – where they said in our opinion

• Yeah, I agree; Yellowstone solution does not seem likely to me.

10. I must be doing something wrong because all I am doing is interpreting the poem.

• @Karen – this is a logical method of reducing one’s expenses to then be able to get out and look.

• EC,
I do not put my faith into a computer as they are only as good as the information being in put. It is still someone’s solve just in a matter of speaking…IMO

11. I took ff’s comment that the treasure “was wet” to mean only that it was wet at the time (season) that he made the comment. Don’t believe that it has to be a certain distance from a running stream or body of water. I’m thinking streambed that dries in the summer and has snow in winter. That said, the “final” map before Yellowstone is assumed is valuable and does not eliminate my search areas.

12. If you could somehow connect the treasure spot to pinus aristata, one person could conceivably find the treasure in their lifetime.

• piratejim,

That could make New Mexico and Colorado the most likely of locations?

SL

13. I’m up against some smart people. Nice job of the maps. It just went right over my head. 🙂 ha ha.

14. Way to go kids! College yep unfortunately you forgot the historical aspect and should have analyzed and eliminated the places searched so far to narrow down your area further. My middle school at risk students did bring up specific sites by translating the words into Spanish and narrowing the sites further. Question? Did you factor in historical references? Did you read both books? What did you learn from his climbing out the window and getting some blue sky and fresh air. Come out get teaching jobs in Gallup and search on weekends with me. Crazy Teacher from Michigan! kschnuellruth@gmail.com

• Karen, In my opinion you must be proud living in the most patriotic small town in America.

• Hasn’t Fenn came out and said that you don’t need to know history, or read his books, or know any bit of spanish to solve the riddle?

The problem with people that read his books is they take one large clue and put into their solve. That won’t work, he uses the word subtle for a reason.

You also have to keep in mind, the person who wrote the book will see every part of the riddle in the book. That doesn’t necessarily mean the reader will put the pieces together. Very small details are at work here, so small that it would only make sense if you had a solve and certain aspects came together.

At least that is in my opinion, which is just that until someone finds the treasure.

• Karen, I worked in the Forest Service back in the late 70’s as a smoke eater and had our base camp up the road from you in Luna. Took the family back 10-12 years ago, taking in the VLA as we travelled along.

15. W O W – What a nice piece of work.

I disagree with the YNP part.

If they would back up one step, and remove the YNP caveat,
add a filter that eliminates any area outside of 4 to 5 miles
from a road, and delete all private lands, I would pay money
for the results.

Again, a nice piece of work.

JD

• @JD – I have a proposed solution that includes private land, while the chest itself is assumed to be located on public land. I would not recommend eliminating private land from the search, but perhaps the final clue location.

There have also been previous solutions proposed that suggested a similar thought model that several clues began outside the search area, while ending inside the search area.

All in all, though, the method absolutely helps to reduce a very large area of spatial noise and focus in on “value” clusters of geographic names. I’m thrilled to see someone else proposing it given how my comments have been received.

• JD, I agree with that but lets not forget those who were within 200 feet and didn’t know. How can we filter that out?

• Hey JD
Just a quick question, Why would you eliminate private property? Did I miss something that FF might have said? Just asking. Some of my 3 solves are on a small portion of private property…IMO

16. Heh, I did this two years ago.

• Desertphile,
You should ask Dal to post your ‘ hob ‘ map… I’d be interested in watching the comments / postings.

• Funny thing, but when I populated the Google Map with all versions of “Brown,” I left out nine of them. 🙂 I’m searching in those nine places. Heh! Sneaky dog I be, too…..

• Too much knowledge not enough imagination. They assumed it was in YNP and therefore their Scientific process was faulty. Nothing “led” to the Yellowstone conclusion. The exclusion of areas outside of Yellowstone was without logic.

• I kind of agree, but their motivation was how to use GIS to get a good grade and learn GIS, rather than produce a logical minimum search area guaranteed to contain the treasure for FF treasure seekers to actually use. I read their report as an example of the what GIS can do. Given that they offered that YS was their opinion I won’t call the report faulty since basically it produces multiple maps and one final map of YS with additional detail for anyone who likes the YS idea.

If they were paid to incorporate our ideas, I am sure they could produce similar maps, with additional filtering, for areas we would prefer.

Your absolutely right. Even though FF has said in the book that he loved YNP for fishing, bathing and what ever else he said about Montana he has also said that in the book the Santa FE is the best place to live in the world for him to raise a family. He also gave some good reasons to keep Colorado in my solve. I’m sorry, not enough information was used to just come up with YNP. That was just them and their solve as they pertained that out of the book without including anything else about other states…IMO

17. Great approach…Wonderful project…. Been trying that for some time…however, problem begins with “So now if we introduce a bit of speculation to the equation”…..things get tough.
Well done..

• My thoughts too Big Skip! Maybe they meant
“So now if we introduce a bit of “imagination” to the equation”…..things get easier… Lol

Great job guys! Thanks for sharing Dal!

18. Some really nice work, thanks for posting it.

There is a small area in Northern NM that shows both sage brush and pinions according to the maps I found. I’m not sure that pinions are an absolute clue, but there is a large amount of sage bush in WY and MT and that IS a requirement in his NM travel ad, IMO.

FF has not eliminated the possibility that he drove off road to where he parked and walked to the hidey spot. Not a probability but just a possibility. I really don’t think he wants all of us driving around off road in the fields and valleys, etc. IMO

19. This is nice work. I do remember Desertphile’s research, and that came to mind as I read. The absolute jump to YNP seems a just little “stretchy”.

If I was gonna’ hide something like that, I would not set you up to get pinched, at the moment of your most glorious triumph, by Ranger Dick. He knows his 1st General Order by heart. Just like The Major, and many of you.

IMO, speculation, supposition, opinion, hot-air, etc, etc, etc…
DZ

• @DogZebra – you might be surprised to learn that this method is actually what everyone in the chase is doing manually using reasoning instead of using empirical data sets to narrow down the search area within the eligible area. Using their perceived conditions, they have eliminated an immense set of 10″x10″ locations.

What these folks are showing is arguably factual, along with a few ideas they have added with their own reasoning. Some additional tweaking and melding of additional data, and it is perceivable they can hit it on the head.

• EC
They did a nice job, I will give them that. But it is still just another speculation to a solve in their eyes…To me this doesn’t change anything….all IMO

• I agree with you EC.
At least that’s what I have done manually.

• @DogZebra Yeah, the writers of the document have not justified “Yellowstone National Park:” they seem to have no actual data to come to that conclusion. There are a BLOODY HELL of a lot of places in the Rocky Mountains that meet their own requirements; their project looks like much fun, and I’m glad to see people using their wits as well as all tools they have, but it read like confirmation bias to me—- they want it to be Yellowstone, therefore that is where they see their metrics pointing.

But gosh, a mere six miles from where I am now typing there is a site that matches every single metric they used: warm water, pine trees, an actual Brown residence (in the 1910s and 1920s), a shallow and seasonal creek bed, and a seasonal water fall. (And yes, I searched the area already.)

I performed a multi-variable hyperspace analysis already, like the one above: depending on the “orb” (distances) allowed between points in hyperspace, there are no less than 1,290 places in the Rocky Mountains that meet their own metrics, compared to no more than 9 that meet mine.

But then…. it’s in Kansas….

• @Desertphile – Hm. I’d definitely be interested in reviewing your analysis to get to 1200+ locations. I had 18 zones with 4 or more positive hits within 5 miles diameter when I finished my first go. My first trip out was in Ouray, then to Yellowstone, then to Underwood Canyon in SW Wyoming, then over to Sinks. All on my first outing.

In my opinion…

Because I had less than 20, I believed I had to change my thinking to other angles, like art, or literature. Little did I know at the time it’s a complete mishmash of several themes so that the end result path displays correctly.

I have a background in text mining with AI and multivariate analysis methods. I have previously applied this work with GNIS data with accompanying map coords, and used geo-proximity range tolerances (higher or lower than 5 miles diameter) to include or exclude more or less clusters. It is what I have used in the chase, now including a Spanish thesaurus and a new soundex-like algorithm I worked on for discovering potential homonyms using alternating chunk variations of individually translated terms and synonyms with both Spanish and English transformations.

This method is eventually what led me to Seven Falls via Pillars of Hercules. I was previously focused on Mammoth Hot Springs and nearby Pillar of Hercules. There you go, Goonies. Get your text mining AI buddies in on this one, and process the poem first, then include TTOTC text, then branch out from TTOTC findings. You’ll be super surprised and super convinced by what turns up with what I just shared (hint: eventually, The Beatles and all that is enigmatic about them).

P.S. I live in Kansas.

• They should have gotten 98%.

20. Goonies, the map with the poem (first picture) is not the same as the map in my book. Did you get the pic from a TFTW book? Or did you modify the map? Do others see a difference? Thanks for sharing–interesting work!

21. Speculation is where it all goes awry and lands the guesser back at square 0.

• @Muset – I submit that in such a problem, speculation is an absolute must to find the solution. One must hypothesize about the potential before one is then sufficiently motivated to make a physical move. This is present in all forms of science.

• Agreed about an hypothesis but then must follow an experiment designed to test it.. The paper has a conclusion that comes without testing the hypothesis.

It’s not wise to be soft on university students. However, in this case I think the students were meant just to learn how to use the software; and so they can be proud of themselves if they think they deserve it.

22. So, it’s back up to two million. Nice.

23. I think their project was a great way to demonstrate what GIS can do.

What can GIS do? It can let a person know what the size of their search area is based on their input criteria, which in turn can be used as a tool in the actual search. Each of us would likely change the criteria if these university students set up multiple layers (additional layers as well) so that we could play around with the criteria to our preferences. Their motivation was to demonstrate the capabilities of GIS and they used a real world example to do it. I applaud their project as did their instructor.

What can’t GIS do? It can’t show you were the treasure is. Again, these students understood that limitation as they demonstrated how a useful tool could be produced, learned more about their chosen area of study, and demonstrated the same to their instructor.

Naturally, there are still thousands of places inside their search area(s) that could be sensible search locations. Also, everyone who has already searched a particular sensible search location knows that such a GIS analysis was not necessary in order to determine their location was sensible.

I enjoyed reading about their demonstration of how GIS can be used to produce a tool for this particular treasure search.

24. This was such an enjoyable read ,great job ,thank you for sharing this !Yellowstone has not been one of my top places to hunt for indulgence but this has me re – thinking a few things !

25. saw this on reddit..really cool stuff and helpful, no doubt.

26. The Goonies have been kind enough to offer up their .pdf file. The benefit of the .pdf is that the map images are much larger and are easier to appreciate and examine.

http://lummifilm.com/images/arcgis.pdf

• Thanks Dal, Goofy & Goonies. Sounds funny.
This should be interesting & helpful.

• hey Dal

Did you see my comment about Lenape Indians and how WWWH is not on the east coast but could be where a river bends and there are pockets of warm waters?

• Thanks Dal, Goofy & Goonies. I was hoping to get the exact coordinates that they came up with to see if it includes the area that I’ve been searching! The pdf download will be helpful.

• not to get greedy, but, any chance we could get a “shape file”? (.shp) or a layer for GE?

27. Two years ago I created a map of all sources of warm water (above 55 degrees Fahrenheit) and all topological and sociological instances of “Brown” and variations of “Brown” (such as “Braun”). I also calculated the distances between all points. Six months ago I added another metric (it’s a secret! hee hee hee haw haw sinister laughter inserted here). The result was nine areas to search, of which I have had time to look at two. I fully expect to post “selfies” with the treasure chest by Fennboree 2017. 🙂

P.S. IT’S IN KANSAS!

28. OK. I’m supposed to have bugged out for a while. Doesn’t mean I can’t lurk in the background….old habits being hard to break and all…

Interesting to see analytical tools supporting intuitive and BOTG knowlege. Thanks Goonies for that. D-phile, you took the fast-track without attending class! What are you, home-schooled? ‘-)

Also interesting to see how many new handles this post elicited. I like that. Hello, all.

OK, now back to my previously scheduled program…

29. College professors will accept just about anything these days. It’s not near a stream…at least not like these two describe. Come see the devestation from the 2013 floods in Colorado and you’ll see why it’s not near a stream.

• @toughshed – I’ve seen the devastation you describe firsthand. Old Stage Road is still not yet repaired, and Seven Falls was sold because of it. But creeks, falls, and drainages like Hully Gully are actually relevant in this case, in my opinion. And, if you read My War For Me, and using trig, 250 degrees from the center of a shape like a jade bi (to 200 feet concentric, then 500 feet concentric) directly marks a point up such a cluse.

30. Are the ‘Goonies’ open to ideas/suggestions on how to tweak their program? Such as north side of mountains only as this is where it is cold and in the woods and wet too….also, other than YNP go to areas closed to hunting, (game preserves)….so you can see animals and less chance of a hunter finding the TC….what else, avoid all Native lands and just for the heck of it stay 16.5 miles south of Billings, FF wants the folks from TX to have fun not go bankrupt….no need to go all the way to the Canadian border searching! My thoughts…and good job! Thanks.

31. There is one problem I do see and it could help them eliminate more area. Anyone that studies hydrology knows that rivers create vast canyons that are not safe without the proper gear. If they used a topography map and eliminate any area where the grade is too step due to these canyons they could shrink there number even more. It does look like a lot of there area could be canyons like this. I still believe the poem will lead to the chest not a mapping program.

• @The Count: agreed, eliminate all grades/contour over ‘x’ degrees, maybe 20 – 25% grade or greater….the 79 or 80 y.o. man won’t go rule of thumb….IMO Wonder what the ‘Goonies’ program would get if they tried a different area like some Nat. Park in CO? They applied this to a known area, YNP, why not try it on some other locations as a control test or maybe they did?

32. Just one more compliment from my side…

But first, I am astounded at the amount of criticism from people willing to voice. It is clear to me that the critics have no understanding or appreciation of the effort required or the value obtained by filtering out 300K square miles of search area, down to 2% or less of the eligible area for further analysis. Please, people, consider the math, the data collection, and former research that went into all of this in order to provide these tools for students to inspire such creativity. The b*ing is unbecoming. We’re all standing on the shoulders of giants just to have the privilege to discuss it.

With that said, keep going Goonies. You’re absolutely on the right track, and the motivation is definitely there to continue.

• It was a terrific context that these students used as a fun basis for a project whose objective was to get them to understand the functionality of an industry-standard GIS program.

Well done Goonies. Your audience was wide and your opinions valid– but not your conclusions, considering the Chase.

33. Maybe this is what F was talking about when he said he was surprised no one figured out a possible angle to solve the poem…analytical elimination!

34. Isn’t the poem good for anything? I think Dal should use their map for his new dart board !

35. Ha Ha! Yes! But is this in close proximity to the “home of Brown”? Goodness I’m hung up on that clue. Fenn used the word home not house…to me that means more of a habitat rather than a structure, something for an animal. He capitalized Brown because you can capitalize nicknames….his nickname for either brown trout or brown bears is my best guess. Most likely trout. Like where the picture in his book of the secret fishing area might be….I also thought Brown might be a high school mascot but that doesn’t work with the wilderness. I LOVE THIS POEM!!!!

It’s a good academic exercise; hope they get good grade for their work. But as realistic tool to find treasure chest it’s fairly useless. As FF has said so often, imagination is more important than knowledge; and these maps are all about knowledge.

Yet, if this knowledge leads more people to Yellowstone, that’s fine with me, cause like my opinion is >>> Yellowstone is a massive red herring. Another thing … the maps make huge assumptions, not the least of which is that they define poem words/phrases in the most obvious ways, again that smacks of lack of imagination.

Computers are great as way to gain knowledge. But in this case, imagination is solely in the mind of FF. I’ll stick with his poem, thanks.

Ken 🙂

• Ken – I have to agree with you to some extent. I think the map would be much better if it included the whole search area. This would give potential areas to possibly identify places to check out, but ultimately it is the poem that has the information to get a person there.

Considering that there are people who have arrived and been within 200 feet, and still not figured out five to seven of the last clues, anyone just walking every canyon based upon this map would also walk past the chest too if they haven’t figured out the clues in the poem. The imaginative person who finds the treasure chest will find it with the poem, not a map (though a map can help).

• JCM – you’ve hit the nail on the head, in my opinion.

37. Really interesting. The first time I read the poem, it put me in West Yellowstone, Mt. ……But he also has lived in, and loves new mexico… I also have one long shot there. Hopefully someday I’ll get to drive out and have a look.

38. I like this thinking – not as a solve, but in order to find a viable starting point.

I would eliminate all of FF’s STATED favorite areas. You don’t really think he would put it there do you? Well, maybe you do and that’s OK – I just don’t think so.

Secondly, I would overlay all hot springs. Begin it where…………if you don’t start in the right place………you will be forever lost.

39. Why has YNP been ruled out? I know some have said it has been “over Searched”, but until the TC is found, that’s my first area to look into. Of course I’m 1, 700 miles away, but that’s where I intent to head first.

• Long-
Nothing in the qualifying search area has been ruled out. Some folks may have decided that certain places are not areas they intend to search but Forrest has ruled out only certain kinds of areas..ie places over 10,200 feet or places below 5,000ft…places where an 80 year old man could not go….etc..
YNP is still a very popular place for folks to search for the chest…but make sure you do your research and understand what is possible before you head out.

• Thank you for the reply Dal. I understand a “hunch” will be no good. Reading as much as I can, all the books, posts and other blogs. Won’t set out until I am convinced and feel positive about the “spot” of the TC.

• Dal is correct, of course: until the chest if found, Yellowstone is completely in play. That said, if you were to plot a “hit map” of where searchers have been in the four-state area, I suspect Yellowstone would be disproportionately canvassed (if this blog’s posters are a representative, random sample of all those searching). So you might consider asking yourself: if you had never read TTOTC, knew nothing of Forrest’s past, and had only the Poem to go by, would you put all your eggs in the YNP basket?

40. I am thankful for these young folks because they help me, a visual learner, to see how much area I don’t necessarily have to consider as I ponder where to start. It is my firm opinion that one will not know that their quest is “close” until they are almost upon the chest. I envision something along the line of being in the wood and cresting a mound, or going around a hillock and a vista that you had never imagined comes into view, and not many humans have seen. And then you’ll know you’re close.

• @swwot, and anyone…

Has Forrest been asked if the poem’s clues in their entirety are located inside the search zone?

An example of the inverse might be: Clue 1 and 2 start in Utah, but end in the search zone.

Or, a concept I am exploring without this answer… I am wondering if many or all of the clues in the poem are completely external to the search zone, like Thermopylae for example. Perhaps then these external clues when put together lead the searcher to the end of the poem which (if interpreted correctly) provide a detailed location of where the chest can be found within the search zone.

Just wondering as I think about possibilities.

• E.C.: it’s certainly within the realm of possibility that one or more of the clues are in locations external to the map. That said, for my solution all clues are well within the boundaries of the colored map.