My Total Eclipse Search in Thistle Creek…

SUBMITTED OCTOBER 2017
by Hoblin

 

 

As a 5th-grader in 1979, living in the midwestern US, we learned about that year’s total eclipse in school.  We made pinhole viewers in class and were allowed outside at the appropriate time to view the shadows that they made.  It was pretty cool, but I was envious of those in the Pacific Northwest that were in the path of totality, and I decided right then and there that I would definitely get myself to the right place for the 2017 eclipse.  I even saved the next day’s newspaper to remind myself!

Fast-forward to 2012, when I first heard about the Treasure Chest while living in Ohio.  Intrigued, I studied the clues for a few days and tried to solve them.  Living so far from the search area was daunting, though.  Unless I had a perfect solve, it just wasn’t practical for me to fly out to the Rockies on a hunch.  I bookmarked the poem, and put the search in the back of my mind, only looking into it once or twice per year.

Two years ago, I realized that I missed the mountains, and decided to move back to the Denver area, where I had lived in the late 1990s.  My request for reassignment at work was granted, but with planning the move, the treasure was the last thing on my mind.  A few weeks before my move, I was at the dentist’s office, and in the waiting room I came across an article in Outside Magazine about the treasure hunt.  Wow!  I would soon be living in Colorado, and almost any search area would be within a day’s drive of my new home!

After my arrival in Colorado, I had a few days before I had to start work, and I decided that I had to spend a day in the mountains, coupled with the treasure hunt.  I spent a day searching the Brown’s Canyon area, but found myself just hiking around without any direction.  Still, it was a day with spectacular views, affirming my decision to return to the Rockies.

I didn’t search at all in 2016, but that Spring I looked into where the path of totality for the eclipse would occur.  I was excited to see that it passed through the Grand Tetons.  I would be able to combine my eclipse trip with a search in Yellowstone!  I was dismayed that nearly every hotel in Wyoming was booked for those days 18 months in advance, but I was able to make a reservation in Gardiner, Montana.

As the trip got closer, I thought that I would be able to narrow down my search area.  Instead, the more I looked at maps and read clues, the more directions my mind went.  If you follow the Firehole River south, it heads toward Goose Lake, which is next to Feather Lake.  Goose feathers are “down”, as in a down pillow.  Was this the “Canyon down” in the poem?  I just kept coming up with more and more possibilities!

On August 20, the day before the eclipse, I arrived in the Grand Tetons.  Making my way toward Yellowstone and my hotel, I passed by a place with exceptional beauty on the Snake River named Oxbow Bend, and decided that it would be the perfect place to view the eclipse from.  There was a small parking lot there, enough to hold about 20 cars, so I didn’t know if I could actually get a spot there the next morning, but I was determined.

Looking at a map of Yellowstone that night, everything suddenly clicked in my mind.  Because it is “too far to walk” between the first two clues, you are driving.  Therefore, the first two clues refer to “towns” rather than geographical features.  You are driving the road from Madison Junction (where warm waters halt) to Canyon Village, and then taking it south (down).

From there, you “put in” below the Mud Volcano (Mr Fenn said to “show the poem to a child.”  If you ask a child to name some things that are brown, “mud” is a likely response).  This leads you to LeHardy Rapids (he also said that “you have to use your imagination” that hearty is the opposite of meek).  You definitely can’t paddle up a rapids!  My confidence was growing.

On Eclipse Morning, I got into my car at 1:30 AM to beat the traffic, and headed toward Oxbow Bend.  I was the only car on the road!  It was amazing to zip through the park, going the speed limit the entire way, which is unheard of if you’ve ever experienced Yellowstone traffic.  I saw deer and a fox, and the steam coming off of Sulphur Cauldron in the 32-degree weather was awesome.  Plus, my drive took my past Canyon, past the Mud Volcano, past LeHardy Rapids.  Would I actually see the eclipse and find the treasure on the same day?

I arrived at my desired parking spot at 4:45 AM, with three or four other vehicles getting there before me.  I got out of my car to view the night sky.  At high elevation, miles from any city lights, you can literally see every single star in the sky, and it is breathtaking.  Because of the cold, I retreated to my car, gazing out the window at Orion, waiting for sunup.  In the dark, I was hoping that my location was as spectacular as I had remembered from the day before.  Well, the sun did eventually come up and my memory had served me correctly.  This was where I would be viewing the eclipse from!

By 6:00, the parking lot was full.  There were about 40 people gathered there, and we all got to know each other a little bit as the hours passed.  During this time, I was able to take photos of the mountains to the west, chat with people, and watch the pelicans in the river.  A park ranger showed up because a mother grizzly with two cubs had been spotted in the area, and he was there to monitor the situation.

At 10:17, the moon made first contact with the sun.  We all donned our eclipse glasses and looked toward the sun in the east.  A few moments later, someone shouted “Look!  Bears!”  We all turned around to the west just in time to see the three bears emerge from the water on the far bank of the river.  I reached down for my camera, and in that brief instant they had all disappeared into the woods.  It was as if the wise mother bear knew that if she waited until exactly 10:17, she would be able to lead her cubs across the road and into the river unnoticed!

The eclipse itself was amazing, and well worth waiting 38 years for.  We were rewarded with almost two minutes of totality from our location, and words can’t explain what a truly incredible experience it was.  The ranger was familiar with the bears’ habits, and knew where they were most likely to emerge from the forest, although he couldn’t predict when.  I thought about waiting around after the eclipse with my binoculars to get a better look at them, but I had a treasure to find!

I hopped into the car and headed toward LeHardy Rapids.  I parked, walked down to the river, and began searching for the blaze.  Unfortunately, the road went right alongside the river.  I could hear a constant flow of traffic whizzing by, and it became apparent that the location was not remote enough for Mr Fenn to lie down for eternity with the chest.  Also, the only blaze I could see was a long, thin stretch of white rocks in the middle of the river, which was in plain sight of anybody nearby.  My map showed that there was a stream feeding into the opposite side of the river named Thistle Creek, but I couldn’t locate it visually, and couldn’t tell from my map exactly where it was.

I spent the next few days exploring the Firehole and Madison River areas as well as the rest of Yellowstone.  I saw elk, moose, deer, bison, and a coyote, and I enjoyed the nightlife in Gardiner.  All in all, it was a pretty great trip.  Plus, I got to see the total eclipse, and fulfilled a promise that I had made to myself when I was ten years old!

After returning home, I spent some time researching some of the places I had looked into in Yellowstone, including Thistle Creek.  I had always been intrigued by Mr Fenn’s comment that if you don’t know where to begin the search, you might as well stay home and play Canasta.  As others have pointed out, “canasta” is the Spanish word for “basket.”  Imagine my intrigue when I learned that American star-thistle is also known as basket-flower!  How ingenious, I thought, of him to give a clue to the end point of the search while making it sound like a clue to the beginning point!

I then looked into LeHardy Rapids, and found that while most maps label everything north of Fishing Bridge as the Yellowstone River, most geologists actually consider LeHardy to be the official boundary between the lake and the river.  So if you are traveling south toward the rapids and Thistle Creek, the end of the river is definitely drawing nigh.  Mr Fenn has said that a knowledge of geography would be helpful.

I then found a few other things that made Thistle Creek seem like a logical solve:

In “The Thrill of the Chase”, page 91, Mr Fenn states that “The sound of the rushing water was stronger than the noise of the idling engine.”  Well, if I was on the far side of the rapids, the sound would drown out the noise of the traffic from west side of the river.

TTOTC also mentions Miss Ford.  I’d have to ford the river to get to the creek.

in TTOTC, page 111, the words “DO NOT TOUCH” are capitalized and in bright red type.  Because of its sharp spines, thistle is a plant that you DO NOT want to TOUCH.

While Mr Fenn has stated that rappelling down cliffs, as well as other activities that an 80-year-old couldn’t do while carrying the chest, would not be necessary, he also said “It is always a good idea to wear a personal flotation device when you enter fast moving water.”  I found it curious that instead of telling searchers not to enter fast moving water, he instead offered safety advice for doing so.  Hmm . . .

I decided that I had to go back to Yellowstone and search Thistle Creek.  Late summer would be when the water flow was the slowest, so I returned in mid-September.  I would drive to Cody, Wyoming on Tuesday, retrieve the chest on Wednesday, and drive back to Denver on Thursday.  I captured a screenshot from Google Earth of the location of Thistle Creek and saved it to my phone.

I bought some wading pants online, and went to my local fishing outfitter to acquire wading boots.  The clerk offered advice about the three brands of boots they carried, and I avoided telling her that I wouldn’t be using them for fishing!  As it turned out, they only had my size in one of the brands, so those were the ones I bought.

I came home, ate lunch, and figured that I should try on the boots with my wading pants to make sure everything fit.  Well, what happened next blew my mind.  For the first time, I noticed that the photo on the box of wading shoes was taken from the exact same place where I had watched the eclipse!  Definitely, definitely a good omen.

I arrived back at LeHardy Rapids, consulted my Google Earth map, and with my binoculars was able to find where Thistle Creek emptied into the river.  I put on my wading gear and started across the river.  Well, I made it about 12 feet.  The river bottom was rocky and slick, and I didn’t have a flotation device.  I simply didn’t feel safe.  Instead of the 50-yard trek across the river, I would have to take the back way in, hiking 3-plus miles across land through bear country.

I drove to Fishing Bridge and started north along the Howard Eaton Trail.

The trail started along the northernmost part of Yellowstone Lake, then veered into the remnants of a forest fire.  The next generation of trees was about three feet high.  In 20 years, hikers here will be traveling through a dense pine forest at this point.

It took about an hour to reach LeHardy Rapids.  From the overlook, I could see a dozen people on the boardwalk across the river to the west, but I had the entire east side of the river to myself.  I continued the hike to Thistle Creek, and then departed the trail to follow the creek down to the Yellowstone River, searching for treasure as I went.  Because of downed trees and steep banks, I had to cross the creek a few times on the way down.  I felt like I was brave and in the wood!  Of the four million visitors to Yellowstone this year, there was a chance that I was the only one to hike down the banks of this creek.

I made my way down to the river, and at the point where the two met I was looking high and low for either a blaze or a treasure chest.  I wondered if the people on the other side of the river were looking at me, wondering why this crazy person was poking around the waters.  I slowly returned up the creek, searching under rocks and logs along the way, making sure to stop and survey my surroundings every few feet to see if I could discern a blaze.  In all, I spent an hour exploring the stream.  This is the view of Thistle Creek emptying into the Yellowstone River.  As you can see, there is no paddling up this creek!

At one point, a bright orange marker on a tree appeared in view, marking the Howard Eaton Trail.  Was that the Blaze?  I looked quickly down, and then above, below, around, and across at this point.  No such luck.  Eventually, I reached the trail again.  I followed the creek east for a while past the trail, but it was difficult.  The creek was surrounded by hip-high tall grass, and there were football-sized “boulders” hidden underneath.  I began worrying that this would be a terrible place to suffer a twisted ankle.  And then I thought about bears.  And then I thought about the weather forecast of a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon.  Again, I just didn’t feel like I was being responsible at this point.  From my location, Thistle Creek would soon split into two forks, and each would go another mile.  There was no way for me explore them both in their entirety and return to the trailhead safely before dark.

I took the trail back to my vehicle at Fishing Bridge, happy.  I had just spent three hours in the park and seen only three other hikers during that stretch.  I experienced amazing scenery and overcame my fear of bears.  I took the path down the creek that very few have taken, and I gave the search my best shot.  I spent two nights enjoying the nightlife of Cody, Wyoming, chatting with both locals and tourists.  On the drive home I had a great time, and great meal, at The Forks tavern in Livermore, Colorado.  In summary, I didn’t locate The Treasure, but found my own treasures along the way.

My three takeaways from this adventure:

1)  If you are in Gardiner, Montana and want a cheeseburger and a beer, there is no better place to go than the Two-Bit Saloon.

2) If you are driving through Yellowstone in the middle of the night, there is no better CD to listen to than Neil Young‘s “Harvest Moon”.

3)  I still kinda feel like the treasure may be on the banks of Thistle Creek, but that I somehow overlooked it.  For safety reasons, only explore this area if you have a companion.

Hoblin-

40 thoughts on “My Total Eclipse Search in Thistle Creek…

  1. Interesting solve. Yet if FF said that the chest was not in a dangerous place and has said it is not near the Rio Grande river canyon (because of the danger), then why would you think the chest was on the other side of a river 50 yards wide in bear country? Seems like you are forcing your solve by finding support in odd comments in TTOTC. What were your nine clues and what is the solve to each of your clues? And you took a three mile hike ONE WAY to reach the spot but yet FF did this in one afternoon? TWICE! Here’s my suggestion. Make a checklist of fatal flaws based on FF actual comments. If your solve violates even one of them, save your time and money and don’t go. On a positive note, you had a great vacation and had a few beers in a beautiful place. Thanks for the post.

    • Thanks for your comments. I did not find the treasure, so obviously my solve was not correct. Having said that, the following is simply to provide the logic that I used, and not to say that I was correct in my thinking:

      1) Begin it where warm waters halt. This is where the Firehole River empties into the Madison River

      2) Take it in the canyon down. This refers to Canyon Village

      3) Not far, but to far to walk. An affirmation that you are driving from Madison Junction to Canyon Village 26 miles away.

      4) Put in below the home of Brown. I don’t think that the capitalization of “Brown” is important (or the non-capitalization of “canyon”), so the Mud Volcano fit the clue

      5) From there it’s no place for the meek. You have to leave the beaten path

      6) The end is ever drawing nigh. This location is the end of the Yellowstone River

      7) There’ll be no paddle up your creek. You leave the river and enter the creek

      8) Just heavy loads and water high. The creek is filled with rocks and logs (heavy loads) and enters the river from a higher elevation (water high)

      9) If you’ve been wise and found the blaze. I did not find the blaze, which probably means that my solve was wrong.

      That was how I interpreted the clues. I go hiking frequently in the mountains, and don’t know of any place in the Rockies that isn’t home to bears, mountain lions, or rattlesnakes, but I often see parents with children on these trails. I don’t think that my solve was more dangerous than any other place.

      My trek was one hour each way, so it is entirely possible to do it round-trip twice in an afternoon. I wasn’t carrying an extra 22 pounds with me, though, so I could see it taking longer with the added weight.

      Again, thanks for the feedback. And yes, it was a great vacation!

      • Very nice, was very sound reasoning.
        Hopefully you took lots of pictures, maybe something later will trigger what the blaze could be, then you rifle through your pics and find that ah ha.

      • Hoblin- heres how i got to LeHardy Rapids.

        i start big and get smaller with landmarks. for instance to get to dallas texas begin at earth, go down to north america, then the united states, then texas, and finally dallas.
        so for LeHardy its wwwh-all of yellowstone park.
        canyon down is everywhere outside the crater that was once a volcano that today is filled with water as yellowstone lake.
        too far to walk south from ranger Gary Brown’s house. (below hob).
        no place for meek- then it must be a place for the hardy, stout hearted men.
        LeHardy Rapids.
        my blaze was a trailmarker that said “see rapids below”
        look=see quickly=rapid(s) down=below.
        opinion mine.

    • Hi Hoblin, and thanks for sharing your search adventures! I was just down the road from you a spell watching the eclipse from atop Snow King mountain in Jackson. (And I, too, took the opportunity for a treasure search a couple days before the eclipse — a story that will have to wait for another day.)

      Since you enumerated your 9 clues for Toughshed, I offer what I hope you’ll take as constructive criticism on your first five. Your WWWH is of course a common one shared by Dal and others, and has good things going for it. I don’t believe it’s the correct WWWH, but it’s better than most. Your #2 is more original — taking the road from Madison Junction to Canyon Village. Where I find fault with it is the apparent hand-waving of “down.” Canyon Village is both higher in elevation and mostly east of Madison Junction, so you’re not taking “it in the canyon down.” But if we ignore that flaw for now, certainly Canyon Village is too far to walk, so your #3 is not unreasonable.

      “4) Put in below the home of Brown. I don’t think that the capitalization of “Brown” is important (or the non-capitalization of “canyon”), so the Mud Volcano fit the clue.”

      Again, an original interpretation of HoB to my recollection. And actually, the capitalization of Brown fits if you’re using Mud Volcano because in this case Brown is a stand-in for a proper name. Where it’s a bit weak is in a lack of support for “home.”

      “5) From there it’s no place for the meek. You have to leave the beaten path”

      A sensible interpretation *if* your foot journey is supposed to begin in close proximity to Mud Volcano. But LeHardy Rapids and Thistle Creek are over 4 km to the southeast of Mud Volcano, so the poem’s lack of precision in describing the “put in” point should be concerning.

      Overall, I think your spot involves a bit too much hiking, but at least it would be theoretically achievable to cover the round trip distance twice in an afternoon, which is more than can be said for some other solutions I’ve read over the years. You didn’t mention it, but I do hope you were carrying bear spray in that area. You also don’t mention any trekking companions, which ratchets up the danger factor — not just from bears, but more benign mishaps. But you came away without misadventure and showed some good judgment where needed (fording the Yellowstone, worry about turning an ankle). And of course you got to experience the spectacle of the only syzygy in the Solar System that reveals the pearly white solar corona and prominences. And you did so from one of the more beautiful backdrops in the U.S.

      • Zap
        Hoblin also doesn’t mention the use of solar glasses of some sort either when viewing the eclipse, does that mean he didn’t have It?

        Did Fenn have these things when he was wondering around YS by himself? Bear spray is to be used as a last resort, I doubt many people actuallu know what to really do if they encounter a bear.

        Bear country is a possibility of where the TC is when you apply some wisdom from Fenn and how he described his time in VN, and his many late night requisitions from the mess hall.

        Ruling out bear country is similar to ruling out words in the poem. Proceed as you will.

      • W.R. — I’m sure Hoblin had eclipse glasses, otherwise he/she(?) would have had great difficulty driving away from his/her eclipse spot. 😉 I also expect they had bear spray. I don’t rule out grizzly bear country — after all, I’m quite confident the chest is in Montana. But I think bears are comparatively rare visitors along the path one needs to take to and from the chest. That doesn’t mean one shouldn’t be prepared for the possibility — particularly mentally.

        • I see, Sorry if I went too anti-nanny, I see lots of comments, that nannies people. If seekers, (not Seeker) can’t use common sense, I’m for allowing the herd to thin itself.
          Happy seeking.

  2. My solve fits perfectly with almost every clue, and every remark Forrest has made. The only exception being the blaze which will require an onsite visit to solve. I Can’t give any details until after next summer when I will make my trip. But I will say that logic dictates the answer when you consider every comment, the poem, and certain events in his life.

  3. The Howard Eaton Trail is a great option for the blaze. The trail was still in use when ff was a kid but has since been abandoned, which would help explain how ff could have found his secret spot which no one else will stumble across for the next 100+ years.

    • correction – a majority of the trail is abandoned. I believe the section Hoblin was on is still in use. The total length is 157 miles through Yellowstone Park and closely follows the grand loop road.

  4. Great story and solve. Enjoyed your pictures very much. The Forks in Livermore is my old stomping ground…wonder if they still have the pool table in tbe back room. The Grand Teton is my fsvorite climb ever. Your story brought back some nice memories. Loved the synchronicity of the fishing boots and eclipse. Thanks and happy hunting.

  5. Nice solve, Hoblin. And even better eclipse spot. Any way to see the poem through to there? Many are interested in oxbows and omegas.

  6. Travel along with HOBlin and see where He’s gone. Lol Garden Montana is a beautiful place! Thx for sharing! My family and I drove from Phoenix, AZ to Oregon just to be in path of totally. Completely worth it!

  7. I like the way you think. Your reasoning makes perfect sense to me.
    I wish that statement was a compliment. But the number of times that something seemed like a good idea at the time to me, and bit me in the rear, has been more often than I had gained wisdom from. So, take it as a cautionary tale.
    That being said, going up a small draw or creek, similar to Thistle Creek, is what I always imagined.

  8. Dearest Hoblin,
    I am happy for you that you experience one of your lifelong goals! The total eclipse in it’s full glory!
    Hoblin, I turely enjoy your written adventure at Yellowstone!
    The pictures were breathtaking, it’s as if Yellowstone is so beautiful, that it’s like a living fairytale!
    I can’t imagine that 4 million people visit Yellowstone,
    It’s remarkable that 4 million people can be accommodated at that park!
    Thank you Hoblin for posting your adventure and the pictures!
    Thank you also Dal for being the perfect Host, Mr. Fenn must be so proud to have you on his team!
    I can’t wait till Mr. Fenn’ new book comes out!!!
    ” Once Upon A While “, I so look forward to reading it! What a busy, busy man Mr. Fenn is and incredibly generous. I believe I heard that all monies are going to Preston and most likely the needy!
    Mr. Fenn is definitely one in a BILLION!
    God bless the truth,
    Sincerely, MJ

  9. Hoblin, Really liked your story and most of your solutions to the clues. I guess I’m one of the few searchers who comments here that believes “And take it in the canyon down, Not far, but too far to walk” isn’t literal, as far as it being too far to walk.

    I believe it’s been established that WWWH is the first clue. Most believe the 2nd clue is “And take it in the canyon down” but the controversy is the distance you need to go to “Put in below the home of Brown.” If we can believe Fenn and his quotes, he said in various ways that:
    “Many people have found the first clue but didn’t know it. ”
    “Lots of people were within 500 ft of the treasure. ”
    “Although others (searchers) were at the starting point, I
    think their arrival was an aberration and they were oblivious
    to its connection with the poem.”
    “I cannot tell you how many searchers have identified the first clue correctly, but certainly more than several.” So it seems Fenn told us many times and ways that when you are at the first clue (WWWH), you are within 500 feet of the treasure.

    Regarding the second clue and distance needed to “take it in the canyon down.” Fenn stated multiple times:
    “A few have identified the first two clues.”
    “People were within 200 ft didn’t know they were so close and walked right on by the treasure.”

    So at clue 2 you are now within 200 feet of the treasure, which makes the distance between those clues 300 feet. I really think that distance is close together, but I guess I’m one of the few who used math/ logic and truly believe this. I just don’t understand how people use a particular WWWH which Fenn says is within 500 feet of the treasure chest, and then drive great distances as they “take it in the canyon down.”

    All IMO since I’m not holding Fenn’s treasure chest. thanks again for sharing. Your pictures were beautiful.

    • Cynthia, have you thought that the searchers who have found the first or second clues are not the same searchers that were within the 200 or 500′ of the TC. I don’t think Fenn ever said that they were. Those statements that he made were not in conjunction with each other, but stand alone to my knowledge. So at clue #3 you could be a number of miles from clue #1. Just saying, imo.

      • Yep, pretty sure there is a quote from Fenn where people/searchers (what difference does it make?) were at WWWH and 500 feet from treasure, and I know for sure he talked about a guy telling him where he searched, what his solutions were and at the second clue, Fenn said he recognized the description of the place where this searcher was and Fenn said he was within 200 feet of the chest. I need to find the exact statements for both of them. Will try to find them.

        I found one of the quotes regarding the 200 feet. It was a conversation between Fenn and a journalist. Fenn said “And that’s an approximate (200 feet) but it’s pretty close because some people have told me exactly where they were and i recognize that spot and I know that it’s about 200 feet from where I hid the treasure. To my knowledge no one has come closer than 200 feet.” Journalist:”And why is it, that they gave up before finding it?” Fenn: “No they didn’t give up; they left the poem.”

        I will try to find the wwwh and 500 feet quote.

        Since I don’t believe NFBTFTW should be taken literally, maybe I’m wrong and I shouldn’t take the wwwh=500 feet from treasure and 2nd clue =200 feet from treasure statements from Fenn literally. Hmmmm.

        • Cynthia, you said:
          I found one of the quotes regarding the 200 feet. It was a conversation between Fenn and a journalist. Fenn said “And that’s an approximate (200 feet) but it’s pretty close because some people have told me exactly where they were and i recognize that spot and I know that it’s about 200 feet from where I hid the treasure. To my knowledge no one has come closer than 200 feet.”

          Where is that quote? If it is correct I see no connection to wwwh in it.

        • Cynthia, you wrote ->
          Fenn said “And that’s an approximate (200 feet) but it’s pretty close because some people have told me exactly where they were and i recognize that spot and I know that it’s about 200 feet from where I hid the treasure. To my knowledge no one has come closer than 200 feet.” Journalist:”And why is it, that they gave up before finding it?” Fenn: “No they didn’t give up; they left the poem.”
          ………..

          Would it be possible for you to provide a link to where that quote may be found? Or give the name of the publication? I’m certain there are many here who would to review that article.
          Thank you…loco

      • ManOwar~ ‘Those statements that he made were not in conjunction with each other, but stand alone to my knowledge.’

        While the comments about how close, people, searchers were stated over many years…
        SFpodcast [media thread]; “It’s not a matter of trying, it’s a matter of thinking. Sure I mean, people figured the first couple of clues and unfortunately walked pass the treasure chest”
        Whether 500′ or 200′ in distance… it does ‘seems’ that those who had and/or at the first two clues are within both distances. [give or take]
        But if we only use on AFT comment and run with it, that could lead to a problems. IMO, most, if not all, the AFT comments combined ‘seem’ to agree with Cynthia’s thoughts overall. [regarding the first two clues and distance from the chest, comments]

        Cynthia,
        I also would like to see the source of the ‘journalist’ comment you quoted, if you can find it.

  10. Have any searchers looked or tried to find where the family stashed their seasonal camping gear every end of season as they headed out for TX? (Why didn’t I think of that)….some old growth Tamarack tree with low sweeping limbs just outside the West Gate of YSNP. I have 40 bucks squirreled away for the new book and hoping to swing a SF visit come Nov 2nd! Thinking I should read at lest one Preston book out of respect, lol! More of a Richter type and Grisham of course being from Cow and Plow…..lol, IMO!

    • He has over forty to chose from, cholly.
      I recommend thunderhead, lost city of the monkey god, the blue labyrinth, and city of gold… just to name a few. Tell him Seeker sent ya, I could use a prologue for my book. and a publisher would be nice too, and a couple bucks for printing cost or at least a college discount…

  11. Thanks for sharing your solve. I have some of the same thinking as far as what I think the clues look like. I like the way you write.

  12. Thanks for sharing your story. The Journal-Gazette caught my eye. I thought I was the only one around Fort Wayne, IN interested in the treasure.
    What did the Howard Eaton trail marker look like? Did you take a picture?

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