About dal

dal is an occasional filmmaker, writer and photographer who lives on an island in Washington State's Salish Sea.

Doodlemania……

Here’s a new contest just in time for Fennboree.

I call it Doodlemania.

Just draw a picture of Indulgence resting in her hiding place.
Bring it to Fennboree.
Your doodle can be big or small, colorful or monotone, simple or complex.
It can be created digitally or crafted by hand.
Be it impressionistic, surrealistic, minmalistic, conceptual, modernistic, pop, abstract or even hyperrealistic.
It can be a drawing, a painting, a sketch, but it must be made by you.

Give it appeal and let the voters decide.
We’ll hang them up on Saturday for all to see at Fennboree.
Everybody there gets one vote.
Doodle with the most votes wins.

Wins what!!!

TFTW…the book…
Got one already?
Is yours signed by the author and by the cover photographer?…I think not…
Think “special”…
You can see what Forrest had to say about this splendid memoir and meet Lou and Susan who created the book with Forrest and see Peggy’s reaction to one of the stories…in a video located here:
http://dalneitzel.com/video/fishing/far.html
(it may take a few moments for the video to load up…be patient)
and
Chasing Words of Forrest Fenn by J.C. Merritt
This is an incredible resource with quotes from Forrest and links to where the source of the quotes…whether it was in a book, on the web, a video or a radio program.
Find out more about this resource here:
http://dalneitzel.com/2016/12/31/chasingwords01
JCM also said he would donate a second copy of his Chasing Words of Forrest Fenn for the second place winner…
and
Desertphile: A Paranoid Misanthrope Hides in the Desert

Additionally, Desertphile is waiting for his new book to arrive on his doorstep. If it arrives by Friday he will provide a copy of his book to the first place winner as well…
You can find out more about it here:
http://desertphile.org

So the prize category is getting weighty… (-:

 

See you at Fennboree!

 

The Foot Soldier’s Best Friend……

Memorial Day 2017

 

Aaron Pyle is a relative of Ernie’s and a searcher. He sent along these photographs today…they reminded me that not everyone who rushes to the front is in the military. None the less, they earn our respect and admiration.

 

AT A COMMAND POST, Ie Island, Ryukyus, April 18 (AP)–Ernie Pyle, the famed columnist who had reported the wars from Africa to Okinawa, met his death about a mile forward of the command post.

Mr. Pyle had just talked with a general commanding Army troops and Lieut. Col. James E. Landrum, executive officer of an infantry regiment, before “jeeping” to a forward command post with Lieut. Col. Joseph B. Coolidge of Helena, Ark., commanding officer of the regiment, to watch front-line action.
Colonel Coolidge was alongside Mr. Pyle when he was killed. “We were moving down the road in our jeep,” related Colonel Coolidge. “Ernie was going with me to my new command post. At 10 o’clock we were fired on by a Jap machine gun on a ridge above us. We all jumped out of the jeep and dived into a roadside ditch.

“A little later Pyle and I raised up to look around. Another burst hit the road over our heads and I fell back into the ditch. I looked at Ernie and saw he had been hit.
“He was killed almost instantly, the bullet entering his left temple just under his helmet.
“I crawled back to report the tragedy, leaving a man to watch the body. Ernie’s body will be brought back to Army grave registration officers. He will be buried here on Ie Jima unless we are notified otherwise.
“I was so impressed with Pyle’s coolness, calmness and his deep interest in enlisted men. They have lost their best friend.”

Odds n Ends About Fenn’s Treasure Hunt…Part Twenty Eight

pinkThis page is now closed to new comments. To continue the appropriate discussions on this page please go to the newest OnE page.

Please click on the comment balloon below to contribute to the discussion of  Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Hunt. Please note that many topics have their own pages. Please scroll through the blog to see all the discussion pages. There are also stories, scrapbooks, searcher’s reports general information, tips from Forrest, a rumors blog and even email responses from Forrest. So please look around and if you want to make a comment please use the most appropriate page.

Thanks…

 

dal…

Odds n Ends About Fenn’s Treasure Hunt…Part Twenty Seven

pink

This page is now closed to new comments. To continue the appropriate discussions on this page please go to the newest OnE page.

 

Please click on the comment balloon below to contribute to the discussion of  Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Hunt. Please note that many topics have their own pages. Please scroll through the blog to see all the discussion pages. There are also stories, scrapbooks, searcher’s reports general information, tips from Forrest, a rumors blog and even email responses from Forrest. So please look around and if you want to make a comment please use the most appropriate page.

Thanks…

 

dal…

The Blaze…

yellow

This is the place to discuss the the blaze. What do you think it is? Is it temporary or permanent? Will it be around for a thousand years or doesn’t it matter? Is it easy to spot or difficult? Does the poem tell us what the blaze looks like or what it is?

Nick Lazaredes of SBS-TV’s Dateline in Australia interviewed Forrest in the spring of 2014. Here is Forrest explaining the BLAZE.
http://dalneitzel.com/video/audio/blaze.mp3

A Forest for Forrest……

 

Forrest Fenn will be celebrating his 87th birthday on August 22.

Let’s celebrate Forrest by planting trees!

A man named Forrest should have a forest named after him. It would take an act of Congress to do this, however. So I have come up with a different idea. Let us each plant a tree in honor of him – wherever you live! (If that is impossible for you to do, perhaps you can dedicate a tree in your yard in honor of him.)
Since a forest is considered to be a community of trees, our trees will be a community in a unique way – all dedicated to Forrest!

Please send me a photo of you and your tree and the location of this tree (city, state) to trees4forrestfenn@gmail.com.

I will put all of these photos in a presentation to give to him. This will be posted to dal’s site on Forrest’s birthday for all to enjoy. I will include a map where all of these trees are located!

Thanks so much!
Prairie Flower

Colter’s Hell….

SUBMITTED MAY 2017
by JAKE FAULKER

 

I’ve always wanted to head west even though I am not a young man physically. Cody Wyoming would be my second trip after staying in Reno Nevada for 6 months looking for something that wasn’t there.

My trip was not planned very well, I had gold fever (and still do) and I was going to Cody without reserving any accommodations. Besides, I have done this all the time when traveling to the White Mountains of the Granite State, Green Mountains of Vermont and Maine’s beautiful Appalachian’s. In worst case scenarios I would just pitch a tent somewhere or sleep in the car, but I had no tent and no car to sleep in Cody. The rental car I reserved couldn’t be acquired because my flight arrived too late to pick up. Closed!

I knew exactly what I was doing and would be fine.

Flew out of West Palm Beach at 5am on a Saturday morning and headed to Atlanta to catch a connector flight which would take me to Denver, then another connector to Yellowstone Regional Airport.

Landed in Atlanta only to find our plane was grounded, do to maintenance issues, which was fine with me considering they found the issues on the ground instead of 35,000 ft in the air.

Took an hour or so to get new flight to Denver to meet new connector, which worked out fine except…

Landed in Cody around 10pm MST, departed the plane only to find out my luggage was not there and they just told me to call them to see when it has arrived. OK, so no clothes, except for the clothes on my back and no high blood pressure meds which I foolishly put in my luggage instead of carry on.

Well, what the heck, I feel as though I need a couple of stiff ones to toss back, after all, I was on vacation so let’s not worry about the small stuff.

Called Town Taxi and Ron picked me up at the airport and asked him to take me to a bar or saloon so I can think straight. I would deal with the sleeping arrangements after I had a few. Dropped me off at Silver Dollar Bar and had a few while playing cornhole with a few locals, biker’s and vacationers. I would have to say the people here were very hospitable. I had told several people I was here looking for Forrest Fenn’s treasure and they knew nothing of it. I was surprised no one even heard of Forrest even though he was a trustee of Buffalo Bill Center of the West museum.

Had my fill & was really thinking straight if you know what I mean and called Ron to pick me up to go looking for a hotel or motel that had vacancy which he had told me it would be difficult considering it was biker week here in Cody. Thousands of bikers were passing through and staying there for Sturgis the first week of August. Just my luck, things were not going my way on this trip unlike many unplanned trips before. Ron did the research and we traveled to many different places that were packed full. Made many calls to no avail and told him to drop me off at the Ponderosa where I could meet Ben, Hoss, Adam, Little Joe & maybe have a nice meal by Hop Sing. Wrong Ponderosa, wrong state of mind & state & the TV show was not actual reality but the shots were in control. Timing & planning was wrong as well as you already know.

Ron’s a little older than myself and allot wiser than me & the look on his face was surely a sign that it was not going to happen considering he has lived in this town most of his life. But who am I to listen to someone who has been sober for several years as he told me.

Dropped me off and walked into the lobby where a tired husky man behind the counter was dozing off. I asked him if there was anything open for the night and he told me the obvious in a drowsy state. I asked him if I could sleep on the couch in the lobby until something opens up tomorrow. He suddenly awakened with a look that incinerated my soul and replied, if you don’t get out of here now, I am calling the police!

I left quickly and my heart was racing, knowing I am over 2,000 miles away from home with no place to stay. I took my pulse and was beating about 3 times a second. Holy crap, I really stretched myself thin on this one. I wandered out to find a teepee close by and was getting ready to spend the night Indian style when better judgment seemed to enter my mind and decided to call Ron again.

He was right around the corner and picked me up. I asked him if there were any more places he had in mind I could stay the night and that’s when I realized there are lots of great people here in this town and Ron is one of them. I cannot say this for the grizzly in the lobby. He took me back to his place on the north side of the Shoshone River where he had a couple of trailers in the field.

Ah, finally got to rest in a trailer with running water, electricity, bathroom wasn’t hooked up yet, but I had a roof over my head and that’s all I need for the time being. Isn’t it funny how all the things we take for granted?

I was truly thankful he took me under his wing that night when I needed a place to stay outside of the steel bars.

Didn’t get much sleep, heart rate was high. I was pretty sure my heart would explode at anytime.

Laying down, steering at the ceiling around 7am Sunday morning my blood pressure shot through the roof with several loud gun shots. I thought at this time, it was my time to go and should be brave and thankful for the time I had been here on this earth. I stepped out of the trailer to a man with a rifle pointing very near my direction out of the window of a house about 30 ft away. It was Ron, leaning on the window sill from inside his house, shooting at targets by the trailer I was resting in. I said to myself, please, I hope his aim is good and puts a bullet between my eyes, so I do not have to suffer as I walked towards the window.

“Hey, why don’t you come on inside”

Wow, talk about being out of your element, I was sure the end was ever drawing nigh.

At that point with soiled clothing, I decided I needed a beer for breakfast. Coffee was not an option for me at this point. He invited me in and showed me around. What a collection of old oil lamps, guns, arrows, hide scrappers, paintings, boots and all sorts of old west items he had in his home. I couldn’t believe it, the treasure was here & he was the center piece. This man is a collector just like Forrest. He let me shoot many of his guns, rifles, shotguns and one special cannon. I asked him if he has killed any elephants with this cannon of a rifle and he replied, just bison. I leaned against the window sill, aimed and blasted the cannon. My shoulder hurt for the rest of week after being thrown back a bit.

I told Ron why I came to Cody. He patiently put up with my obsession, not believing anything about it, although he told me a story about some treasure hunters that had to be rescued in the Absaroka mountains not too long ago. Had a great time & learning experience there in Cody and it’s history is deep. I already knew I would go back to see him again after this trip.

WWWH, Buffalo Bill Reservoir.

I know now that WWWH is not related to any dam, but I was thinking about the reservoir where a few hot springs were submerged by the dam that was built back in 1903. I believe this was the highest dam in the world at this time at 325 ft, surely the warm waters halted here.

Take it the canyon down, Shoshone Canyon.

Not far, but too far to walk. We will have to drive.

Put in below the home of Brown.

There is only one road that goes across the Shoshone (Stinking Water River) in Cody. Belfry bridge.

That highway is called Belfry Highway, named after the town to the north. There was a woman from the town of Belfry that succumbed to fumes in Colter’s Hell 1903 & her name was Wm. Brown from Belfry (Put in below the home of Brown.)

http://ultimatewyoming.com/wysections/WY2%20Sec02.pdf

From there it’s no place for the meek,

Joseph Meek was a trapper in this area as well as allot of other areas in the Rockies & the west. He never got credit for YNP or Colter’s Hell although he described the areas in detail, they didn’t believe him.

The end is ever drawing nigh;

Well at the time I thought that “nigh” meant near, but I know now it’s all about your perspective & more importantly about Forrest’s perspective. It could actually be the word that is key seeing he is winking at you; without the nose & smile. 😉

There’ll be no paddle up your creek,

Your up sh*t’s creek without a paddle comes to mind here.

Stinking Water River was the name of this river back in the day when things were less complicated. Evidently the newer settlers didn’t like the name the local indigenous people gave to the river.

Just heavy loads and water high.

The heavy loads & water high could be the dammed waters above Colter’s Hell.

The blaze?

I am wise at times, but not so wise in other times.

I thought the blaze was the gravel road to Colter’s hell RD 2ABW.

This road still is one of the oldest roads to the west from years ago when it was the blazing west.

My video camera would not work, my mothers camera that she gave me for the trip would not work, my cell camera did not work until the last day I was there when I was no longer searching. I had 3 cameras with me on this trip & didn’t work for a reason. Searched thoroughly in these areas for a week but I felt as though I was in the Bermuda Triangle when it came time to take pictures or make a call.

Plan B in surrounding areas at Rattlesnake Mountain & Spirit Mountain came up empty as well even though Forrest said it is there in spirit, about the X.

Some places are better explored in person only for your memories & experiences only & cannot be shared by modern technology for a reason I do not know of But I was able to get a few pics of hell.

Sometimes the trip is about the people you meet & not the quarry.

Thanks to Ron, who now owns Town Taxi made the stay & search fun. He showed me the places in Colter’s Hell where he found all those arrow heads & hide scrapers.

We went out on 2 trips to Colter’s Hell together to find the treasure when he eventually caved into the thrill of the chase.

The craters created by Mother Nature there were active & spewing with muddy waters with a stench of sulfur that still lingers.

When we were looking into these pits from above I could see vehicles that were obviously driven off the cliffs to their resting place below.

I knew at this point again, this was not the place to rest your bones with your treasure.

There was only one way in & out of these craters & went down into them only to find the old rusted vehicles filled with hundreds of bullet holes which made me nervous.

We searched the caves & caverns around only to find trash & burnt documents from a lawyers office located in Texas which I thought were connected to Forrest. Wrong!

The ceilings of these caverns were crumbling dried white deposits ready to fall at any time & decided to get the hell out of there.

We climbed back out the same way we went in only to see a Land rover parked where we were.

We climbed through the barbed wire fence at the perimeter of the crater that was the deepest & noticed the “Private Property” signs & approached the vehicle slowly with hearts racing & a full sweat.

The driver was wearing a collared shirt with a rifle embroider on his left chest & told us we were trespassing.

He had a passenger & a rifle & probably a handgun. I told him we were looking for Forrest Fenn’s treasure. He wasn’t amused & had a look on his face that said get out of here.

Come to find out, he was one of the caretakers of the property.

Some millionaire dude from another country bought parts of Colter’s Hell & surrounding areas for reasons unknown to me.

I would have to say after my experience there, that area is sacred to the spirits & better left alone. It was sad that people dumped there vehicles & documents there & have no respect for anyone including themselves.

Sometimes you got to go through Hell to get to Heaven.

Colter’s Hell.

Jake-

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Eighty Four…

scrapbook

MAY 2017

House Bronze Foundry 1972-2010

“Jerry House was a good friend who shared my interest in history. So of course we collected history together, which was not a big deal because neither of us had earned income to spare back in the late 60’s.”
– Forrest Fenn

In December of 1968 a singular event in a war zone 8,500 miles away nearly altered the time space continuum of the art scene in the southwest United States. That was when Forrest Fenn, future Santa Fe gallery owner and arts benefactor almost didn’t make it out of Southeast Asia alive. Had Forrest perished over the dense jungle canopy of Laos that month it is a given that Fenn Galleries would never have hatched onto the Santa Fe scene a few years later. It is equally unlikely that House Bronze, an acclaimed art foundry run by Jerry and Gail House, could possibly have emerged on the stubbornly dry, staked plain of Lubbock, TX in 1972.

In January of 2010 Gail House was closing the doors on an art business she and her late husband Jerry operated since 1972. House Bronze Foundry occupied an unremarkable building in an unremarkable section of Lubbock, TX. But what went on in this “plain Jane” building for the previous 38 years is indeed quite remarkable and has added significantly to the collections of art bronze statuary and monuments worldwide.

Creating mostly large public statuary, House Bronze turned out bigger than life monuments of icons of our times including president George H. W. Bush, the astronaut Willie McCool and even a nine foot Rev. Billy Graham. They didn’t just cast important folks though. They also made elephants and lions and bears and giant whatcha-ma-callits that adorn public gardens, university lawns, town squares, corporate entryways and great halls all over America.

Texas Tech University in Lubbock

But it wasn’t Jerry and Gail’s dream to own an art foundry back in 1968. They both worked at Texas Tech University. In fact, large art bronzes probably weren’t even anything they thought much more about than you or I do today.

Jerry collected guns and was interested in obtaining a smoothbore muzzle loaded firearm. Those things were expensive and the company told Jerry that if he could generate $5,000 in sales he would get a discount. So he was contacting everyone he knew that might be interested in buying a modern black powder gun. Black powder guns are a kind of unusual firearm. His list wasn’t building rapidly.

Someone told Jerry that there was a pilot over at Reese Airbase, a Major by the name of Forrest Fenn and if Jerry could wait two months Forrest Fenn would be back from Vietnam and surely he would be interested in buying one. Jerry added Forrest’s name to his list of hopefuls.

Nearly two months went by when Jerry heard the news that Forrest and his F-100 had been shot down and he might not be heading home. Jerry added a question mark after Forrest’s name on his still incomplete list.

In 2010 Gail House was reminiscing about her late husband Jerry and his friendship with Forrest. She remembered when Forrest arrived back home from Vietnam. ”The morning of the 26th, our phone rang and it was Forrest Fenn. A helicopter had picked him up not long after he was shot down, and because he was due home, he took the next Red Cross plane back.”

For his part, Forrest wanted to make sure Jerry didn’t scratch him off the buyer’s list. He wanted that muzzle loader.

“When Jerry got the call from Forrest, we were stunned,” Gail recalls. “Jerry went over that day, and they formed a real friendship.”

At the time, Forrest had started a part-time business in his garage where he was casting small bronzes for artists. Jerry was intrigued. More-so when Forrest told Jerry he could make a handsome $10 an hour doing this kind of work. That was the egg that Jerry later developed into his own foundry, House Bronze.

Forrest recalls that he was thrilled with his new black powder gun. “Jerry and I knew how to load it: measure the powder and pour it down the barrel. Then tamp some wadding in. The round bullet was next, just roll it down the barrel. More wadding was added to keep the bullet from rolling out if you tilted the gun down.”

They really wanted to shoot the thing because neither had done that before as Forrest remembers, “The problem was that we didn’t have any bullets. After looking around for a minute I found some old chewing gum that one of my young daughters had placed on the kitchen counter. It was dried and hard. I remember having to force it down the barrel with the ram-rod that came with the gun. Are you ready for this? Jerry took the first shot and that glob of chewing gum went clear through a 1” board in my back yard fence. We couldn’t believe it and Peggy couldn’t stop laughing.”

So now it was Forrest’s turn to shoot and he put a small rock down the barrel and shot at the fence. “When the powder ignited our close proximity went black with smoke that chased my wife into the house. You are not going to believe this, but that little pebble came out of the barrel in pieces, and each one was impaled in my fence. There must have been 6 or 7 pieces. Jerry and I talked about that for a long time and considered telling the Army about our newly discovered secret weapon.”

The camaraderie lasted well beyond their first muzzle loader experience. “Jerry was a lot of fun. One of his legs was 2” shorter than the other, so he wore a shoe with an elevated sole. He bragged about it keeping him from being drafted. One thing you never did with Jerry, and that was to call him on the phone between 12:00 and 12:15 because that was when Paul Harvey was on the radio. Jerry was a fanatic about that guy, and he got me started listening. Paul, Jerry, and I had something in common. We were good, conservative, patriotic, American citizens.”

After awhile, Forrest moved his foundry out of his garage, hired some help and started Fenn Bronze on the outskirts of Lubbock. “Jerry used to come see me in my foundry, which was just a few blocks from where he worked. After a while he started helping me work waxes and get them ready to pour in bronze. He liked it, and was soon on my payroll. It wasn’t long before he knew the business as well as anyone.”

After Forrest moved to Santa Fe, in 1972, Jerry opened his own casting studio with his wife Gail in Lubbock called House Bronze and did very well for 38 years.

Jerry and Forrest kept in touch. He was still working long hours at House Bronze and probably making considerably more than $10/hr when he died in 2009.

You can read more about Forrest’s “Bronze Years” on this blog in Forrest’s Scrapbooks:

http://dalneitzel.com/2014/12/29/scrapbook-one-hundred-twenty-two/
http://dalneitzel.com/2014/11/02/scrapbook-101/

 

Letters to Forrest…

Hello Mr. Fenn,

My dad and I have been looking for your treasure for 5 years. I’m 10 years old so when we started it was really just my dad. We have been to Western Colorado, Northern New Mexico and Wyoming. We are not giving up and hope to one day find this. It has been fun trying and I will never forget the time spent with my dad but it would be even better to find the treasure.

Thanks

Emilee from Denver


Hi Mr. Fenn,

I hope you and your family are enjoying this beautiful spring.

My, you have been very productive!  I have read your latest Scrapbooks and enjoyed them very much.  But a few have begged a response so here I go.  This will be a long email so I realize you will probably skip over it.  I appreciate your honesty about that, so I am forewarned.  But that won’t stop me, which brings me to my first response.

In Scrapbook One Hundred Seventy Nine, you wrote about Peggy, “Everyone knew she was too good for me, but tenacity was never one of my shortcomings.”  That line is one that I have hung my hat on more than a few times.  I am sometimes greatly motivated and accomplish things with precision and excellence.  However, the majority of the time I am kind of a bumbling plodder, taking one step forward and two steps sideways.  But through it all, I am goal-oriented.  That’s a nice way of saying I’m determined in a very stubborn sort of way.  Tenacity, it seems, was also never one of my shortcomings.  I just liked seeing it in writing.  It somehow makes it more true.

Which leads me to my next item.  In Scrapbook One Hundred Seventy, you wrote about your experience in the judicial system.  You were duly sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Well, when I wrote to you about falling in the lake and hitting my head that wasn’t the whole truth.  I mean, it did happen, but it wasn’t the whole story.  So here is the whole truth:

Every year my brother, Kurt, has a fishing contest at a pond in Fleming, Colorado.  Fleming is a small town on the eastern plains.  He strongly believes in encouraging kids to learn to fish as a lifelong skill and enjoyment.  So once a year, during Fleming Days, he puts on his competition.  While it is open to anyone, kids are welcome, and especially those who have never fished before.  He has me come out and help those kids bait hooks, cast lines, untangle crossed lines and everything else involved in the process.  It is enormous fun.

The tournament was drawing to a close and I was with my granddaughter, Neevie.  She had already caught a small bass which she enjoyed, but it had not put her in the prize categories.  Kurt shouted out, “TWO MINUTES!” when Neevie’s pole bent with a solid bite.  I had her hold the pole and with the next bite she set the hook.  She reeled as fast as she could and there, about seven feet off shore, I saw a bullhead on her line.  It was small, but it might put her over to get a prize.  All of a sudden I heard the drag.  That dadgum fish had snagged itself on the rocks.  I told Neevie to just let it swim for a minute and it would free itself.  But after all of the fight it must have decided to take a breather, it didn’t move more than an inch or two.  “FORTY SECONDS!!!” my brother yelled.  Well, I knew it was do or die.  If I could get that fish on shore in 39 seconds it would count.  So I went in and unsnagged the line and fell in dramatic fashion (like a cow on ice).  At the same time, Neevie decided to pull her pole straight back so the fish went flying out of the water like it was shot from a slingshot and bounced onto the shore.  As I am lying there, half in the water and half out, I could hear a voice yelling, “DID YOU GET THE FISH??????” and then, almost as an afterthought, “Are you OK?”.  Neevie finished just out of money, I think she lost by a half of an inch, but I couldn’t swear to it in a court of law.

Lastly, we have Graciella.  The painting did not appeal to me at first, but as I really looked at Graciella I began to warm up to her.  Now I have created a nebulous backstory and find myself rather protective of her.  I hope she is being appreciated wherever she is.

While your Chase has created an amazing adventure, I really love your writing (no matter where you put your commas).

Thank you,

Rita

 

 

On Quitting the Chase…

by Ken S.

Warning – this is verbose and long winded.

I have only been at “The Chase” for a little over five months now starting in December, 2016.  I realize I am a late comer to the party.  I have not been out in the mountains yet because we still have snow down to the 5,000’ 6,000′ level here in Montana.  I was raised in south central MT and YNP has been in my backyard my whole life.  Many of you have been at this for years and it has changed your lives and, in some cases, how you now live your lives.

For me, and for most of you, all I can think of any more is “The Poem” of clues.  I think of it as soon as I wake up in the morning.  I recite the poem throughout the day.  Nearly every night I review different websites for new clues.  I stay up way too late looking at GE, the thesaurus, dictionary, and topo maps.  I have had several “solves”, most of which “work” to some degree or another.  For me, it is consuming and I want to/need to stop.  I have many other things I need to do and think about.  I hope in giving away what I have learned so far, I can maybe get this Chase out of my head.  Really, the best way for that to happen is for someone to find the chest!

In this monolog I am going to give most all of my solutions to clues I have found in the poem.  And, yes, I find more than nine clues in the poem.  As some have said, maybe each sentence counts as a clue, but within each sentence there may be several sub-clues (you can call them hints if you want, but I will refer to everything as clues for ease of typing).  I am not going to quote or cite blog posts or videos but will trust my memory of what I have read on different websites, primarily this one.  I know many of you will shoot holes in my logic and thoughts, that’s OK.  Some of you will discount me because I haven’t referenced ff quotes.  But, maybe some of my thoughts will nudge someone else into a different line of thinking, as do many of the blog posts I have read from others.  Btw: I am  a poem purist, I have not purchased the book(s).  Line by line, here goes:

As I have gone alone in there
Alone could mean Lone Wolf, Lone Star Geyser (ff is from TX), Lone Mtn near Big Sky, MT.  I only developed one solve based on this line.  Btw, there is a Fenn couple that own land at Big Sky, MT (public record).  I don’t know if they are related to ff.

And with my treasures bold,
Treasures Bold could be the creeks that flow into the Lamar River including the adjacent creeks called Jasper, Amethyst, Agate, Crystal, Opal, Chalcedony, and Flint.  All are treasured gems.  Their creek names are bold on a topo map in the area.  I have two solves that use this phrase as a clue.

I can keep my secret where,
I have found no clues in this phrase.

And hint of riches new and old.
The word old may refer to a historic mining district.

Begin it where warm waters halt
There are warm waters all over the west and in the Rocky Mtns.  I have considered mostly those only in my area of familiarity.  In YNP I considered both Soda Butte Cr. and less warm Rose Cr. in the Lamar Valley.  Neither are hot springs.  Soda Butte is warm and Rose does not freeze in winter.  I also considered the Firehole River, the Boiling River, Corwin Springs, the hot springs at Thermopolis, WY, and in the Shoshone River at Cody, WY.

WWWH could also refer to the geographic borders of YNP, but does it mean inside YNP or outside YNP?  Soda Butte and Lamar flow from the boundary inward, Firehole/Madison, Snake, and Gardiner/Yellowstone, flow outward.

Thermopolis, WY is well below the elevation of the chest hiding place but the poem doesn’t say you have to decrease in elevation.  I used Thermopolis as the start point for a solve that looks at the really “big picture”.

And take it in the canyon down,
Different canyons that I have thought of in my solves are Lamar River Canyon, Icebox Canyon, Gardner R canyon, Yankee Jim Canyon, Firehole/Madison R canyon, Yellowstone River canyon, Big Horn R canyon, Clear Cr. canyon in Colorado, and canyons that head south (down) on a map (only those which are associated with warm or hot springs).

Not far, but too far to walk.
This phrase is so very subjective.  Even though ff was 79 or 80 yo, I have hiked long hard miles with people that age.  It also depends on the altitude and terrain.  It is ten hard miles from Buffalo Ranch to Lamar R joining the Yellowstone R.  It is several miles from Boiling River to Yankee Jim Canyon.  My interpretation for this is that ff probably walked no more that six miles total on his two round trips to hide the treasure.  The higher the altitude the less the mileage would have been.  Similarly, if he was bucking brush versus walking through high park grass, the effort and distance would be much different.

Put in below the home of Brown.
I have a few different HOBs.  I borrowed from the blog for using the Lamar R. and Buffalo Ranch.

Along the Big Horn River just above Sheep Canyon there is a long-operating bentonite plant owned by the Brown Family.

Brown could also be Brown’s Lake east of Fort Collins for those looking in the Estes Park area.

I also thought of the sewage lagoons below Gardiner and the Grizzly Adventure in W. Yellowstone.

And, here is a doozy:  In one translation I found the word Brown has a Spanish translation as the verb “doarse” meaning ‘turn, turn about, turn around’.  But, in most Spanish dictionaries “doarse” means “to turn brown, or golden” such as for sauteed food.  So, doarse is a pretty weak interpretation of Brown, but . . .

From there it’s no place for the meek,
This one is also subjective depending on one’s personal fears – or maybe it refers to a place where the meek would not be found.  At first blush I thought this meant that “You are going to have to work for it.  It’s not easy”.  Or, it could be a scary place – bears, wolves, buffalo, rattlesnakes, guarded private property, nasty switch back roads, nasty park rangers?  Could meek be a religious reference (inherit the earth).  If so, could it be related to a church camp or mountain chapel?)  The Big Horn River cuts through both Sheep Mtn. and Little Sheep Mtn and sheep are referenced in literature to be meek animals.  Meek is associated with timid so maybe “no place for the meek” is associated with the antithesis such as Devil’s Slide, Hell Creek, wolf, etc.

The end is ever drawing nigh;
Some of the blog posts suggest this as meaning “to the left” so some of my solves used it that way.  Others did not.  For my Thermopolis, WY solve I interpreted it as the Shoshone River which enters the Big Horn R just below the Sheep Canyons after its run from the YNP west entrance down through Cody, WY

There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
As with most I interpret this as a small stream or dry creek bed.  It could also mean a stream with heavy rapids that cannot be ascended even by kayak.  This could mean the Shoshone River through Cody, WY.  Also, paddling is not allowed in YNP, nor can Lamar R be paddled upstream in the canyon portion because of the close boulders.  This could also mean to bypass Slough Creek which is the only creek with substantial water flowing into Lamar R.  It could also mean Crystal Creek which is one of the “gems” streams with very little water that flows into the Lamar.

Just heavy loads and water high.  
This could mean the large boulders in the Shoshone R as it flows from below BB dam down through Cody, WY or the heavy silt load on the Shoshone R at the BB dam, the Willwood dam, and where it flows into the Big Horn Reservoir (all in the Thermopolis solve).  I also took this to mean heavy loads of huge boulders in the rapids in the Lamar Canyon.  Water high might mean the high water mark of the Lamar (or any) river.  Water high could be where Lamar joins the Yellowstone and becomes a river too deep to cross on foot.  It could also mean any alluvium, especially braided – can’t paddle that – , at a creek’s mouth such as where it spills into a larger river)  Heavy loads (lodes) might also be referencing the many prospects and mines such as in SW Montana and along Clear Cr in Colorado.  Heavy loads and water high could mean a glacier or perennial snowbank.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,   
For the Thermopolis solve:  you have gone past Sage Creek (wise) as you go upstream.  The blaze is the Firefighters Memorial on Shoshone River upstream of the dam, elevation:  6190’.  This falls apart at the end because of the ff comment about no human trails in close proximity.

On the Fort Collins/Estes Park solve I was looking at a B-29 crash site that I thought ff might visit and honor because he had been a military pilot.  The B-29 trail description is to look for an Arrow on the final leg to the B-17 crash site.  For this solve I ignored it being a place ff might want to be buried.

My first solve along the Lamar R included an “owl face” along the river in the foothills between Tower Falls and Lamar Canyon.  The “eyes” are two small lakes, the beak is a small hillock south of the eyes.  The Blaze is an outcrop of white soil between and north of the eyes about 200 feet.

The Blaze could also be Tower Falls as seen from Specimen Ridge.  The Blaze could also be the Devil’s Slide above Yankee Jim Canyon.  Either type of “Blaze”, rapids or falls, could easily have a rainbow associated with the spray.  The rapids would show a rainbow most of the day with the sun to the south.  Tower Falls would only have a rainbow early in the morning with the sun to the east.  Devil’s Slide is also rainbow colored rock and soil.  Devil’s Slide is on private property but the very top end is on USFS, although quite a tough hike to access.

Blaze could also be a burned area but most of the YNP area burned up in 1988 and many subsequent years so that could mean just about anywhere in MT or WY.

Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
This phrase tells me that I am very, very close to the chest.  It is either literally at my feet or just down hill from where I am standing.  If you imagine my “owl” of pond eyes, it could mean to look at the “downy legs” and talons of the “owl” which would put it at the high water mark of the Yellowstone River across from Tower Falls.

To Cease could mean two (2) C’s such as Crystal Cr. or Cache Cr.  Two C’s could also mean the continental divide where water flow splits between the Pacific Ocean (sea) and Atlantic Ocean (sea).  But, that is just about anywhere in the Rockies in MT, WY, CO, and NM.

But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
To me, this means “Get the heck out of there before getting caught”.  That could be a situation for both NP lands or private lands.

Just take the chest and go in peace. 
I think this means “Don’t whoop & holler”, don’t tell anyone you found it until you are safe at home.  Peace could be a reference to a church camp or travel through a cemetery even though the TC is not hidden in a cemetery.  Peace could mean respect for the dead killed in the B-29 crash.

So why is it that I must go And leave my trove for all to seek?
I don’t see anything here.

The answers I already know,
I don’t see anything here.

I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.
I think this is telling the reader ff did the trip on rubber tires, probably by car or truck and that he was gone a week.  Of course, a week of travel could put him in any search state depending how many times he stopped and how fast he drove.

So hear me all and listen good,
Is there sound which could be a clue – water gurgling?  I liked the recent post from another Chaser of a natural amphitheater.  I thought that was a good interpretation.

Your effort will be worth the cold.
A synonym of cold is Icebox (canyon in YNP, another is Piercing such as water spray from a water falls.  It might be as simple as having to wait through the cold of winter before snow melts enough to search in the field.

If you are brave and in the wood
This could very well mean the TC is hidden in a hollow log thus easier for a child to retrieve.  Or, it could mean under a log thus easier for a child to see under.  Or, it could mean to duck under the water to get under a log jam.  In two interviews FF has said people should get out and kick over a log.  My favorite interpretation is that there is wood inside the chest that carries a “deed” to keep the findings.  Wood could also mean it is in the trees, if so, there are trees along the the high water mark at most rivers.  Brave might mean be careful of buffalo and grizzlies.  Brave could mean Warrior Mtn in the Idaho Springs, CO mining area.  Btw, there is a Santa Fe Mtn just south of I-70 near Idaho Springs and 8.25 miles north it leads one to a mountain called Fairburn.

I give you title to the gold.
A legal title for the finder could be inside the chest along with legal caveats and codicils.

Finally, I am saving two solves from you all because they are within a day’s drive from my home.  I plan to check them out if the snow ever melts.

Solve #1 – Begin at Soda Springs in YNP, travel down to Buffalo Ranch, cross the Lamar over to Crystal Creek.  Look around between the Lamar R bank and the top of the drainage.  Look for a hollow log or under a log near anything that could be a blaze.

Solve #2 – Begin at Soda Springs in YNP, travel down to Buffalo Ranch, look on GE for the Owl Eyes and forehead blaze.  Walk downhill to the Lamar R bank and look through the trees near the high water line along the river.

Solve #3 – Begin at Soda Springs in YNP, travel down to Yellowstone Picnic Area, hike up Specimen Ridge, break off from there and hike down to the Yellowstone R across from Tower Falls.  Look around the side of the draw on your way down as well as check out the high water area along the Yellowstone R.

Solve #4 – Begin at Soda Springs in YNP, travel down the Lamar R to its merging with the Yellowstone R.  Check out around the confluence area at the high water mark.  There could be a recognizable blaze in the area.

Solve #5 – Begin at Thermopolis, WY, travel down the Big Horn R and shallow BH canyon just below Thermopolis.  Travel down to where the Shoshone R flows into the Big Horn R (below the bentonite plant owned by the Brown family) at the upper end of Big Horn reservoir near Lovell, WY.  Follow Shoshone  R up through Cody, WY, up past Buffalo Bill dam and reservoir until you find the Firefighters Memorial (blaze).  It might be there but there definitely are human trails in the proximity.  Also, for some inexplicable reason, I doubt ff would use an industrial plant as HOB, then again . . .

Solve #6 – Begin at the Boiling R. south of Gardiner, MT, travel down the Yellowstone R canyon towards Yankee Jim Canyon.  Somewhere near there you will see the Devil’s Slide down the side of the mountain.  In this solve HOB is the sewer plant for Gardiner, MT – not very attractive.

Solve #7 – Start at Idaho Springs, CO.  I didn’t find a HOB here but I did find a Toledo Mine, Santa Fe Mtn, Warrior Mtn (brave), and Fairburn Mtn (blaze).  I didn’t work this one very hard.

Solve #8 – I didn’t develop this one very well.  Start at Brown’s Lake near Ft. Collins, search for a B-29 crash site in CO just west of FC.  There is one not far north of Estes Park but still outside of RMNP.  This one can be mostly driven to on FS roads but has to be walked to the last mile or so.

Solve #9 – Begin at Upper/Middle Geyser Basins, travel down the FH river canyon, turn around (Spanish verb for Brown) at the Firehole River Drive one-way sign, look around between the confluence of the FH river into the Madison and then up stream towards FH falls.

I admit all of my “solves” have holes in them.  This has been strictly arm chair stuff while I’ve been waiting for the snow to melt.  Remember, I only learned of the Chest Chase last December so have not had a chance to get out in the hills.  And, after a couple field trips, I hope I can get this out of my system.

And, finally, it has been nearly two weeks since I have read anything about Fenn’s treasure.  I think I have broken my addiction to the poem.  I think I’m back to my previous life again.

Ken S in Montana