Full Thoughts on Halving the Blaze…

SUBMITTED NOVEMBER 2017
by FMC

 

 

Last night at about 3 am, I had a new thought for my current, in-process solve.  And in thinking it through, it’s sufficiently general enough to share – it doesn’t apply to just my solve, but to a number of different end of the poem possibilities.  So here we are.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze

The two schools of thought related to this line and the blaze generally seem to be as follows:

1 – “If you’ve been wise” refers to an owl and viewing the blaze from above, most often via Google Earth, but also potentially from an elevated vantage point.  I’d also add GE/map “wise” based place names (Owl Creek or whatever) to this school.

2 – You need BOTG to find the blaze and “If you’ve been wise” refers to you having solved the clues leading up to this point where you are looking for the blaze.  You may be keeping an eye out for owl-shaped rocks, but you are reliant on BOTG prior to this line starting.

I’d generally put myself in School 1 as I think having an explanation for “if you’ve been wise” is an important part to being able to go with confidence to your search area.  I’ve also been of the opinion that the School 2 people are taking this part of the line for granted.  If you’re just going to find the blaze when you’re BOTG, why do you need to have been wise?

But it occurred to me that maybe there’s a third interpretation.  Most people tend to think of “if you’ve been wise and found the blaze” as one clue.  What if it’s two clues?

Under my new way of thinking, you still have to find the blaze with BOTG, but “if you’ve been wise” is a separate clue with an interpretation unrelated to the blaze itself.  Enter: King Solomon.

Whether a person is religious or not, I think the “Wisdom of Solomon” is a commonly known phrase/saying.

Per Wikipedia (which matched my own limited knowledge on the subject):

Perhaps the best known story of his wisdom is the Judgment of Solomon; two women each lay claim to being the mother of the same child. Solomon easily resolved the dispute by commanding the child to be cut in half and shared between the two. One woman promptly renounced her claim, proving that she would rather give up the child than see it killed. Solomon declared the woman who showed compassion to be the true mother, entitled to the whole child. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solomon#Wisdom)

Okay… but how does this relate to finding the treasure?

Picture the following scenario, one which I expect is fairly common among searchers (either armchair or BOTG).  You’ve solved the clues and you’re hiking up alongside your creek with heavy loads and water high up ahead (or maybe you’ve passed them already).  Maybe you’re on a trail or maybe you’re already off the trail.  You’re looking for a blaze, but at this point, you’re basically flying blind outside of that.  Simplified, maybe it looks something like this:

You think you’re looking for the blaze, but maybe you first need to be looking for something else; something that splits from your creek.  Maybe it’s another creek.  Maybe it’s a side-trail (if you’re on a trail).  But we aren’t taking that side-trail/creek because what would be “wise” about that?  We need to split the creeks in two:

And then we find the blaze, find the treasure, pop some champagne, revel in our brilliant solve, and go about arranging to give FF his bracelet and buying a new car.  Easy game.

Obviously, I have no idea if this interpretation is correct, but it’s something I haven’t seen before and it doesn’t materially impact my 2nd solve (because you have to figure out the rest of the poem first) so I figured it may be something that could benefit someone else.  Do with it as you will – I’m going to bed.

 

FMC-

Wind River Canyon…

July 2017
by Tbug-

 

Hi fellow Fennatics, I’ve been lurking off/on for a few years, the search for me has not involved botg and this is NOT a complete solve, rather I wanted to see the community’s thoughts on a few things (especially in light of all the recent SBs/posts from FF – writing this as of 4/20/2017). The following is a theory, not confirmed and will definitely NOT sway any of the Blog-erati (looking at you Seeker!). The following is just my opinion, guaranteed or your money back:

My backstory: First heard the Fenn story in 2013 from a co-worker who was very enthusiastic, we discussed for several weeks and then it fell the wayside, I would occasionally hear of an article or interview and then I found Dal’s site last year and have been reading a lot and coming up with some ideas. I’m a longtime CO/WY kid (I’m 40), between the ages of 6-16 I spent summers in Wyoming, often spending several weeks with family (Grandpa and cousins in Worland, other grandparents in Sheridan WY). Those visits included the 6+ hour drive from Laramie to get there, anyone who has driven in/around the state of WY can attest, the joy is NOT in the journey, most assuredly it is that you finally got there after so many grueling hours in the car. In my younger years these trips were fun only because of the ways my dad would entertain me, often involving ‘breaking records’ like total trip time, how long he could keep the speedo over triple digits, how far could we go without stopping for food or pee breaks, etc. The route we would take would sometimes change slightly, but was basically I-80 over to Rawlins, up 287 to Sweetwater or Lander, up to Riverton and Shoshoni and up the Wind River Canyon through Thermopolis and onto Worland. The scenery of this drive was…let’s just agree to describe it as ‘98% brown’. The stretch between Rawlins to Shoshoni is my own living hell, any scientists out there working on teleportation owe it to themselves to drive that route and re-invigorate their mission. However, once you got to Shoshoni there was hope, a light at the end of the tunnel and finally something to hold your attention besides antelope and tumbleweeds.

The Wind River Canyon has always held a special place in my heart…a lighthouse along the way signifying the drive was almost over and a beautiful canyon drive with lots of twists, tunnels, pre-cambrian rock, a train and of course the river. In my pre-teen years I marvel gazed at the tall cliffs and the uplifted and tilted layers and wondered what it would have been like to live 10000 years earlier. As my engineering mind was forming I wondered how long it took to construct that road, dealing with the river and weather, building the tunnels, etc.

Thermopolis – similar to the canyon this was another milestone on the journey, it signified we were less than an hour from our destination and to a 7 year old kid the hot springs park pool had the coolest damn water slide I had ever seen. My last drive up north was in 2008 heading to Cody for a cousins wedding, and we turned nigh at Thermop heading to Meeteetse so I didn’t get to see the true landmark of the town (IMO)…there is a small ‘geyser’ (air quotes here because it was probably a pipe carrying the water nearly 100 yards from the real source) near the chamber of commerce. In my youth it spouted water and steam 5-10’ in the air, halting, then returning to the earth, another curious site and a milestone telling me we were that much closer.

I thoroughly enjoyed SB 145 about the Bullet (I’m a car guy) and to me the Fenn summer trips from Texas to YNP sparked my first real theory: with such a long drive through much of the prairie west, surely the family made stops at various places along the way over those 17 years, and surely after Forrest was on his own he made additional road trips to his Valhalla. I looked up some historical Wyoming state highway maps from the late 30s…all the way until 1939, the various highways between Cheyenne/Laramie to Cody or Jackson involved many stretches of non-asphalt roads. I wondered how slow they would have driven and what the jalopies they drove, where they stopped for food, if they camped at night or stayed in motels, etc. I find it an easy reach that the family probably chose different, less strenuous/dusty/awful roads, at least after a few years of making the trip they probably figured out a ‘preferred’ route. Looking at the historical maps it is pretty clear that going up I-25 through Casper, over to Shoshone and up the Wind River to Cody was likely the preferred path. I have deduced this because hwy 287 by way of Rawlins and Dubois is 1) awful scenery (at least until South Pass) and 2) weather (wind anyone?) and 3) Togwotee pass north of Dubois was not paved until the early 40s, so at least in the first 5-10 years the Fenns made that trip, Cody was likely the best/least terrible way to YNP. EDIT: after a little more research, my route was indeed called the ‘Road to Yellowstone’ and Thermopolis was marketed as ‘The Gateway to Yellowstone’.

So to re-cap: I have driven a lot in WY on a similar path that the Fenn’s could have travelled each year on their family trips to YNP. Much of that drive is awful (IMO) and has some significant landmarks along the way that could be ‘special’. There are warm waters halting in Thermopolis (for me it’s that cheesy chamber of commerce fountain). You can take a canyon south that is too far to walk, that is home to many a large brown trout (I know, I know). The Boysen Reservoir and dam were completed in 1952, so the Fenn’s would have seen a semi-natural river in their early trips, but the road through the canyon was there prior. I find it unlikely that the fishing Fenn’s would not have stopped at some point to fish that river. So, given Forrest’s love of fishing and fondness of his family and trips, I think it is at least plausible that this area may be special. I recall that Forrest (or was it his dad?) said that catching huge fish, while fun, the smaller ones could be more rewarding…I’m calling BS on that, because anyone who has ever landed a huge trout that takes 2 hands and all your strength to handle will tell you so…the Wind/Big Horn have always been prime habitat for large trout, catching a big ‘un is a likely scenario for an experienced fisherman especially if you learned the river over several years. My theory on the ‘special’ aspect is that Forrest and his dad may have caught some of the biggest brown trout they had ever seen on a specific section of the wind river canyon.
OK, the following is my official ‘arm chair’ solve, enjoy!

WWWH – check. We all agree YNP is a special place, to me the signature feature is Old Faithful, the water literally shoots up and halts, if but for a moment, before falling to earth. In Forrest’s writings it is clear to me that he chooses Form over Function, a pretty thing is so much more than just a thing. By the nature of the poem, interpreting WWWH is fraught with pitfalls and rabbit holes, so much so that it seems probable that was the intent…many want to say that ‘warm’ means this that or the other, but looking at the poem from just the poetry perspective, ‘Where Hot Water Halts’ is just not as pretty sounding as WWWH…also alliteration…3 is clearly better than 2. Now I’m not saying it is DEFINITIVELY a geyser, I like the idea of a hot springs pool on a river, where rocks are piled up to create a mixing area that you can adjust because usually the water is too hot to just have a singular pool, you need the colder river water. I also like a water fall, but more for water high than warm. Anyway, in my mind a geyser is both a simple way to view it because of the poem and very difficult because there are so many of them north of Santa Fe. The town of Thermopolis is a significant landmark on the long dusty trip from Texas, it offers food/lodging and a public hot springs park. Additionally the area has petroglyphs, notable dinosaur archeology, the Shoshone/Arapahoe reservation to the south and a colorful outlaw cowboy history; arrowhead and other treasure searches could easily kickoff in the area around Thermopolis.

Canyon down – check. Wind River Canyon contains exposed pre-cambrian layers and is many a rockhound’s outdoor classroom. One issue with the canyon itself: it is on the reservation and a rock climbing related search suggests the tribes view the canyon as sacred, (possibly burial grounds), route climbing is off limits and many have asked. Interestingly, game and fish have overseen the reservoir/rec areas (also on the reservation) since inception, a bit of paradox in my mind, publically accessible areas and roads, but on reservation land such that many activities are off limits. I stated earlier that I think it was likely the Fenn’s fished this river there are two areas just north of the dam that are managed by the state that include camping and river access, unclear when that access may have been established, likely after the dam was finished, I’m guessing back in the ‘40s/’50s things were likely less regulated.

TFTW – check. From Thermop to the canyon mouth is about 3 miles, the canyon is about 13 miles total length from the northern mouth to the dam, certainly too far to walk with 42 lbs. This clue/hint has always bothered me, if the poem is a map and the directions lead you there, why start from a point where you move on? I know many will claim they understand, yet no chest, so hard to buy into those claims. There must be a purpose to start in a place that you will eventually leave. Is it to help confirm you’re on the right first clue? Is it to make sure you see the entire path that FF took at one time? This just seems to be an oddity, include the fact that it is the one line that doesn’t rhyme and it seems to raise more questions than it answers.

Put in below home of Brown – flimsy, thin, questionable, let’s agree ‘plausible’ check. I have been catching trout since I was 4, fishing is most certainly important to FF. I grew up with the outdoors playing a large role; camping, fishing, hunting etc. I think older generations likely did similar activities, because, yeah, no internet back then. I would also argue that Wyoming is a pretty boring place, if you didn’t do outdoorsy stuff you likely didn’t stay long, as they say, ‘there are 2 things to do in Wyoming: shoot guns and drink beer’, I would add go fishing, which should technically include beer, IMO. Anyway, the point is fishing is indeed a popular hobby in Wyoming, for me it is one of only a handful of reasons I even go back nowadays. So what of the capital ‘B’? As seen throughout the history of the west someone named Brown can be found just about everywhere. Maybe that was FF’s intention, but I’m taking the easy way out and saying it is the Brown trout due to FFs fondness for fishing (boom alliteration x5!). The entrance to the canyon from the reservoir side (but before it was built, note the river flows north, so ‘down’ here is downstream, but my canyon down is south) is another possibility for HoB given that the fishing would have likely been best just inside the canyon not on the plains, any fisherman can tell you the big fish live in the canyons with the big rocks.

WARNING: ENTERING CONFIRMATION BIAS WORK ZONE
So let’s say a 10 year old Forrest is with the family fishing the canyon on their way to YNP, but lo the fish are not biting. Well, we know Forrest began searching for arrowheads and other historical/cultural areas at a young age. The canyon walls command your gaze, anyone familiar with archeology would be intrigued by the area. At the entrance to the canyon (moving north from the reservoir, with the flow) you quickly encounter the tunnels, bored through the rock at the narrowest spot in the canyon and another significant landmark on the way north. Nearby is a popular picnic/camping area and fishing spot: Upper Wind River CG. Between the first 2 tunnels, and a short walk from that popular camping/fishing spot is a small creek/gully… Gold Creek drains into the Wind here. It is extremely steep, indeed NO PLACE FOR THE MEEK – check. Also it is only intermittent flow (NO PADDLE), there are back roads that go above from the east, on BLM land, so it COULD be accessed by an old man, not likely from below (but also too visible to a fairly busy highway, IMO). Also, the top of the mesa here is over 5000’, part of the gulch is as well, so 2 more possible checks.

The end is ever drawing nigh – In my solve you go ‘down’ the canyon heading south, Gold Creek is to the east (or left) of the roadway. I spent a little time on GE to see if something else to the ‘left’ fit in here and nothing definitive. There is very interesting geology all around Gold Creek, there is an interesting white band in a couple areas near the top, but they appear to be both on the reservation land and just below 5000’. To the east of the top of the gulch is Birdeye peak (the bird in the moon sketch?) and on the leeward sides is a wood, a small area with real pine trees (most of the canyon and surrounding hills are dotted with small bushes, but very few trees), also near this wood is a fairly large rock outcropping and would be my number 1 spot if I wanted to hide something valuable there.
The remaining clues: heavy loads and water high and the blaze: I will take the easy way out, the train and the reservoir will be my heavy loads and water high, as they would be visible/audible from my spot. As for the blaze, again, I will take the easy way out and say it is the sun, this is where botg may be necessary, the point on the end of birdeye peak looks W-SW and sunset could easily play a role, but time of year would change the location on the horizon so not really.

Some other shortcomings: last stanza I can’t find anything about my spot that might fit ‘worth the cold’. Also, FF’s comment that when we learn the real solve, we will exclaim ‘why didn’t I think of that!’, nothing with my spot seems to jump out other than it is a ‘simple’ solution that uses only the Poem clues, good maps and my knowledge of the geography.

So, as I go alone on this quest (my family, friends and random strangers all think I’m insane), I’m left to answer some questions (besides the poem clues):
Is the area special to Forrest? I think it is plausible, the fishing would have been amazing back when, the canyon and town of Thermopolis break up a long, boring journey, and the area would have been ripe for exploring; world’s largest mineral hot springs, petroglyphs, dinosaur digs, indian reservation nearby, and rich cowboy history.

Access? The top of Gold Creek is just outside the reservation boundary (note: there are no fences or obvious markings for this boundary – on satellite views at least) and is indeed private land, however, there is a patchwork of BLM land (see game and fish interactive map) that can be reached by low clearance dirt roads with a near zero likelihood that someone would see you. The area is hilly, but more mesa like, once on top the walk to the rock outcrop or gulch would not be very difficult, even for FF and his 42lbs. Also, there are few manmade trails (but definitely cattle and big horn sheep frequent the area), but the roads nearby would allow a walk of about 2 miles with only a few hundred vertical. At this point I take no responsibility if someone goes and checks it out and it is private or otherwise inaccessible, as you can see below the route and parking can be done from BLM land only, assuming you can get up Birdseye road. So for me this area is plausible and maybe worth a look for a brave soul.

So you’re probably wondering about the other clues/hints: heavy loads and water high, worth the cold, etc. For me I think throwing out any of the poem is a bad idea and the number one reason I haven’t gone to make this search. I do believe that FF’s statements about how simple it is and you just need the poem, a good map and knowledge of geography lend themselves to this as at least plausible, do I really believe this is FFs special spot, no, but then only one way to be sure! If anyone has been in the area please let us know and of course let the flaming arrows fly about what I missed, but please don’t give me some cryptic, arbitrary statement about stars or numerology or how I haven’t solved all the layers yet, you all are crazy.

Here is a 3D pic. My spot would be a few inches to the right of the Boysen Fault line, but the access road is just out of frame. Also, currently public fishing is allowed from the dam up to just below the fault line shown.

Tbug-

 

 

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

A New Mexico Solution…

by Morrison James Tayn-

As I have gone alone in there
 And with my treasures bold,
I can keep my secret where, 
And hint of riches new and old.

(1.) “Begin it where warm waters halt”
Solve: Warm waters halt disease.
Location: “10,000 Waves” Spa Resort – Hot water Spa at 3451 Hyde Park Road, Santa Fe.
Note: This spa has been there for 30 years using the traditional Japanese Hot water therapy.

(2.) “And take it in the canyon down,”
Location: Follow Hyde Park Road (Ski Basin Road #475) in a canyon, towards the mountains
Note: You enter the canyon “down” before Hyde Park road ascends.

“Not far, but too far to walk.”
Instruction: 8 miles up to Ski Sante Fe Mountain
Note: 8 miles walking up 3600 feet, takes over 6 hours

(3.) “Put in below the home of Brown.”
Solve: In spanish “Home” is “Casa” and “Brown” is “Cafe”.
Location: Take the Winsor trailhead (#254) below the “Casa Café” at Ski Santa Fe Mountain, off of the parking lot.
Head towards the Borrego (#150) / Bear Wallows (#182) trail loop via Winsor Trail (#254).
Note: The trailhead is 10200 feet. Fenn, as per Dal, has said the treasure is specifically below 10,200 feet.

(4.) “From there it’s no place for the meek,”
Solve: “Borrego” is Portuguese for a gentle or meek person.
Location: At the trail fork of Borrego Trail (#150) & Winsor Trail (#254) continue on Winsor Trail (#254)

(5.) “The end is ever drawing nigh;”
Location: Consider a left off of Winsor Trail (#254), Bear Wallows Trail (#182)
Note: “Nigh horse” is on the left. The “Nighest route” is the most direct route. Creeks are “ever drawing” water

(6.) “There’ll be no paddle up your creek,”
Location: Investigate the shallow creeks along and off Bear Wallows and possibly Winsor trail. Head “up” creek.

(7.) “Just heavy loads and water high.”
Solve: You “bear” heavy loads and a ship “wallows” or rolls from side to side in water high as per Oxford Dictionary.
Location: Search Bear Wallows Trail (#182) for the blaze, most likely located up a side creek.

(8.) “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,”
Instruction: Look for a possibly “white” marked boulder 200+ feet up a side creek.
Note: Fenn says seekers have been within 200 feet of the treasure and describes, in triplicate, blazes as being “white”.

(.9) “Look quickly down, your quest to cease,”
Note: The chest is not buried but most likely covered or hidden in a hollow tree, root hollow, or rock crevice and it is “wet” as per Fenn, signifying it may be placed right in a shallow creek.

But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.
So why is it that I must go
And leave my trove for all to seek?
The answers I already know,
I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.
So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.

Map (Road in Black, Trails in Red)

(10.) Shortcut:
Bear Wallows Trail (#182) and Borrego (#150) are accessible from a small parking area, half way up Ski Basin Road #475.

-Morrison James Tayn

 

Crossing Over…

by JDA

 

“What If” the poem is not about finding a chest full of gold, but rather a poem about crossing over to the other side?

In 1988, Forrest was diagnosed with cancer.  We know very little about his battle with cancer, other than the fact that he is a survivor. “What If” he died, but was one of the fortunate few who came back, before fully crossing over to the other side?  “What If” Forrest wrote the poem to tell us how to prepare for that journey that we will all take at one point or another?

I firmly believe that there is a hidden bronze chest of gold out there, and that the poem holds the secret to finding that chest, but I also believe that the poem could be about that “crossing over”.

“As I have gone alone in there…”

As I went into that very special place that we must each go into alone, for no one can accompany us on this journey. Others may be at our side, and even hold our hand, but this is one journey that we each must take ALONE.

“And with my treasures bold,…”

As I go into this very special place, I take with me all of the memories of my time spent here on earth.  My life flashes before me in an instant.  Time seems to stand still as I remember every moment of my life – The good, the bad, and the ugly.

“I can keep my secret where,…”

Having crossed over that threshold, but was able to return, I know where this special portal lies, but I can keep it a secret, until I once again must use that portal.

“And hint of riches new and old.”

Having crossed over, I was able to look back upon my life and all of its riches – My friends and my family.  Ones that were closest to me, and meant the most to me.  But, I can also see the wonders that exist “On the other side.”

“Begin it where warm waters halt…”

Where must this journey begin?  It is said that the body is composed of 99% water.  The blood that courses through our bodies is truly our “Life’s blood.”  We are warm blooded animals. Once our heart stops beating, our “Life’s blood” ceases to flow through our body, and we soon begin to cool.

So, our journey begins at that place where the heart ceases to beat, where our “warm water” ceases to flow through our body.  It may be in a hospital, it may be in a wrecked automobile, or it may be in a Grove of Pines somewhere within the Rocky Mountains somewhere 8.5 miles north of Santa Fe.  The spot may be of our choosing, or “Fate” may select the spot for us.

And take it in the canyon down…”

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”  Psalms 23:4 describes the trip down the canyon.

“Not far,  but too far to walk.”

The journey from this side, to the next, will happen in the blink of an eye, and yet will encompass possibly millions of miles.

“Put in below the home of Brown.”

In order to take this journey, unafraid, one must have faith that there is another reality after death. Monks, whether Buddhist or Christian frequently wore Brown cassocks in days of yore. This Brown cassock, is a symbol of religious faith – regardless the denomination or sect.  So, on your journey to the other side, put your faith in whatever religion or belief that you have relied on during your journey on this earth.

“From there it’s no place for the meek…”

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” On your journey, you can see the earth quickly fading from view. This will no longer be your home.  Other, even grander places await you.

“The end is ever drawing nigh;…”

The end of your final journey is fast approaching.

“There’ll be no paddle up your creek…”

On this journey, there will be no need for paddles, nor any other means of conveyance or locomotion.  Just think it, and you will be there.

“Just heavy loads and water high.”

You are the product of every moment that you have lived.  Some religious beliefs call it Karma.  By whatever name, we each are responsible for every act and thought that we have had while living on this earth.  We do not shed these acts when we cross over to the next realm.  For some, this will be a heavy load.

In the Christian bible there is the following: The Second Day: Firmament Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.…  Truly, Water High.

“If you’ve been wise and found the blaze…”

If you’ve been wise… If you have gained wisdom about living in this life, you have also gained wisdom about facing death… For those who have had “Near death experiences”, many describe it as walking into a brilliant light.  This must have been what Forrest experienced – the celestial blaze.

“Look quickly down, your quest to cease…”

As you enter the brilliant white light that is the blaze, look quickly down, back at the life that you are now leaving…Your quest to know what is on “The other side” is about to be fulfilled.

“But tarry scant with marvel gaze…”

Don’t stare in wonder at the world you are leaving, nor at the new world you are about to enter.

“Just take the chest and go in peace…”

Don’t question what is about to happen, just take the gift that you are being offered, and move peacefully into your new realm.

“So why is it that I must go

And leave my trove for all to seek?”

Why must I die, and leave my loved ones behind, wondering where I have gone and what awaits me on the other side?

“The answers I already know,…”

Since I have crossed over once before, I already know what to expect, and I am not afraid.

“I’ve done it tired, and now I am weak.”

Having lived a full and wonderful life after having once crossed over, I am now tired and weak, and look forward to my second crossing.

“So hear me all and listen good…”

Please pay attention.  What I have had to say is important to you, and your upcoming journey.

“Your effort will be worth the cold…”

Crossing over is not easy.  Letting go of this life is not easy, but it is something that we each must do, and it is not to be feared.  Soon your body will be cold, but that is OK.  It was only a vessel to carry your life’s vital energy, that is now entering a new realm.

“If you are brave and in the wood…”

If you have faced the crossing over bravely, just as you have faced so many other challenges in this life, the outcome is not to be feared.  As you now lie in your “Pine Box” – you will have already crossed over.

“I give you title to the gold.”

You have crossed over, your reward will be to forever walk in peace on “Streets paved in gold”.  In reality, there are no streets here, for there is no need.  All you have to do is think it, and it shall be a reality.

Epilog:

As I said at the beginning, I fully believe that there is a bronze box filled with gold and precious gems hidden out there somewhere, and that the poem has the secrets to finding it.  I also believe that what I have just described above is also possible.

JDA –
TRY to STAY SAFE all.

 

The Legend of Forrest Fenn…

by DeCall Thomas
www.fenntreasure.com

Prologue: What a mess Forrest Fenn has gotten himself into this time… the flames growing ever higher… he can afford to lose a finger or two… a bit off his tail. These will all grow back. (He’s been in a tight spot or two before;) Fenn is the immortal Salamander you know, escaping the fiery furnace unharmed… We will set this poor fellow free. Back to the forest and fen where he belongs…
salamander1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salamanders_in_folklore_and_legend

Philosophy: Straightforward and simple. Fenn wrote two books about the poem and his life. One would expect to find hints or clues in those books. Don’t be overly creative, just visit the places Fenn spoke of and apply them to the poem. To demonstrate this idea, take “where warm waters halt” (wwwh) in the context of “The Thrill of the Chase” (TTOTC) and we think of “Yellowstone National Park” (YNP) because of Fenn’s stories in TTOTC and because YNP is the obvious place to find hot springs, boiling pots, and geysers in the Rocky Mountains. Also, try to follow directions. When it says “take it in the canyon down” simply go “down” rather than go “south”
Theme and Structure: The theme of the poem is Fenn’s journey through life. The Omegas (Fenn’s colophon) are found in the poem. (Halt and Cease in the poem are literally the words representing the beginning and ending of the “quest”. We are not looking for a “double omega”) This means that the journey is between those two words.
The poem structure is both “Palindrome” (mirror) and “Circular”
Symbols:
Ω entrance and exit on the stage of life Ω
end to end ⊙ (Hollow Log)
Secret Stuff: Yeah, there’s secret stuff..

FFMO

Photo Description:
View of Minnie Lake looking West. Not easily seen is the island in the center of the lake with it’s own pine tree. The tree is actually about 15′ tall and the island is about 60′ long. From the edge of the lake it looks perfectly like a grave mound and tombstone. Minnie lake is about 2.1 miles from parking at Potamageton Park, Trail 205 trail head. The hike is difficult, but not extreme. We hiked to it in about 2 hours.

As I have gone alone in there
“As” may seem an odd way to start the poem, but for me it appears to be an instruction to follow. What better “word that is key” than the first word of the poem? I had thought of “alone” but it is the same effect. “As” is the key. So if “As…” = “Like I’ve gone in there” We are looking for the different ways or places that Fenn had gone alone into. So in the context of TTOTC, we remember that Fenn visited the cemetery alone at night. He went to see the gypsy girls dancing. He went fishing on the Madison River alone. River bathing alone. He flew his fighter jet alone, and his private plane alone. Different roles or hats = different solution layers. Eric = one or alone. (Wikipedia) Alone = ⊙ or mega “O” OPPOSITE of the “X” mark . Entrance to the hollow log.

And with my treasures bold,
The treasure chest is bold, Fenn’s (or our) gifts to the world. Also bold means that Fenn stripped down to place the chest in cold water, and we must strip down to retrieve the chest in cold water.

I can keep my secret where,
Answer: “Under my hat” or in my mind (mine alone, and any use of the word my or mine by Fenn. Minnie = mine) (Great article on this by Mindy)

And hint of riches new and old.
I believe this means the contributions of Forrest Fenn past and present. Possibly these are riches possessed by the reader? The potential in all of us? Also a Tribute, Riches = Eric Sloan (Hinrichs, credit to Mindy for this idea), Richard Weatherill (bracelet), Dr. Richard Blake (solar physicist)

FirstOmega

Photo Description:

Google Earth screen-shot. This area is the stomping-ground for Fenn’s childhood summers. It also represents his emotional, romantic yearning for this region… it belongs to him. Firehole is the important feature here. The Firehole halts dramatically at the Madison Junction (MJ). The Madison River begins here. I have always understood that the shadow man is Fenn, hat and walking stick ready to begin his journey, and standing at MJ. As Dal Neitzel pointed out, warm waters don’t halt at Ojo Caliente (River Bathing is Best). WWWH is only important because of it’s shape, a Fire Hole, aka a MEGA “O”. Halt is an abrupt “end”, Ω qualifying as an “Omega”. The Firehole is symbolic of his start in the art business, where he dropped chunks of metal into the fiery furnace and from the crucible, he poured molten metal to create bronze art. Compare to a burning, hollow log.

Begin it where warm waters halt
Dal Neitzel’s explanation for WWWH —– (Click here to go there… I like it, thank you Dal)
Begin “it” is likely his favorite river that he doesn’t want to say of course. “It”, also means one of the different layers, roles, hats, ideas. For example, begin “birth” when the water breaks and the baby born; begin death when the heart stops and the body buried, begin the treasure hunt where the Firehole halts (a “T” where the name changes) and where the Madison River begins. The fire- hole is a mega “O” in shape Ω. Water flows out of the ground and into the river, symbolic of an entrance, birth, onto the stage of life. Parallel symbolism here is Fenn’s start in the bronze casting business… certainly a fire-hole forge, the beginning of his art business and financial success.
“The most common mistake that I see searchers make is that they underestimate the importance of the first clue. If you don’t have that one nailed down you might as well stay home and play Canasta.” f (speaking of WWWH)
Why? The beginning and the end are the same. Just trust me on this one. HALT AND CEASE, omegas IN the poem.
An entire book could be written about the ecosystem of this river and the life that permeates here. Take “it” in the canyon down. Simple and straightforward. (It still applies to each layer or interpretation: birth, death, sex, Vietnam, and literally) Forrest made WWWH a little more obvious by putting it on the cover of “Too Far to Walk”. The title is described as the 10+ miles of winding Madison River between the Firehole river and Hebgen Lake. If you had Fenn’s correct TFTW then you also know WWWH and hoB, because they are contiguous. Put in, below the home of Brown. All clues are relative to Fenn’s life. Brown = Brown trout, which spawn between Hebgen Lake and Gibbon Falls and also up to Firehole Falls. This is also relevant to the theme of water… water being the stage of life; Fenn’s life, from entrance to exit, omega door to omega door. Can it be any more clear? The most obvious Brown, the most obvious place, Hebgen, his favorite river, his childhood memories. This was his stomping ground for 20 years, his first taste of freedom and adventure. Like Fenn’s escape from school down the fire escape, we begin to understand… the legend of the salamander...

So when did FF discover the omegas? When did FF say, they belong to me, I own it…. mine alone. When did he understand that it expressed his life? He must have felt his heart skip a beat when he knew the world would think of him when they saw them, the double omegas, and see his entire story in a glance. Like something hieroglyphic read by some future generation. The story must be told. So what do Omegas mean, and what spectacular place is his legacy? If the Firehole is the entrance, the beginning, then where is the other omega? The exit. The end of this journey? It cannot be here for it must be at the other end of this trail… And what is the trail? The Madison river. So we take it down wherever it leads us. Birth, childhood, his military career, and his start in the art business, FF enters the flaming o, alone, innocent, bearing treasures of his talents and contributions along the way. Trials and difficulties are certain to come… and secrets untold.

And take it in the canyon down,
Madison Canyon down. Fenn’s Journey.

Not far, but too far to walk.
Stretch of Madison river as described in the preface of TFTW.

Put in below the home of Brown.
hoB = Hebgen lake because the Brown Trout migrate upstream to spawn.

hoB

Photo Description:

Hebgen Lake, a place mentioned many times by Fenn, and of obvious importance. Brown trout spawn upstream into the Madison, Firehole and Gibbon rivers. We have Hebgen as the most obvious “home of Brown” in the context of Fenn’s books, stories, and interviews. Tolerate this interpretation for now…. we have not disproven the idea. In the teachers with ropes picture, I take this to mean the Madison River. The teacher is hand outstretched, clearly symbolic of halt, holding the end of the rope (where the Madison begins). This allows us to identify the big car as Hebgen, or home of brown (similar to house bronze). My additions to the illistration make it easier to see the basic circle of the poem, and the contiguous nature of water in the poem. I see the 9 clues to be 9 places along this water pathway among the 24 lines of the poem. Let’s not forget that we are to “put in below” the hoB. This idea fits perfectly below the dam, which interrupts this contiguous flow of water. The fire escape pictured here is like the one at Fenn’s school, and fits perfectly with the idea of the Salamander escaping (hollow log) the fire unharmed… the brown streak on his pants was mentioned in ttotc.
Miscellaneous Meanings

Stick-Men: This oddity seems to point to the Geoglyph. Fenn is the walking man, Fenn is the football player, Fenn is the other football man. Fenn is the shadow man (with hat). We can deduce that Fenn IS the Axolotl Geoglyph (which also has a hat!!)
Elevation: 8,264 ft. or just above 8.25 on the altimeter
GPS: Latitude: 44.9313984°N Longitude: -111.3346734°W – “I, one, one” (First Line) match the GPS coordinates 111 deg. W. The 44lb chest could be the other coordinate.
Distance: 42 miles from “Begin it” to “quest to cease” (Omega to Omega)
CompassRadialClockface: Minnie Lake could be a clock face or Radial. My guess, the tc is between 0700 and 0800 when FF does his best thinking. That’s also where the bear is standing, floating hat picture.
Most Compelling Evidence: Perhaps the most compelling evidence for this area is the salamander geoglyph nearly 8 football fields wide. The artist is UNKNOWN. Not a forgery, but forged with hard work. Many man hours, equipment and fuel went into this… and for what purpose and what end? Fate and an eye for a deal, Forrest Fenn had to appreciate this unclaimed art. It even has trees (Forest) and (fen) pondweed!! But this alone would not have been enough for his legacy. Within reasonable distance is Minnie Lake. Also undeniable are the sexual overtones here. Why? A masterpiece must have multiple meanings and symbols. Fenn is not a cutesy simple a man, he’s a multi-millionaire, jet pilot, Alpha-Male charmer with class and style.
Also compelling evidence is the RARE island and shape of Minnie Lake. It has the Fenn grave. It has the hat shape. It has the “O” shape. It has the feminine gender and tribute to women. It has the entrance of cold snow melt into the Madison River system. And, If Minnie Hollow Wood isn’t convincing enough, then no solve will ever do. (We know little bighorn is important to FF and, think about it, “BRAVE AND IN THE WOOD”!!!) Fenn has used often the words “little” and “small”. I have no doubt that Minnie IS the “little” Indian girl. Minnie1 Minnie2 Minnie3
Note: Probably the ugliest picture in the book is of the “Tiger Skin on the Tin Roof” but in the context of a Tiger Salamander on the side of a hill, it fits quite well. Perhaps even a confirmation of what we are looking for.
Note 2: Does anyone but me think the poem is 3d? As in hollow log, tunnel, mine? Alone and Gold are both “Circle-Dot,” found first line and last line. Also interesting is that the Greek alphabet has 24 letters (poem 24 lines) the last letter being an Omega. Omega = Circle Dot
Note 3: Does anyone SEE the floating hat?

Beaver

Photo Description:

Once “below the home of Brown”, we are pretty much in walking distance of the treasure. This Google Earth view covers most of the area for “Searching for Lewis and Clark” which started at Red Canyon and ended unknown (which of course, we know, was Beaver Creek). “no place for the meek” is quake lake and Forest Service Road 985, which goes to dirt here. Many wild animals in this area, winter or summer. Steep draws on both sides. Beavers and Boats have paddles. Beaver creek is known for it’s heavy silt loads every spring. Our first glimpse of the Salamander Geoglyph.

From there it’s no place for the meek,
Quake lake earthquake and dirt road starts here. We saw many animals and different tracks starting here. Birth = Life is difficult. Death = judgment day. Etc.

The end is ever drawing nigh;
Steep mountain sides here. Potamogeton park (means a fen) at the end of this forest service road. Birth = Life is short (clock starts ticking). Death = Day of Reckoning Sex = Orgasm soon Secret = Murder? (just using my imagination)

There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
Beaver Creek, Boat Mtn. Birth = spanking. Death = nobody can help you now Etc.

Just heavy loads and water high.
Heavy loads = silt in streams, water high = high mountain lake. Death = 6 feet under. Sex = pre orgasm
Life and water, follow a path. Fenn creates his own destiny. Bravely choosing his course in Vietnam, in love and business. There has been no sign of meekness here… fault lines here too… his books are filled with these stories. I would love to hear the secrets untold… well, not all, since some things are best kept as secrets. Now you see that this journey is perfectly symbolized by the Madison River, Hebgen Lake, and Beaver Creek. Water from beginning to end, like a highway. A life filled with heavy loads, difficulty, and challenges.

TeaTrail

Photo Description:

Most notable is the EXACT location where the picture from page 58 of TTOTC. This is easy to verify in Google Earth using the tree patterns. Also, not so obvious, the cover of TTOTC could be a map of this area. Fenn in the green jump suit being the geoglyph, the boy hat is Minnie Lake, and the horses picture representing the area pictured. Of interest is the field of stumps picture. There is a corresponding field of stumps below the Axolotl Geoglyph, and the moon matches Minnie lake, where the dove of peace nests. Perhaps the first moment Forrest and Donnie realized they would find their way out was just west of Axolotl Lake. The geoglyph is NOT seen from the ground. It is not known how or when FF saw the Salamander and/or the island on Minnie Lake for the first time. 1987 is the oldest picture I have found for the geoglyph (1988 YNP fires). Most likely, FF found this by air or satellite photo. He probably thought this geoglyph was Native American. I have seen for myself that the clearings were cut with modern tools. Also unknown is who composed this scene… (Axolotl Lake with the Salamander with Minnie Hollow Wood) Curious that this place matches so well the legend of the Salamander, “brave and in the wood”, the floating hat, the fire at both ends, the hollow log, etc.
Note: Electronics Color Code – Red = 2, Black = 0, Green = 5 probably trail 205. Trail 88 also leaves Potamogeton Park and goes near Minnie Lake on the North East side. 88 could certainly be a double omega. Omega = 800. 8 = infinity etc.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
Sage Peak, Minerva, Finding Lewis and Clark mountain man wisdom. Sun or Gold circumpunct.

Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
“Look quickly” is letting you know to look in the cold water. “quest to cease” is telling you that it has been a quest and that “cease” is the last Omega Ω.

But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
“tarry scant” gives the sense of enjoy the moment and beauty of the place

Just take the chest and go in peace.
Some form of satisfaction when the journey is complete

Football

Photo Description:

The clearing of trees and the creation of the Salamander Geoglyph was pre 1987. It’s not known how old it is. I’ve not found any documentation of this geoglyph, nor were the old-timers at the Forest Service any help. The only obvious history in the area was evidence of logging here and damage by fire between 1995 and 2005. You may have wondered what the two different stick-men in football helmets had to do with anything? The tiger stripes on the Salamander seem to represent both the football field (ff) and the ladder (seen on the chest and in the jet pictures). You may also be able to finally make out the “floating” hat comparison. Another interesting point, we see an “M” or “W” under the salamander smile, and going through the eyes and along its back. Switchbacks are probably in many search areas, but the “M” only adds to the meaning (William Marvin Fenn).

Fenn’s Legacy and Masterpiece
How do we recognize a correct solve? Is it possible to know we have it right? There can be only one place. It must have meaning to Fenn. It must be symbolic or literal Forrest Fenn. And finally I believe it will likely be spectacular.

Legend
The Salamander is the ideal idol for Fenn / Fen worship. It’s supernatural powers. It is the element of fire. It’s connection to fishing and forest and fen. It’s even shaped like a Fenn fetish. There is no question the frog in the chest is meant to foresee the missing bell or jar figure. The salamander fits perfectly with the bronze jar theme: Butterfly, Dragonfly, Frogs, (and the oddball gypsy girl). This nocturnal creature comes out at night and on rainy days. Newt form of the salamander has gills that resemble fire. When Fenn says to use our imagination, he is probably speaking in part about this creature… how it hides in and under logs, and despite the surrounding danger, it remains unharmed. Much like Fenn escaping the jet crashes and cancer and the other incidents. Persian origin of the word means “fire within”. No wonder FF sees this as some sort of spiritual collision of time and place.

MHW

Photo Description:

Hats… every picture on both covers is of Fenn wearing a hat. This is also iconic, of his legacy. A hat trick for sure, especially when you realize it’s a home run for Sitting Bull’s Peace Pipe. How? Value goes up. Minnie Lake is named after “Minnie Hollow Wood” who fought in the battle of Little Bighorn. She was allowed to wear the headdress (another hat) in honor of her fierce bravery. What a great tribute to women! Now, we also see that Minnie lake is shaped a bit like Fenn’s Stetson, and also the floating hat (Mildew) complete with the hole in the center. I have always considered the floating hat scrapbook to be some type of confession…. read it again about the hole…
Fenn had also devoted a page or two or three to his dad’s fishing hat. We see the only mention of “Minnie” in scrapbook 53 about diggin gypsy (DG) bringing back the Minnie Pearl look. I’m sure FF was trying to hit DG over the head with that one. An Omega does look like a top hat of sorts. I had to include in here Fenn’s Easter egg, a circle dot, complete with wooden egg signed by Eric Sloan. This mirrors first line “Alone” with “in the wood” last line.

So why is it that I must go
And leave my trove for all to seek?
To build his Legend of course.

The answers I already know,
answers plural confirm again there are multiple secrets, including where the chest is.

I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.
“done it” being = to “Begin it”. Meaning various things that he has began or done…. these secrets take a toll in life, thus tired and weak

Gold

Photo Description:

Look at the bracelet. Those are perfect circle dots in blue or green turquoise. Sun worship, gold worship, breast worship…. Fenn loves double omegas.
Now look at the island / mound. It looks like his epitaph… Fenn’s grave. I have no doubt that THIS was the magic spot that FF wanted to memorialize forever. This is his alone. “My spot, Mine, Mine, Mine, Minnie. This is the end. Death. He said he’d never wear the hat. (Never Die?, never arrive? etc.)
This looks very much like the dancing gypsy illustration and also Fenn’s feet by the fire pic. I have no doubt that this is the True Blaze and that the woman looking in the floor picture is showing us to look IN the last Omega (pot in the floor = underwater and dragonfly symbol = water)(also pot of gold at the end of the rainbow). Just keep fishing around in the mud until you find it…. better be July August when the water temp is tolerable.

So hear me all and listen good,
Hear Fenn’s life story

Your effort will be worth the cold.
Look around in the cold water

If you are brave and in the wood
I doubt anyone could come up with a better “brave and in the wood” as Minnie Hollow Wood and Eric Sloane along with a Salamander escaping the burning log.

I give you title to the gold.
Title = Ownership. The symbol for gold and sun, ⊙ end to end ⊙ (Hollow Log)

Epilogue
This story is far from finished. Forrest Fenn’s full story is yet to be revealed. I hope that I (the author) have contributed in some small way. I am a promoter at heart. That is what I do. One does not always need a reward for what he does. I will play this game how I want to.
Contact: decallthomas@gmail.com or www.FaceBook.com/decall

My Best Solve So Far…

by TimM

Hi everyone.  I have been sitting on this solve for over a year and a half.  So far, I think it’s the best one I’ve come up with.  I have had a few other ones in the past two years but I always seemed to try my hardest to get the solve to fit the poem instead of the other way around.  This one, however, it appeared that everything just fell into place.  I had planned to go to Colorado last spring to get boots on the ground but for one reason or another that never happened.  I was in a rush to beat Amy Sweitzer to Colorado because this solve was so good that I thought she figured it out too…  lol.   Amy, and whoever else, can check it out if you want to….  But, if you find the chest, don’t forget to throw this old dog a bone.

I was trying to figure out the best way to tell my solve without boring all of you.  I figured the best way to do it is to tell a few stories from the research I’ve done and then use a lot of pictures.  I apologize in advance if this gets too wordy.  I will also try to give you the websites that I got my ideas from.  You’ll have to forgive me if I can’t remember some of the info… it’s been well over a year.  I have always thought that the whole poem held clues.  I didn’t want to skip the first stanza and start WWWH.   So, with that said… lets get started.

Story 1.   In January 1859 a fellow by the name of George Jackson was hunting with his buddy.  They camped in an area now known as Clear Creek.  Jackson wanted to explore the area around there more but his hunting buddy decided it wasn’t for him and returned to Golden, Colorado.  The next day Jackson explored westward and saw a bluish mist or cloud rising from the nearby canyon.  He thought it was an indian encampment so he crept through deep snow to look over the ridge.  What he saw was a herd of mountain sheep grazing on green grass and the mist was steam from a hot spring.  After camping there over night he headed west the next day.  He set up camp on a sand bar next to Clear Creek and built a bonfire.  The fire thawed the ground around him and he was able to use a drinking cup to pan for gold.  He ended up finding $9.00 worth of gold.  Jackson marked the spot and returned to Golden, Colorado planning to return next spring.

Story 2.   Silver Plume is a silver mining town in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains west of Denver, Colorado.  The name of the town came from a poem that the owner of a hotel made when prospectors brought some silver in to him.  His poem is:

Knights today are miners bold,
Who delve in deep mines’ gloom,
To honor men who dig for gold,
For ladies whom their arms enfold,
We’ll name the town Silver Plume!

Another resident of Silver Plume was a gentleman named Clifford Griffin.  Mr Griffin was from New York.  He was set to be married but the night before the wedding his soon-to-be wife became gravely ill and died.  To escape the memories of his beloved he and his brother moved to Colorado and they came to own the 7:30 mine.  It was named the 7:30 mine because the owners would allow their miners to start work at 7:30 intstead of 6 a.m. like all the other mines in the region.  Every evening Mr Griffin would go up to a nearby cliff and play the violin.  The sounds of his music could be heard everywhere in town because of the acoustics of the valley.  One night after playing his melodies the townspeople heard a shot ring out.  Most of the town ran up to the cliff to find Mr Griffin had shot himself in the heart and was lying in a grave that he had already dug.  He left a note for the people asking to be left where he was because that’s the only place he found happiness after his wife passed away.  The town errected a granite monument in his honor directly over the gravesite.

Now… down to the solve.

Lets look at the first stanza…

As I have gone alone in there
And with my treasures bold,
I can keep my secret where,
And hint of riches new and old.

I figured that this was a clue to get you to the right general area.  Hinting of riches new and old meant that the chest are the new riches and the old ones are precious metals or artifacts.  I don’t remember exactly how I got to the search area that I’m about to tell you about but it seems everything fits…  “As I have gone alone in there”  much like Clifford Griffin going alone and accepting his fate on the cliff.  He was ready to pass on.  “And with my treasures bold”  kind of ties in with the poem that named the town of Silver Plume.  I know it’s a stretch but bear with me…. These hints are mostly fluff or coincidence.

The next stanza reads…

Begin it where warm waters halt
And take it in the canyon down,
Not far, but too far to walk.
Put in below the home of Brown

Now this is where the meat and potatoes are!  The first story regarding George Jackson is key here.  The hot springs that he found are in Idaho Springs, Colorado.  Early records show that a hot spring geyser erupted in 1859 but had stopped flowing by 1860 and it was attributed to the mining activity in the area.  This is where warm waters halt.    Let’s take a look at a map…   pic1I have circled the town of Idaho Springs.  That’s Interstate 70 running East to West.  If you “Begin it where warm waters halt”….

pic2

“And take it in the canyon down” ….

pic3

You end up in the area of Georgetown and Silver Plume.   At the height of production from the mines in this area, a group of investors got together and decided that a railroad would be better to transport the ore down to the Denver area.  The grade was steep and tough so they designed the rail line to loop around a few times to give the steam engines a chance to build up speed.  After the mining in the area died down portions of the railroad was torn out… but not the section between Georgetown and Silver Plume.  This is known as the Georetown Loop.  It is a sightseeing railroad that is still in use today…  Here is a map of the looped tracks…

pic4

See how the tracks loop over themselves?   The distance between the two towns is only 2 miles… but the length of the railroad tracks is 4 miles. There is also a bike/ walking path next to Interstate 70 between the two towns.  Does that mean its “Not far, but too far to walk”?  Why walk when you can take the train, right?

The next line in the poem is “Put in below the home of Brown”   Take a look at this map below.  This map is of the town of Silver Plume and just west of it.  If you look close you will see a notation that says “Brown Gulch”.  The gulch was named after one of the earler miners in the area.  There was a town of Brownsville just below the gulch that actually preceded Silver Plume.  After Silver Plume came into existance, the town of Brownsville became sort of a slum area that was mostly inhabited by immigrants.  Both towns had their own schools because no one wanted to intergrate them.  An avalanche occurred and wiped most of Brownsville off the map and killed a bunch of miners and their families.  After that, the two towns merged into what exists today.  So, when you “Put in below the home of Brown” you are in the town of Silver Plume.

pic5

Lets look at the next stanza….

From there it’s no place for the meek,
The end is ever drawing nigh;
There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high.

This stanza gets you moving…  Do you see the zig-zag line on the map North of the Town of Silver Plume?  That’s not a road… that is a hiking trail.  Remember the story about Clifford Griffin?  That trail leads you to the monument on top of the cliff where he died.  It’s called the 7:30 mine trail.  The trail zig-zags because the grade is steep.  That means “From (Silver Plume) it’s no place for the meek,”  And of course “the end is ever drawing nigh” because the trail stops at the monument… where Mr Griffin’s end occurred.   The next line is “There’ll be no paddle up your creek” but it’s not talking about Clear Creek…  There used to be another small creek that dumped into Clear Creek.  It was called Cherokee Creek.  It’s not flowing any more or it has been diverted.   You’ll see why it doesn’t flow any more in a picture later.  As for “Just heavy loads and water high”.   I attribute that to the heavy loads of a backpack and water high, as in tipping your drinking water up to get a few gulps.

On to the next stanza…

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.

I think there is only one or maybe 2 clues in this stanza…  Obviously “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze” is one of them.   Let me show you some pictures of the 7:30 mine trail.  These photographs were posted by Nathan Abels at http://nathanabels.blogspot.com/2010/03/silver-plume-griffin-memorial-hike-mega.html

pic6

The trail doesn’t look too rough… do you think its easy enough for an 80 year old man??

pic7

Now this is an important photograph.  See the pile of stones there?  Is that a blaze?  Well, not exactly….  Its called a cairn.  If you needed to mark a trail in unfamiliar surroundings and there were no trees to put a “blaze” what would you do?  Exactly… a cairn serves the same purpose since they both mark the path.  There are a series of these cairns along the 7:30 mine trail.  “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze…”

We are getting close, ladies and gentlemen!!!

The next line is “Look quickly down, your quest to cease,”   The next map shows a little different view of the 7:30 mine trail… you can see the topography.  Unfortunately, when you zoom this close on Google Maps the lines that mark the elevation disapear.  I know from my research that where I think the chest might be is within the 5000 to 10200 feet in elevation.  I want you to pay particular attention where the mine trail makes almost a 90 degree turn straight up.  Do you see it in the center of the map?  It goes up for a reason there…

pic8

This next picture is right after you turn due north on the trail.  You can see that it is a steep drop off on the left side and that’s why the trail turns north.  Nathan posted on his blog that there was also a cairn in this photograph but I don’t see it.  I’ll take him at his word.   This is where you “Look quickly down, your quest to cease”   The rest of the stanza just means get it and get out… lol.

pic9

Let’s go to the next stanza…. Hang in there, we almost have it  !!!

So why is it that I must go
And leave my trove for all to seek?
The answers I already know,
I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.

I think this stanza goes back to the reason Forrest hid the chest in the first place.  He wanted to leave a lagacy….   Be remembered.   “So why is it that I must go”

That kind of sounds like what Clifford Griffin might say.   He also might say “The answers I already know, I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak.”  This pretty much sums up this stanza.

The Final Stanza…..   (drum roll…….)

So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.

“so hear me all and listen good, your effort will be worth the cold.”  Well, due to the geography of the region Silver Plume seldom gets into the 70 degree range.  Most of the time it’s lower than that….   But let me show you something amazing….    “”If you are brave and in the wood, I give you title to the gold.”

When you “Look quickly down” this is what you’ll see…..

pic10

Do you see where the trail turns North?  What would you see if you looked over the edge??  Can you tell what it is in the gulch?   How about if I show you the photo….

pic11

Do you see the wood??   If you are in the wood, you get the gold…    (by the way, this is why Cherokee Creek was diverted or doesn’t flow any more.)

TA DAH !!!!!!!   (he he he he he)

Before you go off looking this stuff up on the interwebs, let me give you a few more tidbits….

If you look on Dal’s blog under the “cheat sheet”  you can quantify everything on that list with this solve.  It all works in order…  and as for this place being special to Forrest?  Well, the Silver Plume School House that sits at the base of the mountain in back of town has been converted to a historical museum.  Remember how Forrest’s dad took him to the school house because of the saying over the door?   Maybe this place is special because he brought family here to ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad?  Maybe it’s the fishing in Clear Creek?  I’m not sure… but all of fits.

If you go check it out, remember this old dog that led the way…  Happy hunting and BE SAFE!!!

Take care,

TimM

Unpopular Attempt to Solve the Poem, By Seeker

9 clues equal 9 lines and we all know that WWWH is the one and only first clue, which leaves take it in the canyon down to be clue two…etc. Well, I’m not buying what y’all are selling.

F. Fenn in a Q&A;

Someone unfamiliar with your poem receives a message that says “meet me where warm waters halt, somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe”. Would they be able to work out where to go? If they can’t, would they need the whole poem, another stanza, or just a line or word to help them on their way? ~Phil Bayman

There are a few words in the poem that are not useful in finding the treasure Phil, but it is risky to discount any of them. You over simplify the clues. There are many places in the Rocky Mountains where warm waters halt, and nearly all of them are north of Santa Fe. Look at the big picture, there are no short cuts. f

The thing that Keeps itching my brain is, how many clues does it take to get an answer? The kitchen sink solvers [ coined by colokid ~ thx ] may not get this, or even want to entertain it, but I’m hoping for some feed back from those who don’t have all the answers to every page in the book, every SB entry, and don’t only use 9 lines out of 24 in trying to come up with a workable solve. And please, lets put aside the scuba gear, shovels and pick axes for a moment as well.

“Many wwh in the RM’s… look at the big picture, there are no short cuts.” This seems to imply if there are many warm waters halt, wouldn’t there be just as many canyon down? Let examine the KiSS method on this [ Keep it simple Seeker ]. Should waters as plural mean ‘simply’ all liquid water then all waters take it in the canyon down referring to any and all canyons that water is directed to…Why wouldn’t canyon be plural as well? Water[s] indicate all water to all canyons ~ as a system ~ seems elementary. Which now might give credence to Not far, but too far to walk as the travels of the waters over the RM’s range. Or simply put, the watershed of the the Rockies. Does this seem to look at the poem as the “big picture” straightforward and Kissable? The problem is, will others even consider this as a single possible one clue?

Lets jump back to stanza 1 for a second. “As I have gone alone”… Does the RM’s seem to reference where fenn went to? Fenn told us that the chest is hidden in the mountains north of SF… that was it… nothing more. Were we supposed to figure out he meant the RM’s? Later in a Q&A he answered this to be the RM’s.

But now he reference “hints of riches new and old” Sure we can say the chest, but I’m gonna go with riches as knowledge and give new and old, a past and present usage. So would stanza 2 be more plausible with the knowledge of the watershed as the beginning [past] and this time period [present] and the understanding of the system itself. “The need to know where to start comment”

Now we all know that the RM’s are shared by two countries, Canada and the USA and stanza 3 stated from there it no place for the meek. A few things come to mind; 1 Put in below Canada national symbol the Brown Beaver ~ not unlike 2. our Bald Eagle as Home of the Brave and I’ll add that the continental divide is known as the ‘back bone of the Rockies’.

“the end is ever drawing nigh” might be telling us that “end” as border or boundary is were we need to start because of the semicolon might refer to semi has ½ the range… below hoB ~ Canada drawing as to the watershed “nigh” to be the left or west side of the divide. Just heavy loads and water high… finishes off the first three stanzas with a location in the USA, on the CD and near the end of the range. Multiple meaning and usages of words are needed to read the poem this way… such as halt means a temporary change in direction, that meek is the CD in the home of the Brave below the Canadian Border. “IF you’ve been wise and found the Blaze”… possibly a non-human trail being the CD “look quickly down your quest to cease, but tarry scant with marvel gaze…” Just take the chest and go in peace.” Follow the CD and the RM’s to it final point.

So why is it I [ fenn ] must go and leave his trove for all to seek. Does the simple explanation seems, he left his home to go north into the RM’s? A place he has gone many time and now illness and age has made him weak. This reading of the poem doesn’t count clues, it understands the poem and uses the 9 sentences in full with the poem as a whole. The northern most section of the range to the southern most section as well is called the rainbow arch. It represents the rising and setting of the sun crossing the divide. This leaves stanza 6 to finalize the location of the chest.

We have covered the entire range, understand its geological necessity not only for climate but waters distribution and how it effect the inhabitants of the continent. “my church is in the mountains and along the river bottoms where dreams and fantasies alike go to play” All leading to a small location on the CD at the end [ boundary ] of the RM’s and the end of fenns rainbow.

Stanza 6 IMO finalize the information to the location… But a question pops up.

Are we to simply walk to the chest and pick it up or is there work needed to be done?

So does it matter if the clue count ends up being nothing more than information “contained” in nine lines of the poem? Now comes your turn… what say you?

“Forrest, Did you intend for there to be 9 clues, or did it work out to be just right with 9? ~ halo”

“Nice thinking halo, I didn’t count the clues until the poem had been finalized. Although I changed it a few times over the months I think the number stayed about the same.f”

Synonyms and Antonyms…

Synonyms and Antonyms

Why so many? For the last month or so, I have been giving serious consideration to the synonyms and antonyms within the poem. There are many for such a short peom. Don’t believe me? Here’s a sample:

Synonyms:
• I/Me
• Bold/Brave
• Treasures/riches/Trove
• Meek/Weak
• Hear/Listen
• Look/Gaze
• Halt/Cease
• Go/Leave

Antonyms:
• I/You,Your
• Alone/With
• Secret/Hint
• New/Old
• Warm/Cold
• Bold/Weak
• Brave/Meek
• Down/Up
• Below/High
• Quickly/Tarry
• Begin/End
• Just(meaning “right”)/Nigh(meaning “left”)
• Take/Leave,Give
• Put(as in “push”)/Drawing(as in “pull”)
• Far/Nigh(meaning “near”)

That list, while not exhaustive, leaves few significant words in the poem that don’t have either a similar or opposite word match. Is this coincidence? I don’t think so, it seems more like a theme to me. I’m not entirely sure what to do with this theme, but I have an idea.

Before I get to that idea, I’d like to mention something else. Many have noticed and there are some comments that have been discussed but I’ll bring it up again. Mr. Fenn has a penchant for mirrors and/or reflections. There have been numerous pictures provided by Mr. Fenn that show either his reflection in a mirror, or they are mentioned in a scrapbook and there is even the story Mirror on My Wall in Too Far To Walk . While I can’t say for certain, I am inclined to think that Mirrors/Reflections and Synonyms/Antonyms are related. How so you ask? I’ll explain.

You see, a mirror does something unique when it shows your reflection. The reflection it shows, while looking identical, actually reverses the object. If you are right-handed, your reflection is left-handed. Is your hair parted on the left? Theirs is parted on the right. So in other words a mirror is capable of showing both your identical “Synonym” and your opposite “Antonym” at the same time! It’s you, but it’s “opposite” you. I find that fascinating. If we are all “good” then we all have an “evil” twin in the mirror!

Given the above, lets get back to that idea I mentioned earlier.  What to do with our theme and how does it apply to the poem? Perhaps, not at all, but maybe, like this. In the 6th stanza there is the line “If you are brave and in the wood”.   I’m going to focus on “…in the wood”.  That phrase is akin to the common idiom “We’re not out of the woods yet!” which implies the speaker is still in danger or jeopardy. Logically then it follows that if you are “out of the woods” then you are no longer in danger. If I were to apply my theme at this point the opposite to “out of the woods” is “in the wood.” Logically then “in the wood” implies danger or jeopardy and maybe this is why we need to be brave. Perhaps the chest and treasure lie in a location that many would consider risky at first glance.

But “No, no!” you say.  Mr. Fenn has stated the chest is not in a dangerous place (MW:6Q w/FF:Over 5Y of TTOTC;Question #6).  He also goes on to state that anyplace can become dangerous. And I submit that his idea of “dangerous” is far different than what someone who is not familiar with mountains and the rivers has for “dangerous.”

I am not the person that asked the most recent Featured Question on the Mysterious Writings website where Mr. Fenn was asked about safe places, but his response and implication that no place is truly safe and his previous admonishments that excursions into the mountains requires prudence lends credence to my understanding of “…brave and in the wood”.

I have tried to not alter the poem, and only use what I found in the poem to try and understand a line.  I feel there are other interesting connections to discover using this theme of Mirrors/Reflections and Synonyms/Antonyms and will keep looking and thinking.

Ever Chasing,

Jason

Richard’s View of the Poem…

My view of the poem:

First four lines:  No clues just Forrest asking himself where he should hide his treasure

Begin it where warm waters halt: As discussed by everyone this is the hardest clue to decipher because it ultimately is your starting point. My view is that he is referencing warm water rivers and streams in New Mexico.  So you would want to look for the highest elevation where you find a warm water river.  This location would need to be at the entrance to a high elevation mountain canyon.

And take it in the canyon down: You wold follow the road into the canyon, and this road follow the floor of the canyon, and not be at the top or lip.  Again, this canyon would be above the elevation of the warm water river or stream you started at.

Not far, but too far too walk:  This is letting the reader know you should be in a car and expect a drive of a little distance.  My guess is something over 10 miles, not more than 30-50 miles.

Put in below the home of Brown: I feel this is a reference to a location where you could fish for Brown Trout.  I believe this because of the phrase “put in” a boating reference, and the word below, which you use when discussing locations along rivers and streams.  I think you would be parking your vehicle downstream from the fishing location for the trout.

From there it’s no place for the meek: I think this is a reference to let you know the hike will be a little tiring for some.  My idea is that you will be walking uphill and from my experience hiking at elevation is always a little taxing on me and my kids.

The end is ever drawing nigh: Fairly straightforward, you are close so don’t expect to be walking too terribly long.

There’ll be no paddle up your creek: This one references the fact that there will be a creek close by.  The first bit of information lets you know you will be walking against the stream and it means you will not be following the creek because of the next line

Just heavy loads and water high: Here in Oregon we have large number of logging roads in our federal and state forests.  So if you take the two sentences together it is saying there will be a creek close by, but follow the logging road instead.  Also, these logging roads here in Oregon all have gates to keep private vehicles off of them, I am not sure if they do that out there in New Mexico, but they do it a lot here.  So the road represents the heavy loads(logging truck cargos) and the fact it is close to the creek represents high water.  Logging roads here follow creeks as they wind through the mountains, but during high rains or spring melt off, the creeks crest their banks and the roads become impassable because of high water.  So maybe Forrest is saying that the road could take heavy loads (log trucks) or be covered in high water under the right conditions.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze- Straight forward hiking reference to marking your trail.  From white marks on trees to barking them.  Could be a mark on rocks also but it is a hiking reference.

Look quickly down, your quest to cease:  My feeling is that because of the elevation you will be close to slope and he is saying look down over.

But tarry scant with marvel gaze- Don’t just wait and marvel at the beautiful view you see but get moving down the slope.  Again, I believe the blaze will be at a point where you would want to just take in the incredible view if you were on a normal hike.  Again, I believe the best vistas I have ever seen have been at elevation.

Just take the chest and go in peace- The chest should be visible from this location.  Personally, I think he left in the open on the slope, but not too far down because of his age and agility when he took it there..

The next four lines I don’t feel are clues, but more a statement to the reader.  Basically saying he knows why he has done it, and that it has tired him out.  Also could be a reference to his age.

The last stanza has two more clues which I think are very important to identifying if you are looking in the right area

So hear me all and listen good- No clue
Your effort will be worth the cold-  I believe this is a reference to the cold at elevation.  I have hiked a lot of the Cascades and I can say that at elevation it is always cool, and as early as fall can be downright cold.  I do not believe it is a reference to being in a cold water stream, rather that you are high up and it is cold up there.

If you are brave and in the wood- I believe this is Forrest telling the reader you must be in a forest to find this treasure.  So you that is why I think you must be at elevation and in a forest.

I give you title to the gold: If you are cold and in the forest you get the gold.

 Conclusion
I know that the starting point is the key, but Forrest has also said to move with confidence.  So I think it is reasonable to use what I have said to look at map and cross reference to see if there are locations to fit what I have said.  You know New Mexico much better than I do, and you would know if any of what I have said makes sense or is plausible.  I will  never be able to be there around Santa Fe to look for myself, but you have put in a lot of effort and if any of this helps, more power to you.  Also, a lot of the logging roads may not appear on maps so you have to have knowledge of the area and which areas had been logged in the past.

I am not very creative and just thought I would take this poem as a straight forward, although vague, attempt at a treasure map.  My Dad was a fighter pilot like Forrest and he was always fairly direct.  So  I think a straight forward simple approach would probably be best, and Forrest’s actual intent.  Just my humble opinion.

Good luck and stay safe on your travels.
Richard